The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s December graduates will receive advice from one of the most successful investors in the world, who just happens to be a Husker alumnus.
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, recently participated in a recorded phone conversation with Chancellor Ronnie Green that will serve as the keynote address during the university’s virtual graduation celebration Dec. 19.
Often referred to as the “Oracle” or “Sage” of Omaha, Buffett has been the chairman and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway since 1970. The company has grown under his leadership with investments in Coca-Cola, Apple, American Express and other well-known firms. It also owns Nebraska Furniture Mart, Borsheim’s jewelry store, See’s Candies and GEICO insurance.
The youngest of three children, Buffett was born in Omaha in 1930. His parents, Howard and Leila, met while working at The Daily Nebraskan. He attended elementary school in Omaha, then junior high and high school in Washington, D.C., while his father served as a congressman from Nebraska.
Buffett developed an interest in business and investing in his youth. He attended the highly regarded Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania for two years before transferring to his home-state university. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Nebraska in 1951 and a master’s degree in economics from Columbia University later that year. In 1956, he created Buffett Partnership Ltd. His firm eventually acquired a textile manufacturing firm called Berkshire Hathaway, assuming its name to create a diversified holding company.
Buffett is also a notable philanthropist, having pledged to give away 99% of his fortune to philanthropic causes, primarily via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He co-founded The Giving Pledge — whereby billionaires pledge to donate at least half of their fortunes to charity — with Bill Gates in 2009.
The university will confer 1,404 degrees during “Go Big Grad: A Husker Graduation,” which begins streaming at 9 a.m. here. No registration is required. All undergraduate, master’s, professional, doctoral and College of Law graduates, as well as their families and friends, are invited to join.
The celebration will include guest appearances by notable Nebraskans, campus leaders and alumni. At the end of the event, Green will officially confer degrees to students. Graduates will receive a complimentary mortarboard or tam in a box delivered before the event, allowing them to turn their tassels together as a class.
Graduates can celebrate the day by sharing their customized digital slide (available at the commencement website beginning Dec. 19), hosting a virtual watch party with loved ones or using the hashtag #GoBigGrad on social media.
“Nebraska takes great pride in offering our students a welcoming, personal educational experience, and our commencement ceremonies are an extension of that,” said Vanessa Gorman, professor of history and chair of the university’s commencement committee. “We have one of the highest rates of attendance nationally — around 83% — so while it’s a disappointment to all of us that we can’t share this celebration in person, we want to provide students the closest thing to it.”
Diplomas will be mailed to graduates after Dec. 19. New this year, 2020 graduates are able to download and share their digital diplomas. Details are available here.
All 2020 graduates are invited to participate in a future commencement ceremony.
“We absolutely want to welcome all of these graduates to return in the future to walk across the stage in cap and gown and have that once-in-a-lifetime moment to share with their friends and family,” Gorman said.
For more information on the Go Big Grad celebration, as well as social media stickers, virtual backgrounds, shareable graphics and a special Spotify playlist, click here. Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.