Jim Vella, president of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, will be the keynote speaker at the Dec. 18 ceremony

November 23, 2010


DEARBORN / Nov. 23, 2010---The University of Michigan-Dearborn will graduate students at one fall commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 18 in the campusís Fieldhouse.

James G. (Jim) Vella, president of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony, which begins at 2:30 p.m. for all graduates of the campusĖCollege of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, the College of Business, the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Education.

Other speakers will include UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little; Kate Davy, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at UM-Dearborn; Tim Richards, director of the Mardigian Library; alumnus Toni Simovski; and student James T. Shannon, who will be receiving a masterís degree in marketing.

ďBecause the number of graduates is much smaller in the winter, the decision was made to have all academic units march in one program,Ē said Provost Kate Davy in an e-mail to campus last month that announced the consolidation to one ceremony from two. ďBecause the Fieldhouse can accommodate all graduates and guests comfortably, the atmosphere will be more exciting with a full house and all four academic units will be able to celebrate as one University.Ē

UM-Dearbornís spring commencement in May will continue to have both a morning and an afternoon ceremony.

Serving as president of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services since 2006, Vella leads all philanthropic and community service-related activities, including coordination of volunteer efforts by Ford employees and all activities of Ford Motor Company Fund, a separate philanthropic organization funded by Ford Motor Company. Ford Fundís primary focus is education. It also supports organizations and innovative programs that promote automotive safety education and assist communities with a variety of needs.

Previously, Vella served as a visiting professor at UM-Dearborn, a position he assumed in December 2005 as part of a Ford company program to place executives in positions where they can serve higher education. As part of this assignment at UM-Dearborn, he was appointed as Executive-in-Residence for the College of Business, where he worked with the faculty and the dean to provide an outside perspective as well as worked with students in the classroom to share his experiences both from his corporate experiences and his fourteen years in broadcast journalism.

Vella also currently serves on the College of Businessís Deanís Advisory Council, among other non-campus committees.


About University of Michigan-Dearborn
Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, UM-Dearborn has been distinguished by its commitment to providing excellent educational opportunities responsive to the needs of southeastern Michigan. The university has 8,700 students pursuing undergraduate, masterís, doctoral and professional degrees in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business, education, and public administration. With a faculty devoted to teaching, and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn has been shaped by its history of interaction with business, government and industry in southeastern Michigan, and is committed to responding to the needs of the region in the future.


Ken Kettenbeil
Director of Communications
PHONE: 313-593-5518

Beth Marmarelli
Assistant Director of Communications
PHONE: 313-593-5542

The Office of University Relations
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University of Michigan-Dearborn