The CEO of a national corporation will be giving the commemcement speech at this year’s ceremony.
Robert F. Moran, chairman and CEO of PetSmart, headlines as the commencement speaker at Friday’s undergraduate and master’s graduation ceremony.
“I’m hoping that he’s someone who’s been successful in life and business and that he will be able to inspire the graduates and share some of that wisdom,” said Melissa Vito, vice president for student affairs.
PetSmart, under Moran’s direction, has been a significant contributor to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The pet retailer established a $1 million endowment with the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing, in addition to being a longtime supporter of the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Moran is currently a director of the USA Track & Field Foundation Board, in addition to his roles at PetSmart. Prior to his position as CEO, he served as president of North American stores for the corporation as well as chief operating officer.
His past duties outside of the national pet retailer include president for Toys “R” Us Canada, in addition to numerous financial and merchandising positions with Sears, Roebuck and Company, one of which was as CEO of Sears de Mexico.
Moran also worked internationally in Madrid from 1991 to 1993, as he chief financial officer and executive vice president of Galerias Preciados.
The PetSmart CEO will address the 5,728 undergraduate students, 908 graduate students and four educational specialist students graduating at Arizona Stadium on Friday.
Moran will be recognized at the event with an honorary degree, after being nominated by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for his services to the college.
“The University of Arizona awards honorary degrees in order to recognize significant achievements within the academic environment in the world at large,” said Heather Lukach, administrator of presidential events and visitor services, in an email. “These degrees provide the university with an opportunity to honor individuals for their contribution to the University of Arizona, the state, the
nation or the world.”
Although not a UA alumnus, Moran is a Villanova Wildcat and received a bachelor’s of science in accounting from the Pennsylvania university in 1972.
Moran was traveling and unavailable for comment.