WPI to Award 1,089 Degrees at 140th Commencement

Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric Co., to Deliver Address and Receive Honorary Degree
Media Contact
May 09, 2008


Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will award 1,089 degrees at its 140th Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 17, including 738 Bachelor of Science degrees, 333 master's degrees, and 18 PhDs. Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric Co., will deliver the keynote address, and the university will bestow four honorary degrees.


Saturday, May 17, 2008, starting at 11 a.m.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The Quadrangle (rain location, Harrington Auditorium)

100 Institute Road

Worcester, Mass.


Recently named by TIME magazine (May 12, 2008) as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World," Jeffrey R. Immelt, 52, is chairman and CEO of General Electric Co. At the helm of the legendary 130-year-old American company, Immelt has reshaped GE's portfolio for long-term growth; its stock is among the most widely held in the world. The company's product line spans jet engines, locomotives, energy production, commercial and consumer finance, health care equipment, home appliances, and entertainment as the parent company of the NBC television network. Also under Immelt's leadership, GE was one of the first corporations to publicly launch a viable business strategy to address the world’s need for sustainable energy and environmentally advanced technology.

Honorary Degrees

In addition to Jeffrey R. Immelt, honorary doctorates will be presented to:

  • Woodie Flowers, Pappalardo professor of mechanical engineering, emeritus, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr. Flowers has also received national recognition for hosting the PBS television series Scientific American Frontiers from 1990 to 1993, and even received a New England Emmy Award for his work on the show. He also serves as a member of the FIRST Executive Advisory Board; FIRST is a national organization which promotes youth involvement in science and technology and was founded by WPI alum Dean Kamen. Dr. Flowers received his B.S. from Louisiana Tech University and went on to achieve M.S., M.E., and Ph.D. degrees from MIT.
  • Richard W. Lyman, president emeritus of Stanford University, J. E. Wallace Sterling Professor of Humanities Emeritus, and FSI Senior Fellow in Stanford's History Department. Dr. Lyman became a member of the Stanford faculty in 1958 and held positions as professor of history, associate dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, and vice president and provost before serving as president from 1970 to 1980. In the 1980s, he was president of the Rockefeller Foundation. Dr. Lyman received his B.A. from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.
  • Elizabeth J. "Jing" Lyman, social entrepreneur and founder and co-chair of the National Coalition for Women’s Enterprise. Jing Lyman, wife of fellow honorary degree recipient Richard W. Lyman, is known for the leadership she has provided to a number of causes, including environmental protection, affordable housing, and women's rights. She founded the Midpeninsula Women's Resource Center (now Career Action Center) and the Stanford-based Institute for Research on Women & Gender. She was instrumental in the development of a national organization, Women and Foundations/Corporate Philanthropy (now Women in Philanthropy). She earned her B.A. in 1947 at Swarthmore College.