Inspirational author, UO alum to speak at 2017 commencement

Greg Bell

University of Oregon alumnus Greg Bell, a recognized speaker, business consultant, and leadership coach, will share his motivational message with the University of Oregon graduating class of 2017.

Author of the popular book “Water the Bamboo: Unleashing the Potential of Teams and Individuals,” Bell will be the speaker at the UO commencement on Monday, June 19. The main graduation ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Matthew Knight Arena.

All guest tickets for the main ceremony have been distributed, but there will be an overflow viewing area in the arena’s practice courts. The ceremony will also be available through a live video stream. See the commencement website for more details.

Based out of Portland, Bell speaks to thousands of individuals each year. He outlines his philosophy of patience and persistence, comparing one’s goals and dreams to the giant timber bamboo.

Planted and watered for up to five years, bamboo shows no sign of life. But when it breaks through the soil, it can grow 90 feet high in 60 days. Bell has built upon this analogy to inspire an array of organizations, from Fortune 500 companies like Nike and Disney to the Portland Trail Blazers and Division I NCAA teams like Oregon Ducks football and Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball.

Bell holds political science and law degrees from the UO, where he also played four seasons on the Ducks basketball team.

Before becoming an inspirational speaker and leadership coach, Bell practiced law as a corporate attorney. He then went on to work with the National Association of Basketball Coaches, where he spearheaded the launch of Coaches vs. Cancer, a campaign for the American Cancer Society that has raised more than $100 million for cancer research, according to the organization's website.

Bell has also been a TEDx Talk presenter and serves on the advisory board for the Portland TEDx conference series.