Education

Apple CEO Tim Cook to speak at 2018 Duke commencement

Apple CEO Tim Cook responds to a question during a news conference at IBM Watson headquarters, in New York in this 2015 file photo. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Apple CEO Tim Cook responds to a question during a news conference at IBM Watson headquarters, in New York in this 2015 file photo. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) AP

Apple CEO and Duke graduate Tim Cook will deliver the university’s commencement address on May 13.

Cook is a graduate of Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and a member of its board of trustees, according to the university.

“From the first day I walked onto campus more than 30 years ago, Duke has been a source of inspiration and pride for me – both professionally and through the deep personal friendships that have endured to this day,” said Cook. “It’s my honor to be returning to salute the class of 2018 as they begin the next chapter of their lives as Duke graduates.”

“I am absolutely delighted that Tim Cook will be returning to campus as this spring’s commencement speaker,” said university president Vincent E. Price. “Throughout his career, Tim has embodied Duke’s values of innovation and service to society, whether through his contributions to Apple’s groundbreaking technology or his advocacy for social justice. I can imagine no better person, and no bigger Duke fan, to inspire the Class of 2018.”

Cook graduated with a master’s degree from Duke in 1988. He was a Fuqua Scholar, an honor given only to students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class. Before his time at Duke, Cook earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University in 1982.

Before being named CEO in August 2011, Cook was Apple’s chief operating officer, which made him responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales and operations, including end-to-end management of Apple’s supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in all markets and countries. He also headed Apple’s Macintosh division and played a key role in the continued development of strategic reseller and supplier relationships, ensuring flexibility in response to an increasingly demanding marketplace.

Under Cook’s leadership, Apple became the world’s largest and most valuable publicly traded corporation while also being recognized as one of the most innovative.

Cook has been a member of the Duke Board of Trustees since 2015 and also is a member of the facilities and environment committee. He has spent time with students at Fuqua, including a talk where he discussed what he learned at the school that has helped him in the business world.

Commencement exercises are in Wallace Wade Stadium and are open to the public. For more information on Duke’s commencement ceremony, go to: commencement.duke.edu.

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