Published: Feb. 1, 2024

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and a technology entrepreneur and philanthropist for more than 40 years, has accepted an invitation from CU Boulder’s student-run Senior Class Council to give this year’s commencement address. 

The commencement ceremony is set for 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 9, at Folsom Field.

Steve Wozniak

Photo by Michael Bulbenko

If you go

Who: Free and open to the public
What: Commencement 2024 address
When: Thursday, May 9, 8:30 a.m.
Where: Folsom Field

Wozniak attended CU Boulder in 1968–69 before returning to California, where he co-founded Apple Computer Inc. with Steve Jobs in 1976. He holds an honorary doctorate in engineering, conferred in 1989, from CU Boulder.

“Steve Wozniak is an icon in the computing industry whose life has been marked by innovation, leadership and generosity—values that CU Boulder seeks to instill in our graduates,” said Chancellor Philip DiStefano. “I’m confident his message will ignite listeners’ imaginations and challenge us to pursue our own unique paths.”

Wozniak helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products, the Apple I and II. His Apple II featured a central processing unit, a keyboard, color graphics and a floppy disk drive. The model was integral in launching the personal computer industry. Wozniak also influenced the popular Macintosh. He is listed as the sole inventor on four Apple patents. 

“After searching for a guest who embodies our university values and aligns with the resilience and passion of the Class of 2024, Senior Class Council is proud and honored to welcome Steve Wozniak as this year’s commencement speaker,” said Jacob Baca, Senior Class Council president. “We look forward to his words of wisdom.”

In total, Wozniak holds 10 honorary degrees, in addition to a degree in electrical engineering/computer science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1981.

“As a high school senior my first trip out of California was to Boulder, with a couple of friends,” said Wozniak. “We awoke the next morning to news of a snowfall. We opened the curtains and, yes, it had snowed. I had never before been in real snow. Despite the out-of-state tuition, my parents allowed me to follow my heart. The love of snow and cold has never left me.”

“My time at CU was the greatest of my life, with independence and great intellectual and physical energies. I have spoken so highly of CU ever since that two of my children actually went here."

Through the years, Wozniak has been involved in various business and philanthropic ventures, focusing primarily on computer capabilities in schools and stressing hands-on learning and encouraging creativity for students. Making significant investments of both his time and resources in education, he adopted the Los Gatos School District, providing students and teachers with hands-on teaching and donations of state-of-the-art technology equipment. 

He founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation and was the founding sponsor of the Tech Museum, Silicon Valley Ballet and Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, California. 

Wozniak has been honored with the National Medal of Technology, inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and received the Hoover Medal, given for “outstanding extra-career services by engineers to humanity.” In addition, he was inducted into the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame.

During it all, Wozniak has delivered thousands of talks and fireside chats, thrilling audiences and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs and engineers.

He lives in Los Gatos, California, with his wife Janet and their four dogs: Ziggy, Zelda, Jewel and Wozzie.

The May 9 commencement ceremony is free and open to the public and tickets are not required.