Gwen Sherman, who serves as director of finance and administration for the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will give the 2007 commencement address at Southwestern University. The ceremony will be held Saturday, May 12, at 2 p.m.

Sherman graduated from Southwestern University in 1980 with a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting. She went on to work for CPA firms in San Antonio and Austin and as finance director for the City of Georgetown.

Following a move with her husband to the Pacific Northwest, Sherman became director of finance for the Seattle Children’s Home and financial planning manager for the City of Redmond, Wash. In 1999, she became the controller for the Gates Learning Foundation.

When the Learning Foundation merged into the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sherman was promoted to her current position of director of finance and administration. The Gates Foundation is the wealthiest grant maker in the nation, with more than $33 billion in assets.

Sherman oversees 40 employees as well as facilities in Seattle, Washington, D.C., and New Delhi, India. She also is working on the design and development of the Foundation’s new headquarters on 12 acres in downtown Seattle.

Sherman also remains involved with Southwestern. She is a member of the University’s Board of Visitors and is assisting with the development of a Puget Sound Association of Southwestern University Alumni.

“Gwen is a perfect example of the characteristics we hope for in our graduates,” said Southwestern University President Jake B. Schrum. “She is bright, has a moral compass and has the courage to tackle difficult issues. Her position with the Gates Foundation allows her to help address some of the world’s most pressing concerns. We are pleased that she was willing to address our graduating class.”

A total of 316 May and August graduates are expected to receive degrees at the ceremony.


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