Successful businesswoman, best-selling author, and Harvard alumna Sheryl Sandberg ’91, M.B.A. ’95, has been chosen as the 2014 Class Day speaker. Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org, will address seniors in Tercentenary Theatre on May 28, the day before Harvard’s 363rd Commencement.
“Sheryl Sandberg has been an inspirational advocate, thinking critically about social issues and striving to make a positive difference in our world. As we go forth from Harvard, we’re hopeful to hear from her on how we can realize what’s important to us not only professionally but also personally, and what we can do to see a more equitable society,” said First Marshal Jen Zhu ’14.
Soon after receiving her M.B.A., Sandberg became a senior official in the U.S. Treasury Department. She joined Google in 2001, becoming vice president of global online sales and operations. In 2008, Sandberg became the chief operating officer at Facebook.
“Her career has spanned government, business, and tech. She took huge risks professionally, joining both Google and Facebook in their early days, when each company’s business model was not yet certain. She is an inspiring leader, activist, and businesswoman. We are overjoyed that she will be addressing us at Class Day,” said Marshal Virginia Fahs ’14.
Sandberg is also the author of “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” published in 2013. The best-selling book, which discusses barriers women face in reaching their professional goals, inspired LeanIn.org, an organization “committed to offering women the ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals.”
“Sheryl Sandberg’s work and advocacy have sparked valuable discussions within our class and around campus, especially as we look forward to entering the professional world. Her ideas and example challenge us to think and act critically as soon-to-be graduates,” said Marshal Roland Yang ’14.
Class Day ceremonies, which will begin at 2 p.m., will also feature Harvard orators Adam J. Conner ’14 and Christie L. Disilvestro ’14, Ivy orators Zack W. Guzman ’14 and Jenna D. Martin ’14, the Harvard University Band, and remarks from interim Harvard College Dean Donald Pfister.
“The Senior Class Committee is ecstatic to bring Sheryl Sandberg to Class Day,” said Irene Chen ’14, a senior class committee member. “Because she was Harvard College Class of 1991, she can relate to the Harvard undergraduate experience, and we look forward to hearing her thoughts on Class Day.”