Published 04/26/17

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Board of Trustees announces speakers and honorary degree recipients for 154th Commencement

Smithfield, R.I.–  Bryant University Chairman of the Board William J. Conaty '67  and the  Bryant University Board of Trustees Honorary Degree Committee  are pleased to announce the speakers and honorary degree recipients for the University's 154th Commencement exercises.

For 154 years, Bryant has been at the forefront of delivering exceptional, innovative education that anticipates the future and prepares students to be innovative leaders of character in a changing world. On May 18 and 20, 2017, four honorary degrees will be conferred, and 998 members of Bryant University’s Class of 2017 will complete undergraduate and post-graduate studies and be awarded a Bryant University diploma which has more value now than at any time in Bryant’s history. Graduates will join the powerful network of alumni who have distinguished themselves as leaders in their organizations and communities. 

Commencement 2017 schedule and details here

The Commencement address for undergraduate ceremonies on May 20 will be delivered by  Mr. Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer for GE, who will also receive an honorary degree. In addition, honorary degrees will be conferred upon  Ms. Shobana Kamineni, Executive Vice Chair of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited,  Mrs. Kati C. Machtley, Co-founder and Director of the Bryant University Women’s Summit. ® On May 18,  Mr.  Gary E. Furtado ’78, ‘85 MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer of Navigant Credit Union, will deliver the address at graduate programs ceremonies and receive an honorary degree.

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies, Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 10 a.m

Watch the live webcast

At the undergraduate Commencement ceremony, 873 students will receive baccalaureate degrees along with three distinguished honorary degree recipients.

The Commencement keynote speaker will be  Jeffrey R. Immelt,  Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer for GE. Mr. Immelt has held several global leadership positions since joining the company 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. He was appointed president and chief executive officer in 2000. Mr. Immelt has been named one of the "World's Best CEOs" three times by  Barron's , and 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 . GE has over 300,000 employees in more than 180 countries worldwide.

Mr. Immelt is a member of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Committee on American Manufacturing. Under the Obama administration, Mr. Immelt chaired the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Mr. Immelt earned a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Mathematics from Dartmouth College and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University.

Shobana Kamineni is the Executive Vice Chairperson of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited   and a member of its founding family. Apollo Hospitals is the pioneer of private healthcare in India and is Asia's foremost healthcare conglomerate. Championing special initiatives for more than seven years, Ms. Kamineni steered the organization’s emergence as a proponent of integrated healthcare in India. She continues to lead Apollo Global Projects Consultancy and the Research & Innovation divisions of the organization. She also heads Apollo Pharmacy, India’s largest pharmacy chain with a pan-India network of over 2,500 stores and 19,000 employees serving 3,000,000 customers a day. Ms. Kamineni is the founder and a Director on the Board of Apollo Munich Health Insurance, recognized as India’s best specialized Health Insurance Company for six consecutive years. She serves on a number of boards including Blue Star Limited and Hero MotoCorp. She was an advisor to CISCO’s India External Board. She is also involved in a number of civic organizations including the National Cadet Corps (NCC), an organization that recruits cadets for basic military training, and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), where she serves as the organization’s first woman President. In addition, Ms. Kamineni is Vice-Chairperson of the KEI Group, a diversified logistics, leisure, and infrastructure business she founded with her husband. She has received prestigious national awards for entrepreneurship and leadership. Ms. Kamineni received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stella Maris College, Chennai, and has an accelerated Diploma in Hospital Administration from Columbia University.

Bryant Women’s Summit ®  Co-founder and Director Kati Machtley  has been dedicated to helping people of all ages to discover and reach their potential since she began her career in higher education as a nursing faculty member in 1974. When she came to Bryant 21 years ago, she learned that the University has recognized the importance of educating women since its founding in 1863. She partnered with four Bryant colleagues to establish the first Women’s Summit ®  in 1997, and for 20 years, the highly anticipated annual event has helped to inspire, educate, and empower thousands of women. Mrs. Machtley is also co-founder and director of Bryant’s annual Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, a Bryant tradition for 21 years. She collaborated with students to create the annual SHE (Student Herstory Event) Conference and the Young Women’s Colloquium at Bryant. Her civic engagement also includes helping to forge a partnership between Bryant University, Amica Insurance, and the YWCA to encourage middle school girls to pursue STEM careers. The three organizations joined together to create the YWCA’s Fantastic Girltastic Code Company Challenge, a daylong event held at Bryant to interest middle school girls in coding and technology. Mrs. Machtley is the advisor for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters (BBBS) of Bryant, which is part of BBBS of the Ocean State, and she has served on the boards of Girl Scouts of Rhode Island and Meeting Street School. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Maryland and a Master of Science in Nursing Education from the University of Rhode Island.

Graduate Commencement Ceremonies on May 18, 2017 at 5 p.m.

At the Graduate Commencement ceremonies, 125 graduates from Bryant's College of Business and College of Arts and Sciences will receive Master’s Degrees. Mr. Gary Furtado will deliver the address.

Gary E. Furtado ’78, ‘85 MBA  is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Navigant Credit Union, which he joined in 1978; he became President and Chief Executive Officer in 1987. Navigant Credit Union is among the largest credit unions in Rhode Island, with assets of $1.8 billion, and is considered one of the strongest in the country. Mr. Furtado is dedicated to Navigant’s promise to improve the financial lives of members and make a difference in the communities it serves. He is a leader, volunteer, and advisor for many civic organizations. A member of the Executive Committee of the Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island Board of Trustees, he has held various leadership roles while a Trustee, including Chair of the Board and of the Finance and Audit Committees. He is Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Care New England; a Board Member of the Credit Union National Association, and Past Chair of the Cooperative Credit Unions of Rhode Island. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor; Executive Committee of the Pawtucket Boys & Girls Club; Narragansett Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Pawtucket Rotary Club. He is Board Chair of the Little Sisters of the Poor and is a Trustee of the Providence Performing Arts Center.

In recognition of his tireless community and civic activities, Mr. Furtado has received the Lumen Gentium Award for Community Service and Charitable Outreach from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, and the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce recognized him with the Ben Mondor Award for his outstanding philanthropic accomplishments. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and his Master of Business Administration from Bryant. 

Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I. , is a leading private university offering an innovative and uniquely integrated business and liberal arts education. The University's 3,700 undergraduate and postgraduate students study in an innovative and immersive learning environment that fosters success and high achievement. Founded in 1863, Bryant is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News & World Report, College Factual/U.S.A. Today, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and Barron’s. Visit