Emory Report
February 16, 2009
Volume 61, Number 20



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February 16
, 2009
Vicente Fox will speak to graduates

By Beverly Clark

Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox will deliver the keynote address at Emory’s 164th commencement ceremony Monday, May 11. He will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree.

“Vicente Fox has proven himself a charismatic and insightful speaker as well as an agent of positive transformation in his own country,” says President Jim Wagner, who will preside over the ceremony for about 3,600 graduates.

“Emory has been fortunate to forge academic partnerships with Centro Fox, which is the first presidential library and center of its kind in Mexico. As our graduates step into a world where the international affairs of the United States are undergoing profound changes, it will be fitting to hear from a leader who has sought to address the challenges facing our own hemisphere.”

Three other individuals also will be recognized during Commencement with honorary degrees: Nancy Cantor, chancellor and president of Syracuse University, who will receive a doctor of laws; former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, currently director of the Morehouse School of Medicine’s Center of Excellence on Health Disparities, who will receive a doctor of science; and Robert Spano, Grammy-Award winning conductor and music director for the Atlanta Symphony, who will receive a doctor of music.

Fox founded Centro Fox in 2007. It is the first presidential library and museum to be established in Mexico, and its activities include a “center for the advancement of democracy” modeled loosely after the work of The Carter Center. Current collaborations between Emory and Centro Fox include a jointly organized research conference on migration to be held this year; an expansion of the Emory Global Health Institute’s field partner sites in the San Cristobal area of Mexico; and academic exchanges between students and faculty from Emory and partner institutions of Centro Fox.

In 2000, Fox was elected president of Mexico as the candidate of the Alliance for Change, which pledged to end government corruption and restore the economy. He became the first person elected president of Mexico independent of any affiliation with the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which had held power without interruption for 71 years. His inauguration marked the first time that an incumbent government in Mexico peacefully stepped aside for the opposition party.

During his six-year term, Fox successfully proposed legislation to increase the rights of Mexico’s indigenous peoples; made progress in negotiating cooperation with the United States in addressing drug trafficking and illegal immigration; increased public access to governmental information and greater freedom of expression; and reduced Mexico’s foreign debt and rate of inflation. Prior to his presidency, Fox served in the federal Chamber of Deputies and was governor of the state of Guanajuato.

Fox studied business in Mexico City and later earned an MBA from Harvard University. Prior to his career in politics, Fox was president of Coca-Cola Mexico, where he had started as a delivery-truck driver.