Al West to Give Undergraduate Commencement Address

Catherine Bréchignac Will Address Graduate Students

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Catherine Bréchignac will address graduate students

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Alfred P. West Jr., CEO of SEI Investments, addresses undergraduates at commencement ceremonies on Dec. 16. Dr. Catherine Bréchignac, president of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, speaks at the graduate commencement ceremony on Dec. 15.

  • Al West Al West
  • Dr. Catherine Bréchignac Dr. Catherine Bréchignac
  • Cecil J. 'Pete' Silas Cecil J. 'Pete' Silas

Alfred P. West Jr., founder, chairman and CEO of SEI Investments and Georgia Tech alumnus, will deliver the address to undergraduates at Georgia Tech's 226th commencement ceremonies on Saturday, December 16, at 9:00 a.m. for computing, liberal arts, architecture, management and sciences, then at 3:00 p.m. for engineering, in the Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Dr. Catherine Bréchignac, president of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France, will address masters and Ph.D. graduates at the graduate commencement ceremony on Friday, December 15 at 7 p.m. in the Alexander Memorial Coliseum. About 1,350 students are expected to participate in the ceremonies.

West currently serves as chairman and CEO of SEI, which was ranked fourth on the Wall Street Journal's Wall Street Honor Roll in 2001. In 2002 the American Banker magazine called West 'the most successful financial services chief executive over the last ten years.' In addition Barron's ranked West fifth behind Warren Buffett as the best CEO value in the country.

While he was an MBA student at the Wharton School, West and two classmates developed a computer strategy game to teach bank loan officers the art of commercial credit. The bankers liked the game and used it as a training tool through which they compared their loan decisions against those of the computer model. This initial success led the three students to found Simulated Environments Inc. Later, in 1971, West and his associates introduced an automated bank trust system that streamlined labor-intensive portfolio accounting functions, and the first trust department clients were signed on. In 1972, the company was reincorporated, changed its name to SEI Corporation, and began automating the back rooms of trust departments throughout the country.

By 1981, when the company went public, SEI had garnered 34 percent of the trust market and began diversifying into asset management and pension consulting through several acquisitions. Today SEI has revenues of more than $1 billion and a market capitalization of more than $5 billion. The firm manages more than $160 billion in assets, administers another $360 billion, and processes trillions of dollars worth of financial transactions each year.

In addition to his success in the business world, West has been a tireless advocate for Georgia Tech. He is chairman of the steering committee for the Institute's forthcoming comprehensive campaign and a member of the Georgia Tech Foundation Board of Trustees. He has served as chairman of the Georgia Tech Advisory Board and as a member of the National Campaign Steering Committee for the Campaign for Georgia Tech (1995-2000).

A native of Florida, West holds a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech (1964) and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Master's and Ph.D. Commencement Speaker Catherine Bréchignac

Dr. Catherine Bréchignac, a renowned scientist and scholar in the area of nanophysics, is the current president of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France, the largest and most influential scientific organization in Europe. Bréchignac is known within the international scientific community as a specialist in atomic physics working at the interface of nuclear and molecular physics. Since the early 1990s, she has been a research collaborator with Georgia Tech faculty and recently has been instrumental in the establishment of a formal partnership between CNRS and Georgia Tech to engage in research of mutual interest.

In 2001 Bréchignac's extensive work with Tech faculty led to her appointment as adjunct professor of physics and distinguished visiting scholar chair at Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech has been collaborating with the CNRS since 1998 when a Georgia Tech Lorraine-CNRS Telecom lab opened on the Georgia Tech Lorraine campus in Metz, France. Recently this relationship has been strengthened with the formation of an international partnership known as 'Unite Mixte Internationale (UMI)' between Georgia Tech and CNRS. This partnership is the first of its kind in France, where CNRS has partnered with a non-French entity (Georgia Tech) to engage in research of mutual interest.

Bréchignac and Silas to Receive Honorary Degrees

Dr. Bréchignac and Mr. Cecil J. 'Pete' Silas will receive honorary doctoral degrees at the fall Commencement ceremonies. Silas received his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Georgia Tech and had a distinguished business career at Phillips Petroleum, culminating with a decade of service as its chairman and chief executive officer. Silas has been a civic leader at the local, state and national levels, including service as chairman of Junior Achievement, the National Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute. He has also been very supportive of the Institute for many years, including service on the Georgia Tech Foundation Board of Trustees and the Georgia Tech Advisory Board. This honorary degree recognizes his outstanding career in the energy field, his lifelong commitment to community service and his dedication and service to his alma mater.

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Brechignac, commencement, graduation, SEI, Silas, west
  • Created By: Elizabeth Campell
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Dec 7, 2006 - 8:00pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:01pm