This story was originally published March 13, 2017.
TEMPE, Ariz. - Howard Schultz, current chairman and CEO of Starbucks, will deliver the commencement address to an estimated crowd of 20,000 Arizona State University graduates at the spring 2017 commencement ceremony, the school announced Monday.
Schultz -- who will give his first commencement address at Sun Devil Stadium on May 8 -- will also receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
In a Facebook post, ASU president Michael Crow said the university was "very pleased" to welcome the Starbucks CEO.
Schultz's speech to the graduating class will come nearly three years after Starbucks partnered with the university to reimburse employees who work at least 20 hours a week for the cost of tuition in their pursuit of a bachelor's degree through ASU Online.
According to ASU, more than 6,500 Starbucks employees have gained admission to the Starbucks College Achievement Plan with nearly 1,000 expected to graduate by year's end.
“Howard has been an energetic advocate for expanding opportunity," President Crow told ASU Now. "I am personally grateful that our personal partnership -- and the partnership between Starbucks and ASU -- has made it possible for many thousands to complete their college degrees and pursue a path toward lifelong learning and success.”