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Central Washington University

Christine Day to CWU Grads: Values create opportunity, personal freedom

graduates and alumni Christine Day commencement speaker

June 9, 2012 

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Internationally acclaimed entrepreneur, Christine Day, today presented the Central Washington University Class of 2012 with an optimistic view of the future, where "innovation and ingenuity will foster a prosperous planet, just as they have for the prior 200 years."  Day, the chief executive officer of lululemon athletica, was the keynote speaker at the 121st commencement ceremonies in which CWU awarded 1,446 bachelor's degrees and 102 master's degrees.  

Day, who earned a bachelor's degree in Administrative Office Management from CWU in 1984, told graduates that she, too, had graduated amidst economic turmoil: the savings and loan crisis, high unemployment, and double-digit interest rates and inflation. However Day said personal values could be a more powerful force than economic ones. 

"Economic circumstances define our playing field, but they do not define how we play. Our values create opportunity, personal freedom, and give us a voice in society," said Day, the former president of the Asia Pacific Group of Starbucks Coffee International. "Business is not about dominance and power. It is about value creation, and to create value, you must live your values." 

 In 2008, Day became CEO of lululemon athletica, a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is credited with spearheading the company’s remarkable national and international expansion. This year Forbes and Fortune magazines hailed the success of Day at lululemon athletica, where first-quarter revenue jumped 53 percent over the previous year and direct-to-consumer sales soared 179 percent. Last year Day became the first woman named CEO of the Year by the Toronto Globe and Mail. The Canadian Marketing Association named her Canada’s 2011 Marketer of the Year.  

In remarks before audiences that totaled more than 8,000 during two ceremonies, Day told graduates to learn new things and meet new people, and to "embrace your weirdness."  

"Stop exhausting yourself trying to be something you are not," she declared, adding, that weird is wonderful. "Weird has less competition, and makes its own markets and rules. Weirdness provides breathing room and leverage." 

In addition to providing keynote remarks, Day awarded a diploma to her daughter, Kaleigh Day Haisch, majoring in environmental studies and sociology; to her nephew, Jon Nathan Day, an anthropology major; and to a family friend, Caitlin Nault, majoring in biology.  

CWU awarded a total of 3,072 bachelor’s and master’s degrees during summer 2011 through spring 2012, including 668 bachelor of sciences degrees, 570 bachelor of arts degrees, and 230 bachelor of arts in education degrees. 

 

 

Media Contact: Linda Schactler, CWU Public Affairs, 509-607-4103, schactler@cwu.edu

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