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Speakers Announced for Spring Commencement

Jim Lentz
Jim Lentz

The University of Denver has announced the speakers for its spring 2017 Commencement ceremonies.

DU alumnus Jim Lentz will deliver the undergraduate Commencement address on Saturday, June 10. Lentz is chief executive officer of Toyota Motor North America.

Lentz earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing and economics and an MBA in finance from DU. He currently serves on the executive advisory board for DU’s Daniels College of Business.

Lentz joined Toyota in 1982 as the merchandising manager for its Portland region. His success within the company and the automotive industry fueled his rise through the ranks. Today he oversees all of Toyota’s North American affiliate companies, including Toyota Motor Sales and Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing.

Robert Smith
Robert Smith

Robert Smith, founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, will deliver the 2017 spring graduate Commencement address on Friday, June 9.

Vista manages equity capital commitments of more than $14 billion and oversees a portfolio of over 30 software companies that employ a combined 30,000 individuals worldwide. As chairman and CEO, Smith directs Vista’s investment strategy and decisions, firm governance and investor relations.

Before founding Vista, Smith worked for Goldman Sachs, M&A. As co-head of Enterprise Systems and Storage, he executed and advised on over $50 billion in merger and acquisition activity with companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, eBay and Yahoo.

Smith earned his BS in chemical engineering from Cornell University and his MBA from Columbia Business School.

Brenda Hollis
Brenda Hollis

DU alumna Brenda Hollis (JD ’77) will deliver the keynote speech at the Sturm College of Law Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 20.

Hollis currently serves as prosecutor of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone. She was appointed to the position by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. She also serves as the reserve international co-prosecutor for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, and works as a consultant in international criminal law and procedure.

Prior to her appointment, Hollis served as the principal trial attorney in Sierra Leone’s Office of the Prosecutor. She was responsible for leading the legal team prosecuting former Liberian President Charles Taylor, who currently is serving a 50-year sentence for aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Hollis is a former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer. She retired from the U.S. Air Force after more than 20 years with the rank of Colonel.