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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.


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