Nintendo president to keynote University of Utah commencement

Graduates of the University of Utah class of 2022 will be ushered into their post-collegiate lives through the commencement speech of Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser.

The announcement was made Tuesday by U. President Taylor Randall and Jessica Wojciechowski, president of the Associated Students of the University of Utah, at the university's board of trustees meeting.

Bowser is a 1984 graduate of the U., where he arrived with "no declared major — just a variety of interests."

"My early years were about exploration, which led to tremendous personal growth," Bowser said in a statement. "Settling on the College of Humanities and a degree in communications was a perfect fit and has been incredibly beneficial to me throughout my career. Critical and comparative thinking, communication, and cultural understanding and appreciation — these are skills and perspectives I draw from every day in my position."

Besides bringing what Randall described as a "cool" factor to the annual campuswide commencement, Bowser, a longtime consumer packaged goods and technology company executive, brings a unique global perspective and a treasure trove of practical experience.

"The reach of Doug Bowser's career is undeniable. I'd guess nearly every member of our student body has had some experience playing a Nintendo video game," Randall said in a statement. "Beyond that, Doug is a dedicated alumnus and supporter of this university. His international experience and practical wisdom about the nexus between culture and education will be particularly relevant to our class of '22, as the importance of understanding diverse perspectives is an essential part of higher education, the workforce and our communities."

Before joining Nintendo, Bowser spent eight years at Electronic Arts, beginning as vice president of retail strategy and marketing, then as vice president of global business planning. Before joining Electronic Arts, Bowser worked at Procter & Gamble for 23 years. There, he held positions of increasing responsibility in the U.S., Hong Kong, Mexico City and Caracas, Venezuela.

In April 2019, Bowser was named president of Nintendo, where he oversees the company's business operations throughout the United States, Canada and Latin America. He joined Nintendo in May 2015 as vice president of sales.

Despite what appears as a logical association to make, Bowser shares no relation with the Nintendo villain who goes by the same name.

Currently, Bowser serves on the executive board of the Entertainment Software Association and is also on the executive board of directors for the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington.

"My hope for our new graduates is that, by inviting open conversation and new ways of thinking, they can continue to build upon these important skills and drive the kinds of changes they want to see as they embark on their own journeys," Bowser said.

The U.'s general campuswide commencement is scheduled for Thursday, May 5 at 6 p.m. in the Jon M. Huntsman Center. In-person college convocations will be held May 5-6. Those wanting to learn more about the general commencement and college convocations can do so at commencement.utah.edu.