Lehigh University
Lehigh University


Jeffrey Sachs, renowned economist, writer and educator, to deliver 2009 commencement address

Jeffrey Sachs will deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2009.

The man described by The New York Times as “the most important economist in the world” will deliver the commencement address at Lehigh University’s 141st commencement ceremony on May 18.

Jeffrey Sachs is known for his ability to combine expertise in economics with a passion for developing real-world solutions to some of society’s greatest challenges, says Lehigh President Alice P. Gast.

“Dr. Jeffrey Sachs is a renowned economist, prolific author, educator and advisor to world governments and international organizations on economic and social problems such as poverty reduction, climate change and disease control in particularly vulnerable nations,” she says. “His ability to forge solutions to very complex problems exemplifies what we value as a university, and his message will inspire graduates, parents, families and friends.”

Currently, Sachs is director of the Earth Institute, Quetelet professor of sustainable development, and professor of health policy and management at Columbia University. He is also special advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

One of the world’s 100 most influential people

Widely considered to be the leading international economic advisor of his generation, Sachs has been at the forefront of the challenges of economic development and poverty alleviation. He is internationally renowned for his work as economic advisor to governments in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

He served as advisor to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program and the World Health Organization. As director of the U.N. Millennium Project, Sachs helped develop the Millennium Development Goals, a series of practical guidelines and goals designed to eliminate extreme world poverty by the year 2015.

Consistently recognized as one of the world's top economists and intellectuals, Sachs is the author of dozens of critically acclaimed books, more than 200 scholarly articles and a syndicated newspaper column.

The recipient of many awards and honors, Sachs has been named among the world’s 50 most important leaders on globalization by the French magazine Le Nouvel, and made the list of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Nature magazine credits him with revitalizing “public health thinking since he brought his financial mind to it.”

Sachs was invited to speak by Gast, who selected him as commencement speaker after reviewing the recommendations of the Commencement Speaker Nominations Committee drawn from a list of nominations gathered from the campus community.

Professor Robert Thornton, chair of the Commencement Speaker Nominations Committee, notes that he is especially pleased that the nomination for Sachs came from undergraduate students and sees it as a positive indicator of campus community involvement.

“When asking for nominations from the campus community, we specifically asked for recommendations on a speaker whose work and achievements reflect Lehigh’s value system and whose message is one that will contribute to graduates’ educational experience,” Thornton says.

“The selection of Sachs is certainly a good choice, as his approach to world issues is a true reflection on what we strive to impart here every day at Lehigh. To come up with solutions to the complex challenges of society today, we will need to look at the issues not from a one-discipline approach, but from a multifaceted approach.”

Scott Wojciechowski ’09, senior class president and member of the Commencement Speaker Nominations Committee, says that he believed Sachs will be an exceptional speaker.

“Commencement is our great send-off to the real world, and a visionary like Dr. Sachs will make a fantastic speaker for this event,” Wojciechowski says. “He has tremendous insights into the future we all will be facing over the next few decades, and his wisdom will be invaluable.”

--Dina Silver Pokedoff

Posted on Friday, May 15, 2009

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