Commencement Speakers

Spring 2017 Commencement Speakers

Doctoral Ceremony

2015 MAH Headshot.jpgMurial Howard, Ph.D.                                                 President                                                                       American Association of State Colleges and Universities

Howard will speak at the doctoral ceremony, which will begin at 4 p.m. May 5 in Warriner Hall's Plachta Auditorium.

Howard advocates for public higher education at the national level and works to influence regulations and federal policy. She is the first African-American and the first woman to become president of one of six presidentially based higher education associations located in Washington, D.C. Howard's extensive work in educational leadership and minority women in academics has earned her national recognition, including Secretary of the Air Force Distinguished Public Service Award and the Woman of Distinction Global Leadership Award in Education. Howard will receive a Doctor of Public Service honorary degree.

9:00 a.m. Ceremony

Gail Torreano ('72)

Retired Senior Vice President

AT&T Employee Communications and Corporate Sponsorships


Torreano will speak at the 9 a.m. ceremony. She is an innovative businesswoman and proven leader who dedicated more than 20 years working with AT&T. Torreano spearheaded sponsorships with a number of prestigious organizations, including The Masters, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the "It Can Wait' - No Txting While Drivng" sponsorship campaign. Torreano's leadership contributions to AT&T and other organizations have earned her industry accolades and many awards. Her career transcends the telecommunications industry, as she also has worked with nonprofits, politicians and as chair of the CMU Board of Trustees. Torreano will receive a Doctor of Commercial Science honorary degree.

1:30 p.m. Ceremony

Carter Oosterhouse ('00)

Lifestyle Expert and Television Personality

Oosterhouse will address the graduates at the 1:30 p.m. ceremony. He is a widely recognized television personality best known for his charm and home improvement expertise. Oosterhouse's rise to fame began with his role on TLC's iconic show "Trading Spaces," and he has starred in more than five shows on TLC, NBC and ABC. Today, he is a go-to DIY expert for a range of national outlets, including "The Today Show" and "Rachael Ray." Oosterhouse also is owner of the Traverse City-based Bonobo Winery and founder of Carter's Kids, which combats obesity in children. Oosterhouse, who earned a bachelor's degree from CMU in 2000, will receive a Doctor of Public Service honorary degree.

6:00 p.m. Ceremony

Pamela J. Spencer, Ph.D. ('96)

Director of Regulatory Affairs and Product Stewardship

ANGUS Chemical Co.


Spencer will speak at the 6 p.m. ceremony. The dedicated toxicologist has contributed a significant amount of research on the effects of toxins on human health and has collaborated with the American Chemical Society to create a toxicology training series. Spencer worked at Dow Chemical Co. for 30 years before retiring as the scientific director of Dow's Toxicology Environmental Research and Consulting function and accepting her position with ANGUS. Her passion for driving interest in STEM careers earned her the INSIGHT Into Diversity 2015 Inspiring Women in STEM National Award. Spencer received a master's degree in biology from CMU in 1996, and from 2011 to 2015 chaired the Executive Alumni Advisory Board for the College of Science and Technology (now the College of Science and Engineering). She will receive a Doctor of Science honorary degree.

College of Medicine Ceremony

A. Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Vice President Emeritus of Health Sciences

University of Utah


Betz will speak during the College of Medicine's first commencement ceremony, which will begin at 2 p.m. May 7 in Warriner Hall's Plachta Auditorium.

In addition to serving as senior vice president emeritus of Health Sciences at the University of Utah, he also is CEO of the University of Utah Health Care and the dean of the School of Medicine. His far-reaching scholastic and research endeavors earned him recognition as one of Utah Business Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in Utah. Betz focuses his studies on physiology and biochemistry and has made research contributions to the topic of stroke-related brain injury. His efforts have been recognized with a number of awards, including the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Betz will receive a Doctor of Science honorary degree.


Commencement Speaker Selection


Central Michigan University welcomes the input of the university community to help identify commencement speakers who can inspire our graduates.

Potential commencement speakers should be good public speakers, leaders in his or her respective field, and able to deliver an inspiring and meaningful message to our graduates and guests. In addition, potential commencement speakers should have name recognition and core values consistent with those of Central Michigan University (integrity, respect, compassion, inclusiveness, social responsibility, excellence and innovation). Once nominations are received, the President's Office makes the final determination of who to invite to deliver the commencement address.‚Äč

To nominate a commencement speaker, please click here.