Newswise — Troy, N.Y. – Admiral Michelle Howard, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, will address graduates on May 30 at the 209th Commencement Ceremony of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Howard will receive an honorary degree at the ceremony, along with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Craig Mundie, and David M. Rubenstein.

“Each of our 2015 honorands —Admiral Michelle Howard; filmmaker, cultural critic, and scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; cybersecurity policy expert Craig Mundie; and private equity pioneer and philanthropist David Rubenstein — has demonstrated resilience in his or her career. Each one is adding to the resilience of our society,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson.

“We are so pleased that Rensselaer students, whom we are educating to address great global challenges, will have the opportunity to learn from these four remarkable people how they are changing the world.”

Admiral Michelle HowardAdmiral Howard is the 38th Vice Chief of Naval Operations. On July 1, 2014, she made U.S. Navy history as the first female promoted to four-star Admiral and the first African-American woman to attain a four-star rank in the Department of Defense. In 1999 she took command of USS Rushmore, becoming the first African-American woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy. She supported Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Arabian Gulf, Operation Joint Endeavor in the Adriatic, and operations with navies of seven African nations. As Amphibious Squadron Seven Commander she led tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia and maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf. She commanded Expeditionary Strike Group Two and Task Force 151, a multinational counter-piracy effort in the U.S. Central Command Theater.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, and cultural critic, he has authored 17 books and created 14 documentary films. His PBS documentary series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, earned an Emmy Award. He serves as editor-in-chief of, a daily online magazine. The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader, a collection of his writings, was published in 2012. He was awarded a “genius grant” by the MacArthur Foundation, and became the first African-American scholar to be awarded the National Humanities Medal. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and serves on a wide array of boards.

Craig MundieCraig Mundie is President of Mundie & Associates, which counsels CEOs on technology strategy. In December of 2014 Mundie retired from Microsoft where he was Chief Research and Strategy Officer since 2007 and the principal technology-policy executive since 1998. Mundie joined Microsoft in 1992 after departing as CEO from Alliant Computer Systems, which he co-founded in 1982 and took public in 1987. Previously he worked at Data General Corporation and received his BSEE and MSICS degrees from Georgia Tech. Mundie serves on the boards of the ISB and Raintree Oncology Corporation and as advisor to Aurasense Therapeutics, Madrona Venture Group, CFR, CSIS, and the Cleveland Clinic. Mundie served Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama on the NSTAC. President Obama appointed him in 2009 to the PCAST, on which he still serves.

David M. RubensteinDavid Rubenstein is a Co-Founder and Co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, founded in 1987. Mr. Rubenstein is Chairman of the Boards of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and of Duke University, a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution, Co-Chairman of the Brookings Institution, Vice-Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, and President of the Economic Club of Washington. Rubenstein is on the Board of Directors of the University of Chicago. He is a member of the Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors and the Advisory Board of the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University (Chairman).

2015 President’s Commencement ColloquyOn the eve of Commencement, Rensselaer will convene for the 2015 President’s Commencement Colloquy. Led by President Jackson, Howard, Gates, Mundie, and Rubenstein will participate in a discussion titled “Resilient Leadership for a Resilient World.”

The Colloquy will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, May 29, in the concert hall of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC).

For additional information regarding the 209th Commencement at Rensselaer, see: