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The University Magazine

President Bill Clinton to speak at Commencement May 25

Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton toured RIT’s Golisano College in 2005.

President Bill Clinton will serve as keynote speaker for RIT’s 122nd annual commencement. Clinton will speak during Academic Convocation at 10 a.m. Friday, May 25.

“President Clinton’s lifelong commitment to public service, including his tireless dedication to humanitarian and philanthropic activities since leaving the White House, offers inspiration to a new generation preparing to make its mark on a global society,” says RIT President Albert Simone.

Clinton’s visit is due to his friendship with B. Thomas Golisano, founder and chairman of Paychex Inc. and a member of RIT’s Board of Trustees. The two men became acquainted in 2005 through the Clinton Global Initiative, an outgrowth of the William J. Clinton foundation that brings global leaders together to consider solutions to world issues.

An invitation from Golisano resulted in Clinton’s first visit to RIT in December 2005. The former president made an informal presentation to students, faculty and staff following a tour of the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. The college was created in 2001 through a $14 million gift from Golisano to RIT.

This year’s RIT commencement will be the last one presided over by President Simone, who will retire June 30. Simone became RIT’s eighth president in 1992, the same year Americans elected Clinton the 42nd president of the United States.

Entry to Academic Convocation, which will take place outdoors to accommodate a larger audience, will require a ticket. Graduates will have priority for seating. Overflow seating with live video coverage of the event will be available on campus to accommodate additional guests. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to the Gordon Field House and Activities Center.

For information on commencement-related activities, visit

Paul Stella