Tim Cook Expresses Thoughts on Equality in Auburn University Award Speech
Apple CEO Tim Cook received a lifetime achievement award from his alma mater Auburn University at a New York event on Tuesday, with a video of the speech surfacing on the college's YouTube channel today (via AllThingsD).
Throughout his remarks, Cook highlighted his overall support for the progression of human equality in the United States and throughout the world. The CEO cited a section from the United Nations preamble emphasizing equality, and talked about finding a company in Apple that “deeply believed in advancing humanity through its products and through the equality of all of its employees.“
Now, much has changed since my early days at Apple, but these values, which are the very heart of our company, remain the same. These values guide us to make our products accessible for everyone...people with disabilities often find themselves in a struggle to have their human dignity acknowledged; they're frequently left in the shadows of technological advancements that are a source of empowerment and attainment for others. But Apple's engineers pushed back against this unacceptable reality; they go to extraordinary lengths to make our products accessible to people with various disabilities from blindness and deafness, to various muscular disorders.
These values have also recently guided us to support legislation that demands equality and non-discrimination for all employees, regardless of how they love. This legislation, known as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. I have long believed in this, and Apple has implemented protections for employees, even when the laws did not. Now is the time to write these principles of basic human dignity into the book of law.
Cook originally graduated from Auburn University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering. He then joined Apple in 1998, and was named CEO of the company on August 24, 2011 after late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs resigned from the position.
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