PHONE: (313) 593-5644
DATE: March 24, 2004
Schools leader and energy CEO to speak at commencement
DEARBORN---Kenneth Whipple, chairman of the board and chief executive
officer of CMS Energy Corporation, and Kenneth Stephen Burnley, chief
executive officer of the Detroit Public Schools, will be the main speakers
at the University of Michigan-Dearborn's Winter commencement ceremonies
on Sunday, May 2.
Whipple will speak at a morning ceremony for graduates of the College
of Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Management, and
Burnley will speak at an afternoon ceremony for graduates of the College
of Arts, Sciences, and Letters and the School of Education.
Whipple retired from Ford Motor Company in January 1999 after a 40-year career. After four years as president of Ford Credit in the early 1980s, he was elected a company vice president and head of corporate strategy.
He then moved to Ford Europe to serve as chairman of the board and CEO
from 1986-1988. Whipple then was promoted to executive vice president
of the company and president of Ford Financial Services Group. He took
on the added responsibility of chairman and chief executive officer of
Ford Credit in 1997.
Whipple has been a board member of United Way Community Services for
many years. He is a member and past chairman of the board of trustees
of Detroit Public Television and vice chair of the Detroit Renaissance
board of directors. He also is chair of Oakland Family Services and chair
of the board of trustees of Detroit Country Day School.
As chief executive officer of the Detroit Public Schools, Burnley has
provided leadership on projects such as the construction of 16 new schools,
the investment of $19 million in a research-based reading program, wiring
every classroom in 128 schools with Internet access, the building of the
new Cass Technical High School, and the construction of the Sinai Comprehensive
Educational campus on Detroit's northwest side.
Burnley's service to public education spans 39 years. He has held positions
as assistant superintendent of instruction, instructor, director, principal,
assistant track coach and teacher in various schools, including the University
of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University.
Prior to his appointment with Detroit Public Schools in 2000, Burnley
served as superintendent of schools/chief executive officer for Fairbanks
North Star Borough School District in Fairbanks, Ala. and Colorado Springs
School District 11 in Colorado Springs.
A native Detroiter, Burnley earned bachelor's, master's and doctoral
degrees at the University of Michigan. He has served on the national board
of directors for National Junior Achievement Inc., the Broad Foundation
Advisory Board, the United States Air Force Academy Foundation, and the
United States Olympic Festival. Locally, he serves on the board of directors
for New Detroit Inc., City Connect and Schools of the 21st Century.