Lisa Borders, the first president and CEO of TIME’S UP, will deliver Duke University’s commencement address for the Class of 2019 on Sunday, May 12.
“We are so delighted that Lisa Borders will return to Duke our as commencement speaker,” President Vincent Price said in a news release Friday. “As the president and CEO of TIME’S UP, she is the leading the way toward building a more just, equitable future for women, a mission that she has carried with her throughout her career in business, public service, philanthropy and the WNBA.”
Borders, Trinity ‘79, stepped down as president of the Women’s National Basketball Association in October 2018 to become the first president of TIME’S UP, an organization founded in the wake of revelations of abuse and misconduct in the entertainment industry in the fall of 2017. The group was launched after female artists, executives, producers and other leaders met to discuss how to ensure safe and dignified workplaces for women.
“I will forever be grateful to the university for the experiences and exposures I had there which helped me become who I am today,” Borders said in the release. “Duke continues to play a tremendous role in my life and I am so honored to be returning to my alma mater to deliver this commencement address.”
She has served on Duke’s Board of Trustees since 2015, and has also served as vice mayor of Atlanta and president of Atlanta City Council from 2004 to 2010. She was previously chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation and vice president of global community affairs at The Coca-Cola Company from 2013 to 2016.
Borders was president of the WNBA for two years. During her presidency, the WNBA saw its highest regular-season attendance in six years during the 2017 season. It also saw its most-watched season in four years in 2018.
The league also launched “Take a Seat, Take a Stand” during her presidency, a program that donates a percentage of WNBA ticket sales to nonprofit organizations that empower girls and women.
During her time, the WNBA innovated new ways for fans to engage with the league. A full roster of WNBA teams and players appeared in NBA LIVE 18, a first for the WNBA.
From 2008 to 2013, Borders served as president of the Grady Health Foundation. She led a five-year, $325 million capital campaign for Grady Health System, Georgia’s largest public hospital. Borders also serves on the advisory board for Operation HOPE, a nonprofit that aims to promote financial dignity and inclusion.
Borders’ term extends to 2021 on the Board of Trustees, where she currently serves on the Next Generation Living and Learning Experience Task Force and the External Engagement Committee, according to her biography on the Trustees’ website.
Duke’s previous two commencement speakers were also alumni who served on the Board of Trustees.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, Fuqua ‘88, spoke in 2018 and is a member of the Board. In 2017, philanthropist David Rubenstein, Trinity ‘70, gave the commencement address, and previously chaired the Board. From 1987 to 2018, a total of nine commencement speakers have been Duke alumni. Borders will become the 10th when she delivers her address May 12.
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