NYC Mayor To Speak At OU Graduation

Wednesday, March 14th 2007, 8:11 pm

By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be the speaker at the 2007 spring commencement ceremony at the University of Oklahoma, the school announced Wednesday.

The 115th annual ceremony will be held on May 11 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman. Last year, about 15,000 people attended the graduation ceremony at which television journalist Katie Couric spoke.

Bloomberg was elected to succeed Rudolph Giuliani as New York's mayor in 2001, shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks of that year. Bloomberg was re-elected in 2005 with the widest margin of victory ever for a Republican mayor of New York.

Bloomberg ``is an exceptional individual who has combined leadership in business, politics and philanthropy,'' OU President David Boren said in a statement. ``He is one of the most interesting figures in American life today and was mentioned by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently as the kind of leader who could bring a 'post-partisan' era to American politics and possibly even become America's first nonpartisan, independent president.

``His candid and thoughtful views about the future will be well worth hearing.''

Bloomberg is considered one of the world's wealthiest individuals, with a fortune Forbes magazine estimated last year at $5.3 billion. He is the founder of the financial information company Bloomberg LP, which employs more than 8,000 people.

Bloomberg has said he plans to leave politics at the end of his second term in 2009 and dedicate himself to philanthropy full time.

OU has attracted numerous well-known speakers for its commencement ceremonies in recent years, including U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona in 2005, then-NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw in 2004, then-CIA Director George Tenet in 2003 and former President Bush in 1997.

Couric received a $115,000 fee to deliver last year's OU commencement address, which Boren said she planned to donate to the cancer center at her alma mater, the University of Virginia. University spokeswoman Catherine Bishop said OU will not incur a fee for Bloomberg's speech.

Oklahoma State University, which featured the current President Bush as its 2006 commencement speaker, announced earlier this month that its 2007 speaker would be Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank J. Williams, one of the nation's leading scholars on former President Abraham Lincoln. OSU's ceremony will be held May 5.

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