Ursula Burns, SEAS '82

Bwog has just learned that the Ursula Burns, SEAS ’82 (MS in mechanical engineering) and the chairman and CEO of Xerox Corporation, will be the featured speaker at the 2012 engineering school class day. Burns is the first African-American woman to chair a Fortune 500 company, according to an article published by Spec. The same article asserts that this was the first year SEAS undergraduates were involved with choosing their class day speaker, a process in which Columbia College undergraduates have taken part for several years, as well as the first time graduate students will be invited to attend the event. With regard to the invitation, the ultimate decision-making power rested with SEAS Dean Feniosky Peña-Mora.

Spoiler alert! It should come as no surprise that someone as prominent as Burns will not be delivering her first graduation address this spring. Last year, she was the commencement speaker at MIT, and here’s the text of her speech. Here’s a link to her corporate bio page at Xerox, which fills in some interesting professional details, including her other board of directors positions and some work in the Obama administration on the President’s Export Council.

SEAS and unaffiliated Columbian busybodies, what say you?

Photo Credit to Lonnie C. Major via Xerox Corporation