2012 Commencement Speakers

2012 Commencement Speakers

Dear Seniors:

As I have done in recent years, I am pleased to give our seniors early word that the 2012 Commencement speaker will be Charlie Ergen. A Wake Forest alumnus and parent, Mr. Ergen is also chairman of satellite broadcaster Dish Network and EchoStar Communications. He earned an MBA at Wake Forest in 1976 and is among the most accomplished graduates of the Schools of Business.

Sometimes characterized by business news media as a bold maverick, Mr. Ergen is known for taking extraordinary risks, defying great odds and achieving spectacular accomplishments in the rapidly evolving world of TV technologies and programming.

The roots of his pioneering business ventures date to more than 30 years ago when he, his wife, Candy, and a business associate established a small business selling and installing satellite dishes at homes in Colorado. From those earliest years traveling the rural roads of Colorado, Mr. Ergen established himself as willing to take new and unproven paths to success. Without wealth or position as a young man, Mr. Ergen drew on dreams and vision to make success a reality.

Along the way, Charlie and Candy Ergen maintained a strong and consistent commitment to family and children. Today, they are most proud of their five children, one of whom is among the Class of 2012 at Wake Forest.

Also joining us for commencement weekend will be Baccalaureate speaker Jonathan T.M. Reckford. He is chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International, an ecumenical Christian housing ministry that has helped shelter more than 2.5 million people in more than 100 countries. Mr. Reckford is author of “Creating a Habitat for Humanity: No Hands but Yours.”

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar, Mr. Reckford earned his MBA at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He worked many years in the for-profit sector at such companies as Best Buy, Marriott and Walt Disney before serving as executive pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church. Since 2005, he has been CEO at Habitat. Mr. Reckford and his wife, Ashley, are the parents of three children.

I wish you the best for your remaining weeks of the spring semester. I look forward to sharing with you and your family the excitement of Commencement on May 21.


Nathan O. Hatch

Categories: Letters


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