Class Day Committee Announces 2007 Keynote Speaker

Last week, the Class Day Committee announced that Kenneth I. Chenault will give the keynote address to graduates, friends and families at Class Day on June 6, 2007.

Mr. Chenault ranked as a top candidate for keynote speaker in a class-wide poll conducted last spring by the Class Day Committee. Mr. Chenault has made a significant impact at American Express during his 26 years at the firm and 6 years serving as CEO. Additionally, Mr. Chenault has been recognized for his leadership contributions to several nonprofit organizations. Below, please find a detailed Executive Profile for Mr. Chenault, provided by the American Express Company. The Committee is honored that Mr. Chenault has agreed to join us for Class Day 2007.

Kenneth I. Chenault
Mr. Chenault joined American Express in September 1981 as Director of Strategic Planning. He was named President of the Consumer Card Group in 1989, and in 1993 he became President of Travel Related Services (TRS), which encompassed all of American Express’ card and travel businesses in the United States. In 1995, he assumed additional responsibility for the company’s worldwide card and travel businesses and also was named Vice Chairman of American Express. Mr. Chenault became President and Chief Operating Officer in February 1997. He assumed his current responsibilities as CEO on January 1, 2001, and as Chairman on April 23 of that year.

Before he came to American Express, Mr. Chenault was a management consultant with Bain & Co. from 1979 to 1981, and an attorney with Rogers & Wells from 1977 to 1979.

Mr. Chenault serves on the boards of American Express and several other corporate and nonprofit organizations, including IBM, the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, the National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse at Columbia University, the Smithsonian Institution’s Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History & Culture, the Phoenix House Foundation and the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation. He also is on the boards of the Partnership for New York City, The Business Council and the Business Roundtable and serves as Vice Chairman of each of these organizations.

A wide variety of civic, social service and community organizations have recognized Mr. Chenault for his public service leadership. He has received the Phoenix House Public Service Award, the Corporate Responsibility Award from the International Rescue Committee and the Wall Street Rising Leadership Award, among others. In addition, he is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Mr. Chenault holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a BA in history from Bowdoin College, and he has received a number of honorary degrees from several universities.

He and his wife, Kathryn, live in New York with their two children.

If you have any additional questions regarding Class Day or Graduation Week, please feel free to contact any of the Class Day Committee members or send an e-mail to

Class Day Committee Chairs: Kate Lavin (OJ) and Tracy Mathews (OI)

Class Day Committee Members: Owen Patrick (OB), William Shimer (OE), Annie Bercovich (NJ), Nadia Johnson (NH), Hunter Pierson (NB), Michon Pinnix (NA) and Kelly Diamond, Associate Director of Student and Academic Services