Chairman and CEO of X PRIZE Foundation to speak at Lynn’s 2012 commencement

Champion of space flight and best-selling author will help inspire Lynn’s 47th commencement class

Published Apr. 18, 2012

The chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, Peter Diamandis, will address hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students at Lynn University’s 2012 commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12.

Peter DiamandisThe X PRIZE Foundation is a (501c3) nonprofit focused on designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity and is perhaps best known for the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE to encourage the development of private space travel. Diamandis designed the prize after reading The Spirit of St. Louis about the winning of the Orteig Prize. In 1996, he formally announced the prize in St. Louis, and the race was on to open the space frontier for humanity. His personal motto is: “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself!”

He is also the author of The New York Times bestseller Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think and gave a TED talk in 2012 on the same theme as his book. Essentially, in both, he argues that we should be more optimistic about our future potential. He believes that we’ll find innovative solutions and develop creative ideas that will solve the problems that challenge us, and we are ignoring all the progress we’ve made over the last 100 years and should not discount the possibilities of tomorrow.

“We’re thrilled to have Dr. Diamandis as our 2012 commencement speaker,” Lynn University President Kevin M. Ross, said. “His role in finding cutting-edge solutions to today’s challenges through innovative thinking and creative ideas is inspiring.”

The foundation conducts competitions in four prize groups: Education & Global Development, Energy & Environment, Life Sciences and Exploration (Ocean & Deep Space). Today, the X PRIZE Foundation is widely recognized as the leader in fostering innovation through incentivized competition.

Understanding the importance of incentivizing creative problem solving through competition, Lynn University recently launched its own sort of X PRIZE—the Howard Isaacson Innovation Challenge. Created by Lynn’s College of Business and Management Dean Thomas Kruczek, the contest is designed to teach the university’s students how to develop an innovative idea for a new product or business, research it and pitch it to a group of investors.

Diamandis attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he received his undergraduate degree in molecular genetics and graduate degree in aerospace engineering. After MIT he attended Harvard Medical School where he received his M.D. In 2005, he was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the International Space University.

Lynn’s commencement consists of two graduation ceremonies at the Count and Countess de Hoernle Sports and Cultural Center. The first one for evening undergraduate and graduate students will be on Friday, May 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and the second one for day undergraduate students will be on Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The processionals for each ceremony will begin approximately 15 minutes before the ceremony start time. The students crossing the stage both days make up the 47th graduating class at Lynn University. More than 300 students will walk in the day undergraduate ceremony Saturday, and more than 200 students will walk in the evening graduate ceremony on Friday.