Stephan Bieri, an internationally recognized consultant specializing in scientific evaluation and intellectual property and chairman of the scientific advisory board at Virginia Tech’s Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, will give the keynote address at the university’s 2010 Graduate Commencement ceremony to be held Friday May 14.

The event will begin at 2:30 p.m. in Cassell Coliseum located on the Blacksburg campus. Approximately 1,000 Virginia Tech graduate and professional students are expected to complete their degree requirements and participate in the ceremony.

Bieri will speak on “University Autonomy: Why and How."

“We are honored to have a scholar of Dr. Bieri’s breadth and diversity of experience speak to our 2010 graduates,” said Karen P. DePauw, vice president and dean of graduate education. “His career offers a wonderful example of success in the academic, public, and private sectors.”

Bieri earned a diploma in economics in 1963, and a Ph.D. in 1968 from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. His dissertation focused on financial theory which led him to a research fellowship at Kent University in Canterbury, United Kingdom. He returned to the University of Zurich as a lecturer teaching regional and industrial economics.

In 1984, Bieri was named the chief executive officer of Integrated Swiss Utility. In 1995, he was elected chief executive officer and vice president of the board for the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology. This educational system consists of two universities, located in Lausanne and Zurich, and four large research institutes. He introduced the full autonomy status to the six institutions and enabled major investments in modern scientific infrastructure such as the Swiss Light Source and the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre. Bieri held this position until 2004, when he founded Bieri IP Partner, a consulting firm he established with his daughter, Anna Marion Bieri Smith.

In January 2010, Bieri was elected chairman of the university council of the University of Bayreuth in Germany. He has published extensively on the topics of fiscal federalism, regional budget incidence, and planning theory.

The Graduate School at Virginia Tech promotes graduate education as a critical component in the transmission of new knowledge, research, ideas, and scholarship. It is responsible for the development, administration, and evaluation of graduate education throughout the university, providing support to faculty, staff, and more than 6,000 graduate students. The Graduate School is committed to building a diverse graduate community and vibrant intellectual environment to help prepare graduates to lead. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

T. Lynn Caldwell, a graduate assistant with the Graduate School and University Relations, contributed to this story.

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