Amazon's VP and associate general counsel to give keynote

May 12, 2017 | 8:26 AM

MacMurray College will hold its 166th annual Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 13, at 10:30 a.m. in Annie Merner Chapel. Jacksonville native Kathryn Thomson, vice president and associate general counsel for Amazon, will give the keynote address.

“I am delighted to be coming back to Jacksonville to give the commencement address at MacMurray,” Thomson said. “My family’s ties to MacMurray go all the way back to the turn of the 20th century, so I feel like Mac is in my DNA.”

Thomson said her commencement address will urge the graduating class to use the tools provided by their MacMurray education to embrace transitions and challenges in the future. “Harkening back to the commencement address that Eleanor Roosevelt gave at MacMurray 70 years ago, I will also advise the graduates that the most effective way to tackle the demands and opportunities of the future is to continue to learn and be curious.”

As VP and general counsel for Amazon, she advises the company on all aspects of transportation and logistics in the United States and abroad with the aim of improving the customer experience.

Before joining Amazon, Thomson was a partner for Morrison and Foerster, a leading global law firm, and was chair for the firm’s transportation group. Thomson went to the law firm after working for the U.S. Department of Transportation as general counsel and chief counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration where she helped shape national transportation law and policy. Thomson was in private practice for 19 years in Washington, D.C. before joining the government in 2009.

The Class of 2017 includes 127 undergraduates. MacMurray will confer Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in nursing, Bachelor of social work, Associate of Art and Associate of Science. An Honorary Doctor of Commerce, Accounting and Business degree will be bestowed upon Russell Patton, a 1966 MacMurray graduate. Thomson will also be given an Honorary Doctor of Law.

The Commencement ceremony is free and open to the public, if tickets are available. To reserve a ticket and to find out if space is available, call 217-479-7024, or email

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