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University of Arizona announces Ray Mabus as Commencement Speaker

Posted: 8:10 PM, Apr 12, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-13 02:10:18Z

The keynote speaker at the University of Arizona's 154th commencement on May 11th will be Ray Mabus, former secretary of the Navy, governor of Mississippi and U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. 

Mabus served as secretary of the Navy from 2009 to 2017, the longest tenure since World War I. 

Mabus established aggressive energy goals for the Navy and Marine Corps, including to have more than half of naval energy afloat and ashore from non-fossil fuel sources by 2020. 

Mabus overhauled the personnel system, tripled paid maternity leave to 18 weeks, and opened all positions in the Navy and Marines to women. He was also the most traveled senior federal executive, visiting more than 150 countries. 

When elected Mississippi's governor at 39 years-old in 1987, Mabus was the state's youngest governor in more than 150 years.

During his time in office, he passed Better Education for Success Tomorrow, or B.E.S.T., and gave Mississippi's teachers the largest pay raise in the country.

"Our graduates complete their degrees ready to make transformational impact in our world, and Ray Mabus is an ideal person to give them an opportunity to reflect on what that potential means," said UA President Robert C. Robbins. "He has an impeccable record of service and leadership, and I know he will inspire the Class of 2018 to do great things. I'm excited to share the Commencement platform with him this May."

"I am honored to be the Commencement speaker at such a renowned and iconic university, which sets and upholds a standard of excellence," Mabus said of the UA.

Mabus is now CEO of The Mabus Group, a strategic advisory firm focusing on helping organizations develop resiliency and gain competitive advantages through change, and an adviser to Google Ventures.