Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert ’86 to Deliver 2018 Commencement Address

Cathy Engelbert ’86, Deloitte CEO, will return to Lehigh to share her perspectives and insights when she delivers the address at Lehigh’s 150th spring commencement on Monday, May 21.

“As an alumna of Lehigh, I attribute much of my success to what I learned while on campus,” said Engelbert. “This time of unprecedented speed and exponential change is bringing many opportunities and challenges for new graduates—from the creation of new jobs and the emerging need to work as co-bots, to shifting business models, to talent innovations. I’m thrilled to share my journey and optimism on what this means for the graduating seniors at this year’s commencement.”

Lehigh President John D. Simon said he was “delighted that Cathy has accepted our invitation to return to Lehigh to address the Class of 2018 and the families of our graduates. Over the years, she has been extremely generous in sharing her wisdom gained from an extraordinary career as one of the most powerful women in the business world, and as someone who has always championed the advantages of a balanced, fulfilling and productive life. I’m sure our young graduates will benefit from her advice and will find her to be motivating and inspiring.”

Matt Rothberg ’18, president of the Student Senate, said that this year’s commencement speaker “exemplifies the characteristics Lehigh looks for in their students and alumni: well-rounded, respected, and effective in making an impact on society. Her advice to the Class of 2018 will help usher in the newest round of Lehigh graduates and young alumni so that they, too, can build a successful career and be proud of their accomplishments.”

Leading One of the Country’s Most Influential Organizations

Today, Engelbert leads one of the country’s largest professional services organizations, and is responsible for more than 85,000 professionals who provide audit and assurance, tax, consulting, and risk and financial advisory services to more than 80 percent of the Fortune 500, producing measurable and enduring impact for clients, people, communities and society.

Since graduating from Lehigh with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting, Engelbert has had a distinguished career serving large and complex global clients. She previously led the U.S. audit practice and currently serves on Deloitte’s Board of Directors. Today, she advises C-Suite leaders on issues from business transformation to how technology and innovation influences the way we work and live.

She serves on our Lehigh Accounting Advisory Board. She is also chair of the Center for Audit Quality Governing Board and of Catalyst and vice chair of the Partnership for New York City. She has been listed as one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women for the last three years and is ranked on Glassdoor’s annual Employees’ Choice Awards honoring the 50 Highest Rated CEOs, and among Crain’s 50 Most Powerful Women in New York. Engelbert is also recognized as one of Working Mother magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Moms in 2016 and 2017 and one of Fast Company magazine’s Most Productive People.

She is a member of the Business Roundtable, the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Heart Association CEO Roundtable, American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer Global Council and the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund Board.

An Appreciation for the Role Lehigh Played in Her Success

Engelbert made history in 2015 when she became the first woman to lead a major U.S. professional services firm. Since stepping into the role as CEO of Deloitte, she has led the company through significant growth in revenues, number of employees, and impact on clients and society. During her tenure, she has implemented an industry-leading family leave policy and has led on various diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Engelbert credits her time at Lehigh—both as a student and athlete—for her well-rounded education and sense of leadership, the foundation she now uses as a leader.

During her address, Engelbert expects to reflect on lessons from her time at Lehigh, how those contributed to where she is today and how she sees the marketplace evolving. She will also give her perspectives on the skills that our graduates—the next generation of leaders—will need as they advance through the work of the future in this time of unprecedented change. Engelbert said she recognizes the significant opportunities for those entering the workforce and often speaks optimistically to clients and media about how the dynamic forces of technological advancements will reshape the very nature of the future of work—who is doing the work, and how and where the work gets done.

Related Stories

Students at Kente ceremony

Celebrating 10 Years of BALANCE

Lehigh’s Black and Latinx Alumni Network for Community and Equity marks milestone and builds on past success.

Pam Fusek

Pam Fusek ’13 Stoked Her Passion for Space Exploration at Lehigh and Landed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab

Fusek is living out a dream as a test engineer. She says she owes her early career success in large part to her Lehigh experiences.

A rendering of Singleton House, a new residential house at Lehigh University

$5 Million Gift to Elevate Inclusive Community

Singleton gift names third house in Phase I of New Residential Houses.