Commencement Speakers

Valerie Jarrett with President Obama

Susan Wagner delivered the 2014 Commencement address at Wellesley College.

Sue Wagner ’82, co-founder and now member of the board of directors of BlackRock, addressed the Class of 2014 and an international audience of their family and friends at Wellesley’s 136th Commencement Exercises on Friday, May 30, at 10:30 a.m. Watch it on video!

About Sue Wagner

BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager, with approximately $4.32 trillion in assets under management. Wagner was one of eight individuals who founded the company that now employs more than 11,000 people. In a 2010 TIME magazine interview, she called that move "the best decision I've made professionally.... to leave a stable and promising career to found BlackRock with several of my partners. We took a risk to believe in each other, to trust our instincts on the growth of the capital markets and the need for risk management, and to continually evolve the firm to better help our clients solve their investment challenges.

Fellow BlackRock founder Larry Fink, chairman and CEO, said, “Sue has spearheaded every critical corporate transaction in our history and played a pivotal role in the genesis of many of the businesses that have become central to our success.” He added that Wagner has been a pioneer, role model, and mentor for both women and men in our firm and across our industry.”

She is also, as Reuters put it in a 2008 profile, “a mother of three school-age children and a down-to-earth New York commuter.

Prior to founding BlackRock, Wagner was a vice president in the Mortgage Finance Group at Lehman Brothers, supporting the investment banking and capital markets activities of mortgage and savings institutions, including development of innovative products. Just two years after graduating from Wellesley, Wagner assisted in writing and editing Conversations with Economists, which was named one of the 10 best business and economics books published that year by both Business Week and Forbes

Wagner has been named among Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business,” included on similar lists published by the Financial Times and Crain’s New York, and honored by the National Council for Research on Women. She graduated with honors from Wellesley College with a B.A. in English and economics, and earned an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago. Wagner serves on the boards of BlackRock, DSP BlackRock (India), Wellesley College, and the Hackley School. 

Read more about Wagner in our news release, and hear her and some of her colleagues discuss BlackRock's startup days in the snippet from a corporate video below.

 
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Clip from We Are BlackRock, a 50 Eggs production.

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back in 1982

The Real World When Wagner Graduated


1982: Equal Rights Amendment fails state ratification

1983: Unemployment rate = 9.6 percent

1984: Median income for women = $8,675 (only 4 percent earn more than $28,000)

1985: Women earn $0.55-0.57 per each $1 a man makes