Background Image

News & Events


Jeffrey Immelt Awarded Clarkson University Honorary Degree

Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE, was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree at Clarkson University's 124th Commencement on Saturday, May 13.

Jeffrey ImmeltThe degree was awarded for "his visionary leadership developing and delivering technologies designed to make the world a better place, and for his ongoing commitment to creating a new business model to lead in the 21st century marketplace."

While addressing the graduates, Immelt praised the Clarkson alumni he has worked with throughout his career at GE -- some of whom were in attendance.

"The Clarkson grads I know are good people and good leaders," Immelt said. "The lessons from Jody and Joe and Dan, are to be a giver, not a taker -- in other words, always bring people with you -- and that actions speak louder than words. You will always be judged by what you do, not where you're from, so don't be afraid to take risks. They live a culture that really represents a workman that needeth not be ashamed. And by sharing that culture, you have a chance to really be great. I hope you're proud of your school and you value each other. I'm honored now to be a Clarkson grad with my fresh degree, but I'm not really here on my own. I'm here really to honor my friends. And maybe to remind you in the spirit of Jody and Joe and Dan, that sometimes ordinary people, like you and me, can do extraordinary things."

Immelt is the ninth chairman of GE, a position he has held since 2001.

He has held several global leadership positions since coming to GE in 1982, including roles in GE's Plastics, Appliances and Healthcare businesses. In 1989, he became an officer of GE and joined the GE Capital Board in 1997. Three years later, Immelt was appointed president and chief executive officer of GE.

During his leadership tenure at GE, Immelt has transitioned the 125-year-old global corporation into a world premiere digital industrial company.

He has been named one of the "World's Best CEOs" three times by Barron's. Since he began serving as chief executive officer, GE has been named "America’s Most Admired Company" in a poll conducted by Fortune magazine and one of "The World's Most Respected Companies" in polls by Barron's and the Financial Times.

Immelt is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He earned a B.A. degree in applied mathematics from Dartmouth College in 1978 and an MBA from Harvard University in 1982.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

[A photograph for media use is available at]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Kelly Chezum, VP for External Relations, at 315-268-4483 or]

Calendar View the full calendar >>

Full Calendar RSS Feed