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.