The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Author, CEO to Deliver Commencement Speeches

3 min read

Historian and best-selling author Neil Howe will be the speaker for the University of Mary Washington’s undergraduate commencement this spring, while Shawn Boyer, founder of, will give the graduate commencement speech.

President Rick Hurley chose the speakers with the help of his cabinet and leadership council.

“I am very pleased with our two speakers for this year,” Hurley stated.

The university announced the commencement speakers in a March 20 press release. Howe will give the undergraduate speech on May 11 in Ball Circle at 9 a.m.

Howe, who specializes in economics and history, has co-authored many books concerning today’s generations. Along with author and historian William Strauss, Howe has co-written, “The Fourth Turning,” “Generations” and others. Their books, “13th Gen” and “Millennial Generation” are still the best-selling nonfiction books about Generation X, those born between 1960 and 1980, according to the UMW press release.

Howe is also a founding partner of LifeCourse Associates, which is a publishing, speaking, and consulting company. Currently, he is public policy advisor to Blackstone Group, senior associate to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and senior advisor to the Concord Coalition.

Much of Howe’s work examines rising generations and how they will shape our nation’s future. Howe’s articles have been featured in The Atlantic, the Washington Post, the New York Times, USA Weekend, American Demographics, and other publications.

Grace Rosales, senior psychology and education major, is looking forward to graduation.

“I’m excited to see what [Howe] has to say about my generation, and how it is different from our parents and grandparents,” said Rosales. “I also hope to find out Howe’s opinion on how technology will affect my generation—if it will taint or enhance our next 20 years.”

Boyer will speak on May 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the William H. Anderson Center for the graduate commencement ceremony.

Graduate students, many of whom receive degrees in business, will be able to relate to Boyer who is a leading business owner in Richmond.

Boyer is the founder and chief executive officer of, which is the nation’s largest employment website for hourly workers. The site, founded in 1999, helps employees find jobs they will enjoy and it helps employers find the best workers for their jobs.

The Society for Human Resource Management and the Great Place to Work Institute named one of the 10 Best Small Companies to Work for in the U.S.

President George W. Bush awarded Boyer as the National Small Business Person of the Year in 2008. A year later, he was named Virginia’s Business Person of the Year. Boyer is also the author of, “Help Wanted & Help Found: The Insider’s Guide to Recruiting and Hiring Hourly Workers.”

Boyer’s insights about the workforce have led to appearances on Good Morning America and CNN. The Wall Street Journal and USA Today and other newspapers have published Boyer’s articles.

Hurley echoes the students’ opinions regarding this year’s graduation.

“Spring commencement is always a happy time of the year.  Students, of course, are delighted to have reached this point in their educational journey,” said Hurley about spring commencement.