Auburn University’s fall commencement exercises will take place in Jordan-Hare Stadium Dec. 10-11, contingent on weather and current health and safety guidelines.
Beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10, all graduates will attend the university commencement, which will feature a keynote address by former chairman and CEO of Accenture, Joe Forehand Jr. The commencement will feature the formal conferral of degrees by the Board of Trustees, an honorary Doctor of Science presented to Walter S. Woltosz and a fireworks show. Graduates will be seated on Pat Dye Field and will receive a commemorative cord. Gates open at 4 p.m., and graduates are asked to arrive no later than 4:30 p.m.
The university commencement showcases Auburn’s graduation traditions, including remarks by Forehand, a 1971 Auburn industrial engineering graduate. An internationally recognized business executive and strategist, Forehand is credited with advancing Accenture’s exponential growth. In 2000, he finalized Accenture’s split from Andersen Worldwide and successfully led its IPO and international rebranding campaign.
During his tenure as CEO, Forehand increased Accenture’s revenue from $9.6 billion to $13.7 billion and added nearly 40,000 employees to its workforce. Following his retirement, Forehand continued to work as a senior advisor with corporations such as Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts, First Data Corporation, and was chairman of Aricent, a global design and engineering technology company. For his professional success, Forehand was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2001. In addition, he was awarded Auburn’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.
The university will also present an honorary Doctor of Science to Walter S. Woltosz, a 1969 and 1977 aerospace engineering graduate of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. Woltosz is an internationally recognized scientist and engineer who, as founder, chairman, and former CEO of Simulations Plus Inc., has provided leading-edge pharmaceutical simulations and modeling software in health care. Woltosz’s former subsidiary company, Words+ Inc., is a leading provider of state-of-the-art communications products. His early notable contributions range from military service to advanced rocket and space shuttle design. In 1971, while working at Northrop Grumman, he discovered that if the shuttle is rolled upside down on its climb into orbit, it could add approximately 8,000 pounds of payload for free on each trip. Later in his career, he successfully developed a pioneering communication system used by renowned astrophysicist Sir Stephen Hawking that continues to be a lifechanging tool for those with ALS. In addition, Woltosz has published dozens of articles in publications such as the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, or AAPS, Journal and the Journal of Computer-Aided Molecular Design, where his work has been widely recognized as being highly innovative and pioneering.
Beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11, the university will host separate undergraduate and graduate ceremonies at set times throughout the day. Each ceremony will include brief remarks by the dean, followed by the student processionals. All graduates will receive a copy of The Auburn Creed and pose for an official university photograph with their names displayed on the video board. Times for each college are available on the commencement website. Graduates and guests will have access to Pat Dye Field following each ceremony and all ceremonies will be live-streamed on the commencement website for those unable to attend or who have health concerns.
Auburn will award more than 2,000 degrees at next week’s ceremonies, including 105 doctoral degrees, 406 master’s degrees, 17 education specialist degrees, and 1,493 bachelor’s degrees.
Additional information, including weather contingency plans, is available on the commencement website, and information will be posted on the commencement Facebook and Instagram accounts. For questions regarding commencement, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.