Michael Bloomberg to speak at commencement

Former NYC mayor recently donated $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins for financial aid

Michael Bloomberg — entrepreneur, billionaire, and former New York City mayor — will speak at MIT’s commencement ceremony June 7, 2019.

Bloomberg recently made a $1.8 billion donation to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, to support undergraduate financial aid.

He is part of the Giving Pledge, an organization founded by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett that encourages billionaires to give away the majority of their wealth. According to Forbes, Bloomberg is America’s 10th richest person.

Bloomberg served as mayor of New York City as both a Republican and an independent from 2002–2013, taking office a few months after the 9/11 attacks. Climate change, public health, and poverty were among his main priorities as mayor.

He remains active in the areas of climate change and global health. He currently serves as the U.N. Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, which, according to a U.N. press release, means Bloomberg “support[s] the Secretary-General’s climate strategy and efforts towards the planned 2019 Climate Summit at United Nations Headquarters.”

The release added that both Bloomberg and the U.N. Secretary-General believe that the emissions gap “needs to be closed soon to limit global temperature increase to below 2°C.”

Bloomberg also serves as the World Health Organization’s Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases, a position he was appointed to in 2016. He has worked on tobacco control and injury prevention with the WHO.

He supported the Democratic Party during the 2018 midterm elections and is considering a run for President in 2020 as a Democrat. While he aligns with Democrats in his support for gun control and environmentalism, he has been criticized by some for his fiscally conservative views and his support of the stop-and-frisk tactic used by police during his mayoral term.

UA president Alexa Martin ’19, GSC president Peter Su G, and 2019 class president Trevor McMichael ’19 cited Bloomberg’s commitments to philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and the environment as reasons they are pleased that he will address the Class of 2019.  

“Mr. Bloomberg’s entrepreneurial leadership and global activism will inspire our graduates as they seek to change the world,” Martin told MIT News.

Bloomberg was born in Boston and raised in Medford. He graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1964 with a B.S. in electrical engineering and earned an MBA from Harvard in 1966.

He founded Bloomberg L.P., a finance and technology company, in 1981. The company’s core revenue-generating product is the Bloomberg Terminal, a software that financial professionals use to trade, analyze financial markets data, and receive global financial news.

The company also has numerous media outlets, including a news agency, a global television network, magazines, and radio stations.

“As an engineer who started a tech company in the early days of the computer age, I’m looking forward to addressing this year's graduates as they begin their journeys,” Bloomberg told MIT News.

Previous MIT commencement speakers include Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (2018), Apple CEO Tim Cook (2017), actor and filmmaker Matt Damon (2016), U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith ’86 SM ’88 (2015), DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman (2014), and Dropbox co-founder and CEO Drew Houston ’05 (2013).