Commencement Speaker

The 2019 Winter commencement address will be delivered by Hendrik (Hank) Meijer, executive chairman of Meijer Inc.

Meijer is the oldest son of Frederik G. H. Meijer and the grandson of Hendrik Meijer, the original founder of Meijer Inc., a superstore retail chain founded and still headquartered in Michigan.

He became CEO of the chain in 2001, just prior to his 50th birthday, and served as CEO for two years, after which he became co-CEO and also the co-chairman. When he stepped down from those positions in 2017, the company employed approximately 77,000 people with an annual revenue of $16.6 billion. He is currently the company’s executive chairman.

Meijer graduated from U-M in 1973 with a degree in literature. From 1973-79, Meijer was a journalist, and his passion in the years following his graduation revolved around historical research and writing.

One of his major projects was a biography of Arthur Vandenberg, a U.S. senator from Michigan during the mid-20th century. Meijer also wrote a biography of his grandfather and namesake, Hendrik Meijer, titled “Thrifty Years: The Life of Hendrik Meijer.”

Meijer is vice chairman of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. He also serves on the executive committee of the Food Marketing Institute and is a trustee of the Kettering Foundation, the National Constitution Center and The Henry Ford.

He is a member of the U-M President’s Advisory Group and the Ford School Committee, and recently served on the advisory committee for the university’s bicentennial.

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