Bernard Marcus to Address Georgia Tech Graduates

2,200 students will be graduating this spring

Bernard Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot Inc. and chairman of the board, Marcus Foundation, will deliver the address at the Georgia Institute of Technology's 224th commencement ceremony. The event will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 6, at the Georgia Dome. Approximately 2,200 students are expected to graduate.

Marcus helped found the world's largest home improvement retailer, The Home Depot Inc. His company revolutionized the home improvement business with its warehouse concept. Chairman of the board until his retirement in 2002, he remains director emeritus and Home Depot's largest single stockholder.

From 1972 to 1978, Marcus was chairman of the board and president of Handy Dan Improvement Centers Inc., a home center retail chain. Prior to Handy Dan, he was president of O'Dell's, a manufacturing conglomerate, and vice president of Hard Goods Merchandising for Vornado Inc., a retail chain.

Marcus' civic involvement has been translated into the creation of the Marcus Foundation, where he serves as chairman of the board. His areas of focus include Jewish causes, children, medical research, free enterprise and community support.

A centerpiece of his desire to give back to the community is the Georgia Aquarium, which recently opened in Atlanta. This $290 million attraction is dedicated to the people of Georgia and the associates, customers and shareholders of The Home Depot. With a total of 550,000 square feet and 8 million gallons of water, it is the largest aquarium in the world and houses more than 125,000 animals from 500 species.

In 1991, Marcus and his wife Billi established The Marcus Institute, which provides programs for children and adolescents with disorders of the brain and their families. An additional commitment in 1998 led to a national expansion when the Marcus Institute joined forces with the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore.

Among the prominent philanthropies is the founding of the Israel Democracy Institute, located in Jerusalem. This non partisan and nonpolitical think tank serves as an important resource and change agent, dealing with complex issues facing Israeli democratic society. Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz serves as the honorary chairman.

Marcus serves in numerous leadership roles including the Shepherd Spinal Center, The City of Hope, The Marcus Jewish Community Center, and Business Executives for National Security. A native of Newark, New Jersey, Marcus received a bachelor's degree in pharmacy from Rutgers University.