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01/13/2012 08:00:00

Elon Musk to Deliver Caltech Commencement Address

The visionary behind SpaceX, Tesla, PayPal to inspire Caltech grads

PASADENA, Calif.—Technology entrepreneur Elon Musk will be the speaker for the 118th annual commencement ceremony at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on June 15, 2012, on Caltech's campus in Pasadena, CA.  The ceremony will also be live streamed online at

"Elon Musk is a visionary business leader and innovator who is spearheading revolutionary ideas in three global industries—automobiles, energy, and space exploration," said Jean-Lou Chameau, president of Caltech. "He is a powerful proponent of science and technology, and will share with Caltech graduates his perspective on how their brilliant, big ideas can and will have a positive impact in the world." 

Musk is the founder and chief executive officer of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Tesla Motors, and the chairman of Solar City. He is most well known for helping to make mass production of electric vehicles viable and for pioneering commercial space flight through the Hawthorne-based SpaceX, which will send the world's first commercial spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station in February. Prior to his more recent ventures, Musk cofounded PayPal, the world's leading Internet payment system, and served as the company's chairman and CEO.

"Musk has demonstrated how talent, intelligence, and active leadership—notable traits that Caltech graduates also share—are vital to shaping the future of our world," said Chameau.

In February 2011, Musk was recognized by Forbes as one of "America's 20 Most Powerful CEOs 40 and Under."  In 2010, the Kitty Hawk Foundation honored him as a Living Legend in Aviation for creating the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft. That same year, Musk became the youngest recipient of the Auto Executive of the Year Innovator Award for his work at Tesla Motors and was named to the Time 100. Earlier honors include being recognized for his work by R&D magazine in 2007 and receiving the National Space Society's 2009 Von Braun Trophy, given for leadership of the most significant achievement in space.

About the California Institute of Technology:

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a private university in Pasadena that conducts instruction and research in science and engineering, with a highly selective student body of about 950 undergraduates and 1,200 graduate students. Recognized for its outstanding faculty, including several Nobel laureates, and such renowned off-campus facilities as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the W. M. Keck Observatory, and the Palomar Observatory, Caltech is a preeminent research center.  Caltech ranked number one in the world in the 2011–2012 Times Higher Education global ranking of research universities.

Written by Lawren Markle