Jon Huntsman Jr., former governor of Utah and U.S. ambassador to both Singapore and China, will be the University of Wisconsin’s 2014 spring commencement speaker on May 17.

Huntsman, who started in public service as a staff assistant to President Ronald Reagan, has served four U.S. presidents, according to a university statement released Wednesday. Huntsman was also a Republican candidate for president in the 2012 race.

Most recently, he served as the U.S. ambassador to China.

“I am honored to welcome Jon Huntsman to campus as our commencement speaker,” Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in the statement. “He has been successful in multiple roles, as a governor, an ambassador and as a business leader. As the Class of 2014 looks toward the next chapter of their lives, I am eager to hear the advice he will share.”

Senior class officials announced in October this year’s commencement will take place in a single ceremony at Camp Randall stadium. Previous ceremonies have been held at the Kohl Center.

Senior Class Treasurer Sarah Neibart said scheduling prominent graduation speakers has been difficult in the past, as multiple ceremonies occurred over a few days. The ceremony will be shortened this year to about an hour and a half by excluding the reading of graduates’ names. However, different schools will still host individual receptions or ceremonies for their respective graduates.

UW will keep the cost of commencement similar to what it has been in the past, according to Dean of Students Lori Berquam. Senior Class Vice President Andrew Bulovsky said the speaker will still be paid for out of a general fund from the Chancellor’s office; the cost does not come out of any segregated fees.

Commencement will take place Saturday, May 17 at noon.

Louis Johnson contributed reporting.

[Photo via Wikimedia Commons]