Speaker Details

2022 Speakers

Guest Speaker: Martha E. Pollack

Martha E. Pollack is the fourteenth president of Cornell University, where she is a professor of computer science, information science, and linguistics. From 2000 to 2017, she was a faculty member at the  University of Michigan, where she also served as dean of the School of Information, vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs, and finally, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.   Before Michigan, she was a professor at the University of Pittsburgh and a member of the technical staff at SRI International.

An expert in artificial intelligence with a research focus on natural-language processing, automated planning, and the design of assistive technology for people with cognitive impairment, Dr. Pollack earned a bachelor’s degree in linguistics at Dartmouth College and an M.S.E. and Ph.D. in computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

As president of Cornell, she is committed to building on the university’s academic distinction, capitalizing on its depth and breadth of expertise, fruitful cross-disciplinary collaborations, and unique strengths as both an Ivy League and a land-grant university. By investing in new, evidence-based approaches to teaching and learning; fostering an inclusive, equitable community; and leveraging the complementary strengths of Cornell’s urban and rural identities, Dr. Pollack strives to bring Ezra Cornell’s vision of a model American university forward to meet the challenges of our present and future.

Student Speaker: Khalif O. Adegeye, Mechanical Engineering

Khalif Adegeye is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. During his time at Michigan, Khalif created a name for himself as an outspoken problem solver and passionate leader. He acted as an intercampus ambassador, served as chair of the professional fraternity Alpha Theta Delta, and founded a project team through optiMize. Within the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Khalif was a member of the hiring committee that selected a new engineering student advisor and, as a member of the DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) committee, co-authored the department’s 2022–2025 DEI Strategic Roadmap.

In addition to finishing out his senior year, Khalif is also an associate for a local private equity firm. He assists in identifying and funding entrepreneurs focused on sustainability technology.

In June, Khalif will begin work with Microsoft as a product manager at its Seattle headquarters.

Past Graduation Speakers

YearStudent SpeakerGuest Speaker
2019Bassel Salka
Industrial and Operations Engineering

Patricia K. Poppe
President and Chief Executive Officer, CMS Energy Corporation and Consumers Energy Company 

2018Chloe Henderson
Mechanical Engineering

Eric K. Fanning
President and CEO, The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA)


Bruce Cousin
Aerospace Engineering

Wanda Austin
Former President and CEO, The Aerospace Corporation

Ryan Moody
Chemical Engineering

Dean Drako
Founder, President and CEO, Eagle Eye Networks, IC Manage and Drako Motors


Hema Karunakaram
Environmental Engineering

Richard Sheridan
CEO and Chief Storyteller, Menlo Innovations


Jenna Bertke
Industrial and Operations Engineering

Crystal E. Ashby
Senior Vice President, Strategic University Relationships BP America Inc.


Sita Syal
Chemical Engineering

W. James McNerney, Jr.
Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of The Boeing Company

2012Daniel Silver
Industrial and Operations Engineering
Steve Mollenkopf
President and CEO, Qualcomm

Jordan Klein
Biomedical Engineering

Cindy Padnos
Founding and Managing Director, Illuminate Ventures


Chiao-Yang “Danny” Hsiao
Chemical Engineering

C. Robert Kidder
Chairman, Chrysler
Chairman and CEO 3Stone Advisors LLC
2009Courtenay M. Holscher
Biomedical Engineering

Keith W. Cooley
CEO, NextEnergy