Ursula Burns, president of Xerox Corp., has been named the keynote presenter for Rochester Institute of Technology’s 124th Commencement. Burns will deliver her address during Academic Convocation, which will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 22, in RIT’s Gordon Field House and Activities Center.
Burns, who is also a member of the Xerox Board of Directors, is responsible for the company’s global research, development, engineering, marketing and manufacturing of Xerox technology, supplies and related services. She also oversees global accounts, information management, corporate strategy, human resources and ethics, and marketing operations.
Burns joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineering summer intern, leading to several positions over the years in engineering including product development and planning. In 1991, she became the executive assistant to Paul Allaire, then Xerox chairman and CEO.
From 1992 to 2000, Burns led several business teams including the office color and fax business, office network copying business, and the departmental business unit. In 2000, she was named senior vice president for corporate strategic services, and two years later assumed the role of president of business group operations.
She serves on professional and community boards, including American Express Corp., Boston Scientific Corp., CASA - The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), National Academy Foundation, MIT, and the University of Rochester.
“RIT is extremely pleased to have Ursula Burns as our 2009 Commencement speaker,” says RIT President Bill Destler. “She is recognized as one of the most influential figures in the global business world. She is the perfect role model for our students. They will learn that with hard work and perseverance, you can start out as a summer intern and ascend to be a corporate president. She will deliver an exciting message on May 22.”
Burns earned a bachelor’s degree from Polytechnic Institute of New York and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University.
Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized for academic leadership in computing, engineering, imaging technology, and fine and applied arts, in addition to unparalleled support services for students with hearing loss. Nearly 16,500 full- and part-time students are enrolled in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs at RIT, and its cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.
For two decades, U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIT among the nation’s leading comprehensive universities. The Princeton Review features RIT in its 2009 Best 368 Colleges. RIT is also featured in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, and The Chronicle of Higher Education recognizes RIT as a “Great College to Work For.”