May 1, 2009
Contact: University Relations
Ted Turner, founder of one of the world's leading television news outlets, a legendary businessman and dealmaker, and now a game-changing philanthropist whose billion dollar gift led to the creation of the United Nations Foundation, will deliver the keynote address and receive an honorary degree during the University of Baltimore School of Law's 82nd Commencement, to be held on Monday, May 11 at 2 p.m. in the Lyric, 140 W. Mt. Royal Ave.
The School of Law will present diplomas to more than 300 graduates who will receive the juris doctor degree from the school. Another 27 graduates will receive their Master of Laws degree in either taxation or the law of the United States. Turner will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Law degree from University of Baltimore President Robert L. Bogomolny and Interim Provost Susan Zacur. Dean Philip J. Closius will offer greetings.
Turner's long list of personal and professional achievements, as well as the hundreds of awards and accolades he has received during his career, put him in the upper echelons of American business and philanthropy. He is the founder of multiple television networks, including TNT and TBS, and most notably CNN, which he established at the dawn of the cable era in 1980; he once owned the Atlanta Braves; was a vice chairman, head of cable networks and largest stockholder of Time Warner after TBS merged with that conglomerate in the 1990s; and is now considered to be the nation's largest private landholder, with an estimated two million acres under his control. In 2002, he co-founded Ted's Montana Grill, a chain of restaurants specializing in bison meat; he owns the largest private bison herd in the United States.
A Coast Guard veteran and prize-winning sailor—he successfully defended the America's Cup in 1977 on his racing yacht Courageous, skippered Tenacious to win the 1979 Fastnet competition, and now is a member of the America's Cup Hall of Fame—and 1991 Time "Man of the Year," Turner made history in 1998 when he announced a gift of $1 billion (one third of his total wealth) to the United Nations. The gift supports various causes around the world, including children's health, the environment, gender equality, peace, security and human rights. It raised the bar for personal philanthropy among the world's wealthiest and most influential people; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Clinton Foundation could be said to have been inspired by Turner's philanthropy.
Turner has been recognized for his generosity and service over many years; most notably, he is a recipient of both the Albert Schweitzer Gold Medal for Humanitarianism and the American Humanist Association's Humanist of the Year award.
Bogomolny will welcome graduates and their families. University System of Maryland Regent Thomas McMillen will offer congratulations to the graduates, and Ashley E. Bashur will deliver the valedictory address for the Class of 2009.
The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the School of Law, the Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts and the Merrick School of Business.