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Posted 4.22.08

Wal-Mart’s first head of sustainability will deliver 2008 commencement speech

CLEVELAND – The Weatherhead School of Management is pleased to announce that Andrew Ruben, Wal-Mart’s first vice president of sustainability will deliver the 2008 Commencement address on Sunday, May 18 at 4:00 p.m. in the Veale Center. Mr. Ruben will speak to more than 1,000 attendees including 250 Weatherhead graduates, discussing future trends and the shifting role of business in the 21st century.

After joining Wal-Mart in 2002 as director of corporate strategy, Mr. Ruben was promoted in 2003 to vice president of sustainability and strategy, which includes integrating social and environmental sustainability into corporate and on-line business strategies. In 2007, Mr. Ruben was named vice president of private brand strategy, giving him an opportunity to put into practice many of Wal-Mart’s sustainability initiatives. During his tenure at Wal-Mart, he has appeared before committees of both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. He has also been featured on CNN’s In the Money and NPR’s All Things Considered.

Mr. Ruben holds a BS in Civil Engineering and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He sits on the MBA advisory board of the Sam M. Walton School of Business and the Arkansas 2010 Commission.

Mr. Ruben’s commencement address comes at an appropriate time when Wal-Mart, which serves more than 176 million customers weekly, is emerging as a key player in the field of business sustainability. Just this April, Wal-Mart launched the store’s most comprehensive environmental sustainability campaign to date, entitled Earth Month. The ongoing goal of the promotion is to educate and encourage consumers of all economic levels to learn about and purchase Wal-Mart’s new line of eco-friendly products.

Weatherhead’s reputation for research and achievement in the fields of business sustainability, social entrepreneurship, and Appreciative Inquiry has positioned the School as a leader among competitors, making Mr. Ruben’s visit to campus even more significant. Specifically, Weatherhead’s Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit (BAWB) is working with Wal-Mart on numerous cutting-edge projects that take sustainability to the next level, creating business value for Wal-Mart while at the same time being beneficial to the environment and communities in which Wal-Mart operates. BAWB’s work in helping industry associations like Wal-Mart turn the world’s social and ecological issues into legitimate business opportunities means that more companies are learning to do well by doing good.

“To have Mr. Ruben as our keynote speaker is a natural fit for Weatherhead’s Commencement ceremony.” said Dean N. Mohan Reddy. “His experience in sustainability makes his remarks both timely and relevant as our graduates start their careers in the business world.”

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