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Bentley University Announces Speakers for 2015 Commencement Ceremonies
Scott A. Blackmun, chief executive officer of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), will deliver the commencement address to approximately 1,000 students at Bentley’s 96th annual undergraduate ceremony. The ceremony takes place at 10:00 a.m. on the south campus, with an expected 7,000 in attendance.
Blackmun, a lawyer and accomplished sports and entertainment executive, has been at the helm of the USOC since January 2010. Under his leadership Team USA topped the overall medal count at the 2010 Winter Games and 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Blackmun is credited with modernizing USOC operations and enhancing the organizations’ overall image. He negotiated a revenue-sharing agreement with the International Olympic Committee which restructured worldwide Olympic sponsorship and elevated the USOC’s international standing. For their efforts, the USOC was named Sports League of the Year at the Sports Business Awards last year, topping the NFL, the NBA and the MLA. In 2013 Blackmun was recognized as Sports Executive of the Year by Sports Business Awards. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree at the ceremony.
Laura Sen, president and chief executive officer of BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc., will deliver the keynote address at the Bentley University Graduate School of Business 40th annual commencement ceremony at 3:00 p.m. Sen has more than thirty years’ experience in the retail industry and made an impressive climb to lead one of the nation’s top warehouse clubs. BJ’s currently operates more than 205 Clubs in 15 states and employs more than 25,000 team members. Sen, who also serves on BJ’s Board of Directors, will receive an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree.
More on Scott A. Blackmun
Under Blackmun’s direction, the USOC nearly doubled net philanthropic support in 2009-2012 from the previous quad and launched the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation, which in 2014 helped generate more than $7.5 million in direct support to Team USA athletes.
Blackmun had a previous tenure at the USOC, serving as acting chief executive officer, senior managing director of sports, and general counsel. Following his departure in 2001 Blackmun became the chief operating officer of Anschutz Entertainment Group, one of the world’s most respected presenters of sports and entertainment events.
Blackmun is an ex-officio member of the USOC’s board of directors, has served on the International Olympic Committee Marketing Commission and the Association of National Olympic Committee Judicial Commission. In January 2015 he became a member of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport.
Having spent more than 20 years practicing law in Colorado, Blackmun was a partner in two large international firms. His practice focused on sports and entertainment, with an emphasis on project finance for sports and entertainment venues. He started his career in 1982 with Holme Roberts & Owen, became a partner of the firm in 1998 and served on the firm’s executive committee from 2007-2009. He was a partner at Hogan & Hartson and managing partner of the firm’s Colorado Springs office from 1994 until he joined the USOC in 1999.
Blackmun has been recognized in Around the Rings’ Golden 25, a list of the most influential people in the Olympic Movement. He graduated summa cum laude in 1979 from Dartmouth College where he received a degree in philosophy and was a member of the varsity soccer team for four years. He received a law degree from Stanford Law School in 1982.
More on Laura Sen
Sen began her career in retail shortly after her graduation from Boston College in 1978 when she joined storied Boston retailer Jordan Marsh as an executive trainee. In 1979 she moved to Zayre Corporation, a discount chain based in Natick, Massachusetts. Over the next 10 years she held positions of increasing responsibility at Zayre, including buyer and assistant vice president of merchandise.
She joined BJ’s in 1989 and was promoted to vice president of logistics in 1991. She moved on to more senior roles including executive vice president of merchandise in 1997.
In 2003 Sen left BJ’s to work as an independent consultant but returned to the company in January 2007 to join the team seeking to turn the company around after several years of disappointing results. She was promoted to president and chief operating officer in January 2008 and in February 2009 became president and chief executive officer and joined the company’s board. Sen guided BJ’s through a successful acquisition after which the company was taken private by Leonard Green Partners and CVC Capital Partners.
Sen is active in the retail industry and her community. She serves on the Boards of The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Mass Mutual, The National Retail Federation, The Pine Street Inn (the largest homeless shelter in New England), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Boston Ballet. She is involved with ATASK (Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence); AACA (Asian American Civic Association); and the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP).
Commencement 2015 takes place on the south campus at Bentley University. Both ceremonies are held under the tent on the football field. Indoor viewing on a large monitor is available in the Dana Athletic Center. The event is held rain or shine. Buses will run from the parking lots on the main campus to the south campus. Further details on Commencement 2015 can be found on the Bentley University commencement web site:
U.S. News & World Report ranked Bentley No. 2 among regional universities in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, up from No. 3 last year, highlighting Bentley’s high-quality faculty and academic programs along with the strong value that students receive from a Bentley education.