Sir James Wolfensohn, the ninth president of the World Bank and a Knight by the Order of the British Empire, will be the commencement speaker for the Class of 2011, the Forum confirms.

The Office of the Dean of Faculty made the decision after a months-long search for a business or policy-minded individual. The faculty will meet this Friday to consider giving Mr. Wolfensohn an honorary degree.

Wolfensohn, Australian-born, has been referred to by the Economist as a “modern renaissance man.” Over the years, Wolfensohn has been connected to a slew of significant individuals and enterprises. He has served as a lawyer in Sydney, a director at an investment bank in London, and a senior executive at Salomon Brothers in New York. Wolfensohn founded an investment firm in 1980 with Paul Volcker, and trained on the cello under the tutelage of Jacqueline du Pré. He was an Olympic fencer.

In 1995, Wolfensohn was elected by President Clinton to head the World Bank. During his tenure as president, he traveled across the globe to over 120 countries. He was succeeded by Paul Wolfowitz in 2005, when he was appointed by Condoleezza Rice as a special envoy for Gaza disengagement during the Israeli pullout of the Gaza Strip. The former head of the World Bank has sat on the boards of the Brookings Institution, the Council on Foreign Relations, Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, the Rockefeller Foundation, the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and Carnegie Hall. In the past, he has spoken at the commencement of Brandeis University. He is a graduate of the University of Sydney and Harvard Business School.


  1. “He was an Olympic fencer.” Only interesting part I saw. Someone challenge this guy to a duel during his speech and make it interesting.

  2. oh come on. president of the world bank impacts a lot of people’s lives, and the guy has done a lot of other cool stuff

  3. Way to book some esoteric finance barron. The rest of the CMC student is body is completely uninterested and uninspired by this man. Thumbs down. Bring in a known personality. We go to the ath to hear speakers like this.

    • i dont know of a single person in the econ major that is excited about this at all. just because someone worked for a place with ‘bank’ in the name doesnt mean he’s interesting to econ majors.

  4. How is nobody excited that the former PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD BANK is coming to CMC? Who cares about his finance career, anyone that has any interest in international relations, international development, etc. should be very excited! And contrary to the popular belief, this school is not solely comprised of econ/finance majors…

    • Agreed.

      While I admit that Wolfensohn will probably not be the most riveting speaker, he has an international perspective on the world economy that is unrivaled by more recent commencement speakers.

      • And I’m sure he’ll drop some really in-depth knowledge at the commencement speech. This is supposed to be a motivating way to send out the senior class, not a lecture.

  5. admit you guys think hell be boring just because he looks like a huge lame-o in his picture

    • I must say that I am surprised by the tendency of people whose words are not restrained by their lack of knowledge. Before criticizing, please find out about the man. You are one google search away.

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