2013 Commencement Speaker
Matthew Shay, President & CEO, National Retail Federation and Witt Alum, Class of 1984
A political advocate of job creation and education, Matthew Shay, Wittenberg University class of 1984, will present the keynote address during Wittenberg’s 168th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 11.
As president and CEO of the National Retail Federation (NRF), Shay leads the world’s largest retail trade association and serves as chief spokesman for an industry that includes more than 3.6 million establishments in the United States, supports 42 million U.S. jobs and contributes $2.5 trillion to annual gross domestic product. NRF embodies the international footprint of retailing by representing retailers and industry partners spanning 45 nations.
During his tenure, Shay spearheaded a new strategic plan for NRF, focusing on advocacy, communications and education in an effort to provide substantial resources to government relations activities on behalf of the industry. The plan was established with a vision of strengthening what the retail industry is capable of and increasing its voice on Capitol Hill. Under his leadership, NRF has advocated to limit debit and credit card swipe fees, convince Congress to approve more free trade agreements and achieve sales tax fairness between online and brick-and-mortar retailers.
Prior to his appointment with NRF, Shay served as president and CEO of the International Franchise Association, where he represented more than 1,200 franchise companies in the retail sector and beyond. He has been recognized by CEO Update as one of the top 50 non-profit chief executives in Washington, D.C., and is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Association Committee of 100.
“It is with great honor and pride that we asked Mr. Shay to address Wittenberg’s graduating class of 2013,” said Aaron Long, president of the Class of 2013. “As a truly impactful community, national and international member, Mr. Shay speaks for all citizens when stressing the importance of education and how his organization creates and sustains jobs. His vitality for continued economic growth and innovation with respect to consumer affairs does not go unrecognized. Speaking on behalf of our class, we are eager to welcome Mr. Shay back to Wittenberg University as a highly respected alumnus.”
Shay earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1984. He went on to earn a Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University College of Law in 1987 and a master’s degree in business administration from Georgetown University McDonough School of Business in 2011. Shay will be awarded an honorary doctorate degree in business administration during Wittenberg’s Commencement ceremony.