HIGH POINT, N.C., Sept. 10, 2009 – High Point University is continuing to inspire its graduates by bringing highly successful world-class speakers to its Commencement exercises. Muhtar Kent, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of The Coca-Cola Company, will serve as the 2010 Commencement speaker.
Kent joins an impressive lineup of HPU Commencement speakers, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (2005), Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan (2006), Dr. Bill Cosby (2007), U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (2008) and NASA Astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin (2009).
Kent was named chairman of The Coca-Cola Company in April. The world?s largest beverage company, now well into its second century in existence (it was established in 1886), has nearly 500 brands and operations in more than 200 countries. Through its global bottling system, consumers enjoy the Company?s beverages at a rate of nearly 1.6 billion servings a day. The Company?s net operating revenues grew an impressive 11 percent to $31.9 billion in 2008.
“We are truly committed to setting positive examples to our students who are getting ready to step out into the world as college graduates,” HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein says. “By continuing to bring in accomplished lecturers, speakers and business leaders, we are setting an example of excellence. Muhtar Kent is not only a successful global business giant, but his positive message will help to inspire our 2010 graduates in a purposeful way.”
With its worldwide presence, The Coca-Cola Company is also focused on developing sustainable communities. The Company makes great strides to enhance economic development, preserve the environment and conserve resources in areas where it operates.
Kent has served a number of marketing and operations roles since he joined the Company in Atlanta in 1978. In 1985, he was appointed general manager of Coca-Cola Turkey and Central Asia. From 1989 to 1995, he served as president of the Company’s East Central Europe Division and senior vice president of Coca-Cola International, with responsibility for 23 countries.
Between 1995 and 1998, Kent served as managing director of Coca-Cola Amatil-Europe, covering bottling operations in 12 countries. In 1999 until his return to The Coca-Cola Company in May 2005, he served as president and CEO of the Efes Beverage Group, a large international public beverage company with operations in South East Europe, Turkey and Central Asia.
Upon his return to Coca-Cola in 2005 until early 2006, he served as chief operating officer of the Company’s North Asia, Eurasia and Middle East Group, where he was responsible for the company’s operations across a broad and diverse geographic region that included China, Japan and Russia. He then held the position of president and chief operating officer from 2006 until July 2008, when he took the position of president and chief executive officer. The following April, he assumed the role of chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the Company.
Kent, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Hull University in England, a Master of Science degree in administrative sciences for CASS business school at City University in London and an honorary doctorate law degree from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, serves on a number of organizations as well. He is a fellow of the Foreign Policy Association, a member of the Business Roundtable, and a member of the board of the Special Olympics, the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is also the Chairman of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.
At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in a fun environment with caring people. HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with 3,700 undergraduate and graduate students from 50 countries and 44 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report No. 5 among comprehensive universities in the South and No. 1 in its category among up-and-coming schools. Forbes.com ranks HPU in the top 6 percent among “America’s Best Colleges.” HPU was included in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Great Colleges to Work For” 2009 listings. The university offers 68 undergraduate majors, 40 undergraduate minors and seven graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at .
Chris DudleyVice President for Administration336email@example.com