Date: February 15, 2011
Location: Friend Center
Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman William Clay Ford Jr., a 1979 Princeton University alumnus, shared his insights in “The Auto Industry: From Recovery to Revolution,” in the 2011G. S. Beckwith Gilbert ’63 Lecture Feb. 15 at the Friend Center for Engineering Education.
Ford joined the Ford Motor Company in 1979 as a product planning analyst and held a variety of domestic and international assignments in manufacturing, sales, marketing, product development and finance. He served as chief executive officer before being named executive chairman.
A lifelong environmentalist, Ford serves as chairman of the board’s Environmental and Public Policy Committee. Under his leadership the company published its first corporate citizenship report outlining the economic, environmental and social impact of its products and operations around the world. In 2004, the company completed the world’s largest brownfield reclamation project, the restoration of its Ford Rouge Center in metropolitan Detroit. Ford also championed the Ford Escape Hybrid, the world’s first hybrid-electric sport utility vehicle, and the company has launched an aggressive plan to bring a series of electric- and hybrid-powered vehicles to market over the next three years.
Additionally, as vice chairman of the Detroit Lions professional football team, Ford led efforts to build a new, environmentally friendly stadium in Detroit that was the site of Super Bowl XL. Through Detroit Lions Charities, he helped develop the Detroit Police Athletic League youth football program into one of the largest in the country. He has initiated a program to give Ford employees two days off with pay annually to help out in their communities, and created the Ford Volunteer Corps to help globalize these efforts.
Ford is chairman of the board of the Detroit Economic Club and a member of the Board of Trustees of The Henry Ford, a museum, research center and history attraction in Dearborn, Mich.; the Board of Directors of eBay Inc.; and Business Leaders for Michigan.
In addition to his bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton, Ford holds a master of science degree in management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a former Princeton University trustee and currently serves as a member of the Princeton Varsity Club Advisory Committee. He has served as a volunteer for Annual Giving, Princeton’s yearly fundraising campaign, and for the Alumni Schools Committee, which interviews prospective students.
The Gilbert lecture was established in 1988 to bring innovative leaders in business, government and the professions to the Princeton campus to discuss their ventures and the insights gained in their careers. This year’s lecture is sponsored by the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Princeton Environmental Institute, Whitman College and the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education.