Fireworks erupt from Darrel K Royal Stadium for UT Austin's commencement ceremony

Global Nonprofit Founder Named 2023 Commencement Speaker

  • Apr 27, 2023

Hayes Barnard, an American entrepreneur, business owner, and philanthropist, will deliver the keynote address for the 140th Commencement of The University of Texas at Austin on May 6. The ceremony is expected to draw 50,000 attendees at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. 

2023 UT Commencement speaker Hayes Barnard smiles at the camera

Barnard is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of GoodLeap, a financial technology company focused on sustainability, and GivePower, an award-winning nonprofit providing clean electricity and safe drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people in underserved communities around the world. He also founded GoodFinch, an asset management company specializing in sustainable investments. 

Barnard’s philanthropic endeavors have made a global impact by deploying clean energy solutions to more than 700,000 people across 24 countries. GivePower was awarded the Global Water Award in Dubai in 2020 and the country of Kenya’s Energy Globe Award in 2021 for its lifesaving technology, which provides access to clean water for people in critical need across the developing world.  

GivePower partners with the university for programs in which students work through real-world engineering challenges on solar water farm. They analyze problems and explore solutions, advancing the technology and providing students with experiences and challenges similar to what they will face in a working environment. 

Every purchase from the GoodLeap platform supports the GivePower Foundation, an independent 501C nonprofit that uses microgrid solar technology to provide fresh water, education, health care and economic opportunities to communities in need around the world. 

“I’ve been inspired by the innovation in Austin, and it’s why I moved here with my family,” Barnard said. “It’s clear to me The University of Texas at Austin is central to this dynamic environment. The diversity of thought and passion to change the world coming from this school are some of the many reasons I’m so honored to be speaking on this momentous occasion.” 

Read more at UT News and the 2023 commencement website