On Monday, James Ellis, dean of the Marshall School of Business, announced that Elon Musk will be the commencement speaker for the USC Marshall Undergraduate Ceremony on May 16.
Musk’s resume is lengthy and impressive. He is the CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors and the CEO and chief designer of Space Exploration Technologies, commonly known as SpaceX.
Prior to his endeavors at Tesla and SpaceX, Musk co-founded and served as chairman and CEO of PayPal, the world’s leading Internet payment system. He also co-founded Zip2, a provider of Internet software to the media industry.
Musk grew up in Pretoria, South Africa during the last decades of apartheid. When he was 17, he moved to Canada, and then began his studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 1992.
Musk received his bachelor’s degree in physics. He later received a second degree in economics from Wharton School of Business.
The response to Musk being announced as the Marshall undergraduate commencement speaker has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I’m super excited for him to be the graduation speaker,” said Hayden Furey, a senior majoring in business administration. “The company [I] worked with last summer worked with Tesla in the past and I’ve heard he is one of the most brilliant guys.”
Other students, such as Vincent Tsao, a senior majoring in business administration (cinematic arts), felt that Musk’s background in technology would resonate with many students, but that more importantly Musk’s experiences will apply to seniors interested in all areas of business.
“Musk is a huge player in terms of technology and innovation in general,” Tsao said. “I’m really excited to hear what he has to say about the future of technology and how graduating seniors are going to fit into that picture.”
Musk appeared on 60 Minutes this past Sunday. He spoke about his successes, failures and how his perceptions have changed.
“I thought we would most likely fail,” he told 60 Minutes about founding Tesla, but he elaborated about the value of perseverance.
“If something’s important enough, you should try,” Musk said.