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Thomas M. Siebel to be speaker at University of Illinois commencement

Jeff Unger, News Bureau


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Thomas M. Siebel will be the speaker during the 135th commencement of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on May 14 at Assembly Hall. Ceremonies take place at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Siebel, founder and former chairman and CEO of Siebel Systems Inc., was presented with the U. of I. Presidential Award and Medallion in 2001. A corporate gift from Siebel Systems in 2000 established the Siebel Scholars Fellowship Program at the nation’s top 11 computer science and business colleges, including the computer science department at the Urbana campus. And in 1999, Siebel donated $32 million to the Urbana campus to help construct the Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science.

“Tom Siebel is among our most truly accomplished alumni,” said Richard Herman, the chancellor of the Urbana campus. “Not only did he create and build Siebel Systems into a leading provider of business-applications software, but through his Siebel Scholars program he allows some of our most talented students in computer science and business to address society’s most pressing issues, such as stem-cell research.

“And his philanthropic endeavors touch the lives of thousands across the nation – from helping teenage methamphetamine users break their addiction to guiding national park visitors to a better appreciation of natural wonders. We know his address will show our graduates that doing well and doing good are pieces of the same fabric.”

Siebel, who founded Siebel Systems Inc. in 1993, earned three degrees from the Urbana campus: a bachelor’s in history (1975), a master’s in business administration (1983) and a master’s in computer science (1985). He was recognized by BusinessWeek in 2001 as one of the top 25 managers in the world.

The 225,000-square-foot Siebel Center for Computer Science unites the faculty, researchers, graduate and undergraduate students in the department of computer science under one roof for the first time. The center’s leading edge digital technology forms a “computing habitat,” a living laboratory where physical and digital infrastructures are coupled with humans to create an integrated ecosystem.