Carolyn Miles

Save the Children CEO Carolyn Speer Miles ’83, P’14 is Bucknell’s 2020 Commencement Speaker

November 18, 2019

by Matt Hughes

Carolyn Speer Miles '83, P'14, the president and chief executive officer of Save the Children and a passionate advocate for children in need, will be Bucknell University's 2020 Commencement speaker.

She will address the Class of 2020 at Bucknell's virtual celebration on Sunday, July 19, at 1 p.m. EST.

Miles leads a global organization that serves more than 130 million children in the U.S. and in 120 countries. Save the Children's diverse work on behalf of children includes commitments to reducing preventable deaths of children under 5, ensuring every child gets a high-quality basic education and protecting all children from harm. The organization also offers emergency aid to children and families during natural disasters, wars and conflicts around the world. In 2015, Miles was named one of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune magazine. She received the Jonathan Daniels Humanitarian Award in 2019.

"Carolyn has directed her passion and talents to critically important work that has saved millions of lives, raised countless more from poverty and uplifted us all — in short, she embodies our highest aspirations as Bucknellians," says Bucknell President John C. Bravman. "We are honored to have her address the Class of 2020 as our Commencement speaker."

As with previous Commencement speakers, Miles was selected to speak by members of the graduating class. Arianne Evans '20, president of the Class of 2020, says Miles offers an inspiring example of what members of her class might achieve.

"We're excited for her address and to hear how her experience at Bucknell prepared her to be a force for positive change in the world," Evans says.

Miles' journey to Save the Children began at Bucknell, where she majored in animal behavior. After graduation, she worked in business at large and small firms, including for American Express in Hong Kong and as a successful private entrepreneur in Asia. Moved by the childhood poverty she encountered in Asia, Miles transitioned to the nonprofit sector after 13 years in business.

She joined Save the Children in 1998 as associate vice president. She later became vice president and managing director for sponsorship and marketing, and was then named executive vice president and chief operating officer. Since September 2011, she has led the global charitable organization as president and CEO. In that time the organization has more than doubled the number of children it reaches with nutrition, health, education and other programs. In January, after 22 years with the organization, Miles will step down as CEO and begin another chapter.

In addition to her work with Save the Children, Miles has served on numerous boards, including for Blackbaud, a major supplier of nonprofit software; for the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, where she received her MBA; and for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. She has also served as a speaker for Bucknell's Center for Career Advancement, for the Freeman College of Management and for the Freeman College's Walling Lecture Series.


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