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Dell ex-CEO to speak at UVSC’s rites

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Dell CEO Kevin Rollins

Dell CEO Kevin Rollins

Mark Humphrey, Associated Press

OREM — The former chief executive of Dell Inc. will speak at Utah Valley State College's convocation next week in what could be his first speech since stepping down from the computer giant he once ran.

Kevin Rollins will speak at commencement April 27. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the McKay Events Center.

Company founder Michael Dell hand-picked Rollins — a graduate of Orem High School and Brigham Young University — in 2004 to lead the company.

But profits dropped; last fall the company recalled laptop computer batteries because they were potentially flammable; and federal prosecutors subpoenaed documents dating back to 2002 related to Dell's accounting practices.

In February, Michael Dell announced he again was at the helm of the company. By mid-February, Rollins signed a separation agreement, and he will officially leave the company May 4.

Rollins' severance package from Dell includes $5 million over the next two years.

The Board of Trustees at the 23,000-student Orem college invited Rollins to speak at commencement before he stepped down as CEO, UVSC spokeswoman Megan Laurie said.

Rollins is active in several causes, such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Catalyst, an organization dedicated to advancing opportunities for women in the workplace.

President Bush has appointed Rollins to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiation.

Rollins and his wife, Debra, founded and sponsor the Rollins Center for eBusiness at BYU. They have four children.

"This, we think, is his first public speech since he left Dell," Laurie said. "I think it'll be a really interesting speech and should be really beneficial for our students."

At commencement, about 940 students will receive bachelor's degrees and 872 will receive associate degrees.

UVSC will award honorary doctoral degrees to Jeff Alexander, former majority leader of the Utah House of Representatives; Melanie Bastian, former member of the UVSC Board of Trustees; and philanthropists Mary Lou and Ira Fulton of Phoenix-based Fulton Homes, who have given more than $5 million to UVSC in the past year to help the school obtain university status.

In February, the Utah Legislature approved a bill that will make UVSC a university in 2008.

E-mail: lhancock@desnews.com