July 23, 2019 | 67° F

Rutgers announces PayPal CEO as 2018 commencement speaker

Photo by Wikimedia |

Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal, is also the founding CEO of Virgin mobile and served on the University’s Board of Trustees between 2006 and 2012. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at this year’s graduation. 

Members on the University's Board of Governors meeting announced Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal, will be Rutgers—New Brunswick's 2018 commencement speaker. 

Schulman, who formerly served on the University’s Board of Trustees, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree and give a speech to the Class of 2018 on Sunday, May 13 at  High Point Solution Stadium in Piscataway.

The long-anticipated announcement comes six months after the University asked former Vice President Joe Biden to be this year’s graduation speaker. 

In October, Biden visited Rutgers during his “It’s On Us” campaign to end sexual assault on college campuses. At the end of his speech, Biden told students that he was invited to return to campus as commencement speaker, but was not sure if he could make it, as reported by The Daily Targum

Dory Devlin, University spokesperson, confirmed that Biden was unavailable for graduation in an email on Tuesday.

“Former Vice President Joseph Biden was unable to attend the May 13 commencement ceremony. We are thrilled he came to Rutgers in October to rally students around the It’s On Us campaign aimed at ending sexual assault on college campuses,” she said. 

Schulman was chosen to speak at Rutgers as part of a year-long selection process that involved students, faculty and staff, Devlin said.

The official 2018 graduation headliner has a long list of accomplishments, titles and awards.

According to Business Insider, his journey started at AT&T in 1981 as an assistant to an accountant executive. His first paycheck there totaled a modest $208 — he is now worth millions. 

He later took on leadership titles at Priceline, American Express, Sprint and notably at Virgin Mobile as the company’s founding CEO, Devlin said. 

Schulman — who graduated from New York University’s Stern School of Business is also a board member of Autism Speaks, serves on the World Economic Forum’s Future of the Global Financial System taskforce and is an avid mixed martial arts practitioner. 

The business executive is no stranger to Rutgers. He served on the Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2012, before joining the University’s Board of Governors from 2008 to 2013. His mother was also an Associate Dean at the University, according to NJ Advance Media.

“As PayPal’s leader, Schulman is focused on transforming financial services to make life easier for billions of people around the world," Devlin said. "With his deep experience in payments and mobile technology, the New Jersey native is guiding PayPal to reimagine how people move and manage money, and how merchants and consumers interact and transact."

His hefty experiences were recognized by Fortune which crowned him as one of the top 10 CEOs in the world. He was also named one of the top 100 most creative people by Fast Company and was ranked on the 2017 Recode 100 list of people making the biggest impact on business and technology. 

Schulman is the recipient of the 2017 Brennan Legacy Award, established to honor the Supreme Court justice and his lifelong commitment to “common human dignity,” Devlin said. The Council for Economic Education also named him as its 2017 Visionary for teaching economic and financial literacy to create a better educated society.

Although the University has paid honorariums thousands of dollars, the leader of PayPal will not be paid for his speech.

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president emerita and former CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), will also be present at graduation and will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree during the ceremony.

Previous Rutgers—New Brunswick commencement speakers include former President Barack Obama, musician Steven Van Zandt and author Toni Morrison.

Rutgers—Newark and Rutgers—Camden announced Queen Latifah and Anita Hill, respectively, as their commencement speakers. 

The Class of 2018 will be one of the most diverse, accomplished and largest ever, encompassing students from 40 states and more than 60 countries, according to Rutgers Today.

Courtney McAnuff, vice president for enrollment management, labeled the class as “one of the most academically talented and diverse groups of students to ever enter the university."

Erica D'Costa

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