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Honorary degree citation to Jeffrey Immelt
Dartmouth graduate, Class of 1978, a mathematics major and a football player, you have made your business career at General Electric - one of America's oldest and largest companies, where indeed your father worked for thirty-eight years. You joined the company in 1982, following graduate work at Harvard. And, you have often spoken of your love for GE, saying that you want to leave it better than you had found it -all indications being that you are very decidedly on track to do so.
You took over the company just four days before September 11, 2001, as the bull market of the 1990s came to an end and as public confidence in corporate America reached new lows. Accordingly, you faced fresh and unpredictable challenges. But your approach has been to make GE an exemplary global citizen, to restore confidence in business leadership, and to diversify and make accountable the company's senior management. You have stressed the importance of the customer and have creatively fostered GE's appetite for change. You have also worked to advance women in business through your work on the board of Catalyst and to address the scourge of poverty in New York through the Robin Hood organization. Not surprisingly, last year the Financial Times recognized you as its "Man of the Year."
In your senior year, President John Kemeny said that "the businessman has the best leverage to effect societal change." He would be pleased to note and salute you for fulfilling that challenge in a way that speaks to the best of this place. We are delighted to recognize on this occasion a worthy son of Dartmouth with the degree, Doctor of Laws.
- James Wright
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