Lee News

DeVos to Speak at Saturday's Commencement


Richard DeVos Jr. will deliver the address at Lee University’s spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 4, at 9:30 a.m. on the South Campus Quad.

“We are honored that Dick DeVos will come to the Lee campus to deliver our spring commencement address,” said Lee president Dr. Paul Conn. “He has a lifetime of accomplishment in the business world and in non-profit causes, and sets an example for our graduates of living his life in public service.”

DeVos is president of The Windquest Group, a prominent investment management firm in Michigan. A native of Grand Rapids, he is a former president of the Orlando Magic, the NBA basketball team, as well as Amway Corporation. He has been a leader in numerous social, political, and educational ventures, and was Republican candidate for the Michigan governor’s office in 2006. He is the son of the late Richard and Helen DeVos, who were life-long friends and supporters of Lee University.

Dick DeVos to Speak at Commencement
Richard (Dick) DeVos Jr.

As president of Amway from 1993 to 2002, DeVos held responsibility for all aspects of the company’s operations in 50 countries and six continents. Under his leadership, the company opened new markets and tripled international sales to exceed domestic sales for the first time in the company’s history.

In addition to business roles, DeVos has been a leader in a wide range of community initiatives. He started the Education Freedom Fund, which has awarded more than 4,000 scholarships to underprivileged children in Michigan, and he served as an elected member of the State Board of Education. He founded the West Michigan Aviation Academy, which was the first aviation public charter high school in the nation. He has also served on the Board of Control of Grand Valley State University.

In his hometown of Grand Rapids, DeVos has led as chair/co-chair for various area revitalizations and regional health care improvements, including a downtown arena, convention center, heart hospital, medical school, and a downtown market.

DeVos is a graduate of Northwood University, a two-time National Champion sailor, and a qualified jet aircraft and helicopter pilot. In 2017, he was appointed to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

DeVos is married to Betsy, the United States Secretary of Education. They have seven children and eight grandchildren.

Graduation festivities will begin with the pinning ceremony for nursing students on Friday, May 3, at 1:30 p.m. in the Lee University Chapel. At 4:30 p.m., also in The Chapel, a hooding ceremony for students earning graduate degrees will take place. Both services are ticketed events.

Following the hooding ceremony, all graduates will march in the commissioning service at 6:30 p.m. on the South Campus Quad lawn. During commissioning, six students will share stories of their Lee experiences, one graduate will perform special music, and all graduates will receive Bibles to commemorate this personal milestone. An outdoor reception for guests and graduates will follow the service.

The commissioning and commencement ceremonies will not require tickets unless inclement weather shifts the ceremonies inside the Paul Dana Walker Arena, where seating is limited. Overflow seating for both services will also be available. Five hundred and seventy-four degrees are set to be conferred, of which 495 are undergraduate and 79 are graduate.

The hooding, commissioning, and commencement will be available for live stream viewing.

For more information about commencement exercises, contact the Academic Events Office at academicevents@leeuniversity.edu or (423) 614-8117 or visit Commencement2019.
« Previous Story 2019 Rymer Winners Announced Next Story » Reneslacis and Students Teach Courses in Bradley County Jail