Former Amazon executive Rick Ayre to address Drury graduates Saturday

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., December 12, 2017 — Former Amazon Vice President Rick Ayre will deliver the keynote address to graduates at Drury University’s commencement ceremony, which begins 10 a.m., Saturday, December 16.

Ayre graduated from Drury with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 1971. During his time at the university he served for two terms as student body president and was editor of Drury’s student newspaper, The Mirror. After graduation Ayre continued his education by pursuing his doctorate in psychiatric epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh. His passion for technology and writing later took him to PC Magazine, where he rose to the rank of Executive Editor. In 1996, this position led him to discover a new online book retailer, Amazon.com. A conversation with Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos resulted in a job offer, and Ayre served as vice president and executive editor of Amazon from 1996 to 2000, during which time he helped build the inviting front-end customer experience that the site is known for today.

As an alumnus, Ayre has served on Drury’s Environmental Advisory Council. His father, the Reverend Albert Ayre, graduated from Drury in 1946, and his son Colin is a 2017 Drury graduate.

Media are welcome to cover the ceremony. Doors will open for guests one hour prior to the start of the ceremony.

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