Walt Disney chairman Bob Iger tapped as keynote speaker at UT-Austin commencement

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- The University of Texas at Austin is due to send off nearly 10,000 class of 2021 graduates to formidable stages of their lives during spring commencement in May.

So, it was fitting for the university to tap an executive leader who, as UT says, led one of the most familiar companies in the world through a formidable stage of growth and innovation.

University officials gave Bob Iger, an executive chairman of The Walt Disney Company who led it as CEO for 15 years, the nod as keynote speaker during the May 22 ceremony.

The video above is from ABC13's one-on-one interview with Bob Iger in 2018, when he, as CEO, announced a $100 million program involving Houston's Texas Children's Hospital.

"Iger will address thousands of students, their parents and guests of the university during the 8 p.m. ceremony and impart lessons from 45 years in media and leadership to the nearly 10,000 graduates eligible to receive degrees this year," the university announced.

While he passed on the CEO role last year to Bob Chapek, Iger, as UT glows, grew Disney "into one of the world's largest and most iconic media and entertainment companies" when he was at the helm from 2005 to 2020. Under his tenure, Disney acquired Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox.

As part of the school's decision, UT-Austin President Jay Hartzell looked at the opportunity to use the current Disney chairman's career as learning lesson for grads.

"Bob Iger's stellar career and visionary leadership have the capacity to inspire and teach us all," said Hartzell. "We live in a rapidly changing world, and Bob has been at the forefront of an industry that has witnessed seismic shifts over the last two decades."

Hartzell added, "I'm confident that for years to come, students will remember his wise words -when they think of their commencement, as they transform their own industries, and with each of the (hopefully) many future episodes of 'WandaVision.'"

According to the university, Iger previously spoke at the Austin campus as a keynote during its VIP Distinguished Speaker Series in 2018.

The 2021 spring commencement is slated to be held in person at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. The university is limiting ticket availability due to capacity and social distancing guidelines.

The commencement will also be carried in a live stream online.

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of ABC13.

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Disney is working to transform the experience for young patients at Texas Children's Hospital.

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