Former Colombian President, Álvaro Uribe, to Receive Honorary Thunderbird Degree

December 11, 2012
Graduation to include 184 students from 28 countries

Thunderbird School of Global Management will honor former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez at the winter commencement ceremony on Friday, Dec. 14.

Thunderbird President Larry E. Penley will preside over the ceremony at which an estimated 184 students from 28 countries will graduate — including the school’s first graduate from the African country of Eritrea.

Uribe will receive an honorary Doctorate of International Law Honoris Causa. He was first elected President of Colombia in 2002 and then reelected in 2006 with an overwhelming majority.

During his eight years in office, he was responsible for the transformation of Colombia from a country with limited territorial control, escalating violence and considered by many to be a failed state into one of the most thriving, dynamic countries in the hemisphere. He continues to be active politically within Colombia and also has accepted other international positions, such as Visiting Professor at Georgetown University and Vice Chairman of the United Nations panel investigating the Gaza flotilla raid.

Uribe holds a degree in law from the Universidad de Antioquia and a post-graduate degree in Management and Administration from Harvard University.

The commencement ceremony will also include an address by Karen E. House, who retired in March 2006 as Publisher of the Wall Street Journal. As a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, she developed an expertise on the Middle East with a special focus on Saudi Arabia. Her new book, “On Saudi Arabia” draws upon decades of experience with the region.

This will be the first commencement since President Penley was appointed on Nov. 1 and will include a transition ceremony during which the Presidential Medallion will be presented to him by Ann Iverson, Chairman of Thunderbird’s Board of Trustees.

A live stream of the commencement will be available during the ceremony at mms://

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. and is open to the media and general public.

Thunderbird is located at 59th Avenue and Greenway Road in Glendale. The ceremony will be in the Thunderbird Events Center on campus. Members of the media are asked to contact Virginia Mungovan at or (602) 978-7081 if they plan to cover the event.