Alumna, philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs will deliver the address at the 2021 University of Pennsylvania Commencement on Monday, May 17. The announcement was made today by Vice President and University Secretary Medha Narvekar.
“We are honored to bestow our highest degree on Penn alumna Laurene Powell Jobs and thrilled to have her address our graduates at Penn’s 265th Commencement,” said President Amy Gutmann. “She has championed equity and inclusion with pioneering work in education and immigration reform and with philanthropic commitments directed toward making systemic progress in economic, health, and environmental justice. Laurene is a most inspiring example of the leadership, philanthropy, and advocacy of Penn grads determined to make a positive impact on our society and world.”
Powell Jobs, who earned a B.A. in political science from the College of Arts and Sciences and a B.S.E. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, is founder and president of the Emerson Collective, an umbrella organization for her philanthropic and business endeavors. During her time at Penn, Powell Jobs worked at Penn Student Agencies and founded Special Deliveries; she also studied abroad in Paris. After graduating from Penn, she worked at Goldman Sachs before earning an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
In 1997, she founded College Track, a nonprofit supporting low-income students via college preparation and completion programs. She is also cofounder and board chair of The XQ Institute, dedicated to rethinking the high school experience. A champion for supporting independent journalism as a vital civic institution, Powell Jobs is co-owner of The Atlantic.
Powell Jobs has served on the National Advisory Board of Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships, and serves on the Stanford University Board of Trustees and the boards of Chicago CRED, Conservation International, The Council on Foreign Relations, Nia Taro, and Elemental Excelerator, where she is board chair. In addition, she is a member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and a recipient of the Stanford Graduate School of Business’ Ernest C. Arbuckle Award for managerial excellence and addressing the changing needs of society.
At the Commencement ceremony, Powell Jobs will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
Other 2021 Penn honorary degree recipients will be Elizabeth Alexander, Frances Arnold, David L. Cohen, Joy Harjo, David Miliband, John Williams, and Janet Yellen.