News Local/State

U of I Alumnus Khan to Give Commencement Speech


University of Illinois alumnus and entrepreneur Shahid Khan has been chosen to give the commencement address on the Urbana campus May 12.

The owner of auto parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate left Pakistan in 1967 at age 16 to attend the U of I.  He started working for the company in 1970, while studying engineering.  Upon graduation, Khan was made Flex-N-Gate's engineering manager. 

He left the company in 1978, staring up the company Bumper Works.  Two years later, he purchased Flex-N-Gate.

U of I Urbana Chancellor Phyllis Wise said Khan was selected to be this year's commencement speaker because his life's story exemplifies the type of graduate the university produces.

“Mr. Khan used his U. of I. educational and life experiences as a launching pad for an enormously successful career,” she said. “His entrepreneurial spirit turned an idea into an international manufacturing giant. At the same time, his philanthropic efforts continue to provide opportunities to future generations to follow his same path. Shahid Khan embodies not only the U. of I. experience, but the promise America offers to anyone willing to learn and to work hard.”

Khan was inducted into the Engineering at Illinois Hall of Fame in 2010, and was named a Lincoln Laureate the next year for his philanthropic work. 

Khan is the owner of the National Football League's Jacksonville Jaguars.

He will speak at both the 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. ceremonies at Assembly Hall.