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IBM’s Sam Palmisano to speak at Johns Hopkins University’s Commencement Ceremony

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March 8, 2012
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Sam Palmisano. Photo courtesy of IBM

Sam Palmisano. Photo courtesy of IBM

Sam Palmisano, chairman of the board of IBM and chair of IBM’s executive committee, will return this spring to his alma mater, the Johns Hopkins University, as the featured speaker at the university-wide commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 24. A former university trustee, Palmisano will also receive an honorary degree of doctor of humane letters during the ceremony, which is for graduates from all divisions and campuses.

This is a homecoming in many ways for Palmisano, who grew up in Baltimore and began his career with IBM in the city shortly after earning his bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins in 1973. Palmisano worked his way up through IBM to build a career there that has included a series of leadership positions, such as senior vice president and group executive of the Personal Systems Group in 1997, senior vice president and group executive of IBM Global Services in 1998, senior vice president and group executive of Enterprise Systems in 1999, president and chief operating officer in 2000, chief executive officer in 2002 and chairman of the board in 2003. He was president and chief executive officer through 2011.

In 2011, Palmisano chose Johns Hopkins as the venue to launch IBM’s Centennial Lecture Series, which then traveled to leading universities around the world. The series centered on the culture of business and managing for the long term, and how those two themes have shaped IBM’s impact on business and society.

“We started off  making clocks, scales and cheese slicers,” Palmisano said during the lecture. “After that it’s a blur: typewriters, magnetic tape, the first disk drive, the memory chip, ATMs, mainframes, mini-computers, personal computers, supercomputers.”

A complete bio and high resolution photo are available at http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/biography/36420.wss. For more information about Palmisano’s speech and honorary degree, and about commencement ceremonies at Johns Hopkins, please contact Amy Lunday at 443-287-9960 or acl@jhu.edu.


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