Commencement Speaker Is PayPal Entrepreneur-Philanthropist

MELBOURNE, FLA.—The Charles and Ruth Clemente Center will be the site of Florida Tech’s Spring Commencement ceremonies on May 3 at 10 a.m. when students will receive their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees. Entrepreneur-philanthropist Elon Musk will give the commencement address.

Musk’s best-known association may be PayPal, which he co-founded. The recognized online financial services and e-mail payments company was acquired by eBay in 2002. He earlier founded Zip2. The company provided online content publishing software for news organizations and was acquired by Compaq’s AltaVista division in 1999. Musk founded his third company, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) in 2002 and is currently its CEO and CTO (chief technical officer). SpaceX develops and manufactures space launch vehicles, with an emphasis on low cost and high reliability. The company’s first two launch vehicles are the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets.

Musk is also involved in two companies designed to help combat global warming. He is the principal owner and chairman of the board of Tesla
which aspires to build cost-effective electric automobiles for the mass market. He is also the primary investor and chairman of the board of SolarCity, a photovoltaics products and services startup company. Finally, the 36-year-old is chairman of the Musk Foundation, which focuses philanthropic efforts on science education, pediatric health and clean energy.

The university will award 483 diplomas to students who have studied at the main campus; about 50 more will walk across the Clemente Center stage who earned their master’s degrees from a Florida Tech extended center site or studied online.

The 50 are among approximately 220 master degrees awarded throughout May to students who have been enrolled at 11 extended study sites located in Florida, Alabama, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey.

Spring graduates come from 47 countries, 35 states and Puerto Rico. A 19-year-old and a 20-year-old are among those receiving bachelor’s degrees.

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