Georgia Tech Celebrates Spring 2011 Commencement

More than 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students will celebrate Georgia Tech’s 239th commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 6, at 7 p.m. in Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center for the Arts and Sunday, May 8, at noon in the Georgia Dome.

Subra Suresh
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Subra Suresh, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), will address the PhD candidates during the 239th commencement ceremony on May 6, 2011.

Michael Duke, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., will address the undergraduate and master’s students, while Subra Suresh, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), will address the PhD candidates.   The Institute will award bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees through its six colleges, thirty schools and the Georgia Tech–Savannah program.

As CEO, Duke leads a strong management team that is focused on keeping Walmart’s mission of “saving people money so they can live better” relevant to every customer, every day. The company also continues to broaden and accelerate its global efforts on environmental sustainability, responsible sourcing and associate opportunity.

Since joining Walmart in 1995, Duke has led the logistics, distribution and administration divisions as well as Walmart U.S. As vice chairman, Duke was actively involved in developing and executing corporate strategy. He focused on setting higher standards of excellence for the company’s resources and people—from the redesign of logistics and merchandise distribution systems to the recruitment of talent and development of strong teams.

Under Duke’s leadership, the company’s international business became a fast-growing part of Walmart’s overall operations. In leading Walmart’s expansion into mature and emerging markets, Duke built an international management team that delivered strong operational results in a complex global environment.

Prior to joining Walmart, Duke had 23 years of experience in retailing with Federated Department Stores and May Department Stores.

Duke serves on the board of directors of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the board of directors of The Consumer Goods Forum, the executive committee of Business Roundtable and the executive board of Conservation International’s Center for Environment Leadership in Business. He also serves on the board of advisors for the University of Arkansas and the advisory board of the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing, China.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Duke holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech.

A distinguished engineer and professor, Subra Suresh was sworn in as the thirteenth director of the NSF last October. Suresh leads the only federal agency charged with advancing all fields of fundamental science and engineering research and education. He oversees the NSF’s $7 billion budget, directing programs and initiatives that keep the United States at the forefront of science and engineering, empower future generations of scientists and engineers, foster economic growth and innovation and improve the quality of life for all Americans.

Prior to his confirmation as NSF director, Suresh served as dean of the Engineering School and Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He joined MIT’s faculty in 1993 as the R. P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. During his more than 30 years as a practicing engineer, he held joint faculty positions in four departments at MIT as well as appointments at the University of California at Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Brown University.

A mechanical engineer interested in materials science and biology, Suresh pioneered research to understand the mechanical properties of materials. His most recent research tackled the biomechanics of red blood cells under the influence of diseases such as malaria. In 2006, Technology Review magazine selected Suresh’s work on nanobiomechanics as one of the top ten emerging technologies that “will have a significant impact on business, medicine or culture.”

Holding true to his personal ideals, Suresh successfully leveraged his renowned research and leadership positions in academia to increase the number of women and minority engineers. He personally mentored more than 100 engineers and scientists in his research group. As department head and dean of engineering, he also led a successful campaign to increase the number of women among MIT’s engineering faculty ranks.

The Padma Shri Award (2011) from the president of India, Indian Science Congress General President’s Award (2011), Society of Engineering Science Eringen Medal (2008), European Materials Medal (2007) and Acta Materialia Gold Medal (2006) are among the many prestigious awards Suresh has received for his innovative research and commitment to improving engineering education around the world. He holds honorary doctorates from Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology and Spain’s Polytechnic University of Madrid. He has been elected a fellow or honorary fellow of all the major materials societies in the United States and India.

Suresh has been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences, German National Academy of Sciences, Academy of Sciences of the Developing World, Indian National Academy of Engineering and Indian Academy of Sciences.

Suresh earned a bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras in 1977; a master’s from Iowa State University in 1979; and a doctorate from MIT in 1981.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.