WASHINGTON, PA (April 14, 2023) – Washington & Jefferson College has announced the speakers its 224thcommencement exercises on May 19-20. The Commencement Ceremony will feature alumnus John Reed ’61, former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange and retired chairman and CEO of Citigroup. The speaker for the Baccalaureate Service will Dr. Larry Roper, emeritus professor of Language, Culture and Society at Oregon State University.
Mr. Reed is highly respected within and beyond the financial services industry and is known as a visionary whose innovations in customer service led to the concept of 24-hour banking and the ATM. He joined Citibank in 1965, rising through the organization to serve as CEO from 1984 to 2000 when a $37 billion merger with Travelers was completed. Under his leadership, the bank was the largest in the U.S. with an international network spanning 100 countries. Later, the New York Stock Exchange asked him to step in as chairman after a scandal involving executive compensation. He accepted the job for a $1 salary, established new governance rules, and led the NYSE in becoming a public corporation.
Born in Chicago, Mr. Reed spent his early life in South America where his father was a plant manager for a U.S. company. As a virtual newcomer to his own country, he arrived at W&J as a freshman, having been told that he was being sent to college to “learn how to think.” He completed our 3-2 program in engineering in partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He later earned a master’s degree from MIT and served on their board of trustees.
Dr. Roper will address the Baccalaureate Service, a W&J tradition which dates back to the early 19th century. He is a friend of W&J who has advised the college since 2019 on initiatives to nurture a culture of respect and inclusion. In 2020, he facilitated a series of “Courageous Conversations” among students, faculty, and staff, to establish a greater understanding of how individuals with differing backgrounds and identities experience life in the campus community. This work contributed to recommendations that now inform the work of the President’s Council on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
Dr. Roper was Vice Provost for Student Affairs at Oregon State for 19 years. He also served the university as interim Director of the School of Language, interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, director of Undergraduate Social Justice minor, and director of the graduate program in College Student Services Administration. He has served as editor of the Journal of College and Character and the Journal of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and has been appointed to the State of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Heidelberg College, a master’s degree at Bowling Green State University, and a Ph.D. at the University of Maryland.
The W&J Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to confer an honorary doctorate on each of the featured speakers.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.