Businessman Larry Gies to give University of Illinois commencement speech

CHAMPAIGN, Ill.-  The University of Illinois says the alumnus who made the largest donation on record to the school will be its commencement speaker this year.

The university said Monday that philanthropist and entrepreneur Larry Gies will speak at the campus-wide commencement May 11 at Memorial Stadium. The school’s Gies College of Business is named for him. He and his wife donated $150 million to the business school in 2017.

Gies is founder and CEO of Madison Industries. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports the Chicago-based international manufacturing firm is one of the largest privately held companies in the world.

Gies says he plans to encourage graduating students to “find your why.” The Mendota native has given a guest lecture at the business college every year for the last 25 years.

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