Valparaiso University will celebrate undergraduate May Commencement on Sunday, May 17, at 1:30 p.m., conferring degrees upon 642 undergraduate students from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and Health Professions, and Christ College — The Honors College.
The keynote speaker is Jonathan T.M. Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI). Since 1976, HFHI has helped more than 5 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes in more than 70 countries.
As Valparaiso University, a comprehensive Lutheran University, seeks to prepare women and men who will lead and serve throughout the world, Reckford serves as the ideal keynote speaker for the undergraduate commencement exercises.
“We are pleased to welcome Jonathan to Valparaiso University to deliver this year’s commencement address,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president of Valparaiso University. “His commitment to leadership, service, and vocation throughout his life and career provides an exemplary model to our students of the kind of character and commitment we aspire our graduates to have.”
Following his tenure as executive pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church near Minneapolis, Minn., Reckford was appointed CEO of HFHI in 2005. Since 2005, HFHI has grown from serving 25,000 families each year to serving more than 300,000 families annually in the U.S. and more than 70 countries.
Reckford holds an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, after which he held numerous executive managerial positions at companies such as Goldman Sachs, Marriott, the Walt Disney Co., and Best Buy.
In addition to his role as CEO at HFHI, Reckford serves on the boards of InterAction, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and the Duke Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship. He is the author of “Creating a Habitat for Humanity: No Hands but Yours.”