Thunderbird President Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D. will award former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl with a doctorate of international law honoris causa on Friday, Dec. 13 during Thunderbird’s fall commencement ceremony, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Thunderbird Event Center.
Kyl has been a friend to Thunderbird over the years, most notably serving as a special adviser to former Thunderbird President Barbara Barrett during a period of leadership transition in 2012. Last year, he also took time to speak with 27 Haitian businesswomen who were receiving training at Thunderbird through a partnership with the U.S. Department of State and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative.
Kyl has shown a long commitment to his country, serving 18 years in the U.S. Senate after serving for eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was elected unanimously by his colleagues in 2008 to serve as Republican Whip, the second-highest position in the Senate Republican leadership. He held this position until his retirement from the Senate in 2013.
TIME magazine recognized Kyl as one of the “World’s 100 Most Influential People” in 2010, and as one of the 10 best senators in 2006. Capitol Hill’s newspaper, The Hill, identified him as one of the “25 hardest working lawmakers.”
“For his extraordinary accomplishments in the area of public service and his commitment to the ideals for which Thunderbird stands, we are proud to recognize Senator Kyl with an honorary degree from Thunderbird,” Dr. Penley said.
In its nearly 70 year history, Thunderbird previously has bestowed just 40 honorary degrees. This rare acknowledgement has been awarded to such international figures as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; Douglas Daft, the former chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola; the late U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater; Vaclav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic; former U.S. Ambassador to Finland and Thunderbird President Barbara Barrett; Steve Forbes, president and CEO of Forbes and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine, and Álvaro Uribe, former president of Colombia.
Kyl also will deliver the keynote address during Thunderbird’s fall commencement this Friday, when the No.1-ranked international business school will graduate 197 students from 14 programs and 26 countries.
Kyl currently serves as Senior Advisor at Covington and Burling, LLP and is a Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He received both his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Arizona.
Commencement will be held on Thunderbird’s campus at 59th Avenue and Greenway Road in Glendale in the Thunderbird Event Center. Doors open at 9 a.m. and the ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Commencement is a ticketed event to ensure seating for families of the graduates.