Ken­neth I. Chenault, chairman and chief exec­u­tive officer of Amer­ican Express Com­pany, will deliver the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity com­mence­ment address to the Class of 2010 on May 7, 2010, at TD Garden.

In addi­tion to Chenault, Vartan Gre­go­rian, pres­i­dent of Carnegie Cor­po­ra­tion of New York, and Vic­toria Reggie Kennedy, lawyer and polit­ical advo­cate, will each receive hon­orary degrees during the morning cer­e­mony in front of 20,000 under­grad­uate stu­dents, family mem­bers and friends.

Hon­orary degrees also will be given to Jagdish N. Bhagwati,University Pro­fessor at Columbia Uni­ver­sity and Senior Fellow in Inter­na­tional Eco­nomics at the Council on For­eign Relations,and to Harold Hongju Koh, legal advisor to the U.S. Depart­ment of State and former dean of Yale Law School.Bhagwati will address grad­uate stu­dents during the after­noon cer­e­mony and Koh will speak during the School of Law’s com­mence­ment cer­e­mony on May 28th.

Chenault, cred­ited with trans­forming Amer­ican Express into the world’s pre­em­i­nent finan­cial ser­vices firm and travel com­pany, is an inno­v­a­tive busi­ness strate­gist, an inspiring mentor and a ded­i­cated civic leader. Chenault is also known for his deep per­sonal com­mit­ment to phil­an­thropy and to the com­mu­ni­ties in which employees and cus­tomers live and work.

Ken Chenault is one of the world’s most tal­ented and admired busi­ness leaders,” said Joseph E. Aoun, pres­i­dent of North­eastern. “In addi­tion to run­ning a truly global com­pany, he is a great civic leader in New York City and beyond. His track record of inno­va­tion and lead­er­ship exem­pli­fies many of Northeastern’s strongest qual­i­ties. Our grad­u­ates will ben­efit from his expe­ri­ence and wisdom.”

After joining Amer­ican Express in 1981 as director for strategic plan­ning, Chenault quickly rose through the ranks by dra­mat­i­cally improving the per­for­mance of sev­eral divi­sions. He became pres­i­dent and chief oper­ating officer in 1997 and assumed his cur­rent respon­si­bil­i­ties as CEO and chairman in 2001.

Chenault serves on the boards of numerous cor­po­rate and non­profit orga­ni­za­tions that cover a broad range of busi­ness sec­tors and causes. His public ser­vice lead­er­ship has been rec­og­nized with numerous awards. A grad­uate of Bow­doin Col­lege and Har­vard Law School, Chenault is a Fellow of the Amer­ican Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Vartan Gre­go­rian has served as pres­i­dent of Carnegie Cor­po­ra­tion of New Yorksince 1997, fol­lowing his nine-​​year ser­vice as pres­i­dent of Brown Uni­ver­sity. A his­tory scholar, he has taught at San Fran­cisco State Col­lege and UCLA and served as provost of the Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­vania before taking over as pres­i­dent of the New York Public Library in 1981.

Her­alded around the world for his visionary lead­er­ship and gifted intel­lect, Vartan Gre­go­rian has influ­enced gen­er­a­tions of scholars and steered many insti­tu­tions to great­ness,” said Aoun. “It is an honor to have him join the North­eastern family.”

A grad­uate of Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity, Gre­go­rian is an author and a recip­ient of numerous fel­low­ships. He serves on the boards of promi­nent busi­ness and non­profit organizations.

Vic­toria Reggie Kennedy, a leading expert on banking law, a social and polit­ical advo­cate and widow of the late Sen­ator Edward M. Kennedy, is pres­i­dent and cofounder of Common Sense about Kids and Guns, a non­par­tisan orga­ni­za­tion cre­ated to raise aware­ness about gun safety.

When it comes to public ser­vice, Vicki Kennedy is an inspi­ra­tion for each one of us,” said Aoun. “Her tire­less efforts to pro­tect chil­dren from handgun vio­lence and to expand access to edu­ca­tion and health care for cit­i­zens in every corner of our nation — from rural land­scapes to the heart of our cities — are unparalleled.”

A grad­uate of New­comb Col­lege of Tulane Uni­ver­sity and Tulane Law School, Kennedy serves on the boards of numerous orga­ni­za­tions and leads efforts to address home­less­ness, domestic vio­lence, edu­ca­tion, and health care.

At the after­noon cer­e­mony where advanced degrees will be awarded, Jagdish Bhag­wati will address Northeastern’s grad­uate stu­dents and their families.

Bhag­watihas been Eco­nomic Policy Adviser to Arthur Dunkel, Director Gen­eral of GATT (1991–93), Spe­cial Adviser to the UN on Glob­al­iza­tion, and External Adviser to the WTO. He has served on the Expert Group appointed by the Director Gen­eral of the WTO on the Future of the WTO and the Advi­sory Com­mittee to Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Kofi Annan on the NEPAD process in Africa, and was also a member of the Emi­nent Per­sons Group under the chair­man­ship of Pres­i­dent Fer­nando Hen­rique Car­doso on the future of UNCTAD.

Harold Hongju Koh will address nearly 200 grad­u­ating law stu­dents during the May 28th com­mence­ment exer­cises. Koh has served as both a pro­fessor and dean of the Yale Law School, serves as legal advisor to the United States Depart­ment of State and is a leading expert on public and pri­vate inter­na­tional law, national secu­rity law and human rights.

Harold Koh demon­strates an unwa­vering com­mit­ment to human rights and to Con­sti­tu­tional prin­ci­ples in every­thing that he does,” said Emily Spieler, dean of Northeastern’s School of Law. “As a leading expert in inter­na­tional, human­i­tarian and national secu­rity law, he is able to affect the out­come of the great legal debates of our day.”


Under­grad­uate com­mence­ment cer­e­mony will be held at TD Garden on Friday, May 7th, at 10:30 a.m.

After­noon cer­e­mony for advanced degree recip­i­ents will take place at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena on Friday, May 7th, at 3:30 p.m.

School of Law com­mence­ment will take place at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena on Friday, May 28th, at 1:00 p.m.