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Edward B. Rust, Jr., Chairman of the Board and CEO of State Farm Mutual, gave the SMU Dedman School of Law Commencement Address on May 15, 2010. In his speech, he reflected on the changes that have occurred in the legal profession in the 35 years since his graduation from SMU Dedman School of Law.

Such transformations, he said, have been marked by increased specialization, high costs and long delays in the civil justice system, and using technology to effectively collaborate with clients.

"The impact of technology has been profound in the practice of law, just as it has been in society in general," commented Rust.

Despite the ever-evolving nature of law, Rust insisted that ethics are an enduring aspect of the field that must remain constant.

"We need to police ourselves aggressively and take actions appropriate to the seriousness of the circumstance," he said.

Rust is a nationally recognized leader in business community efforts to improve the quality of education in the United States.  He is Vice Chair of the Business Roundtable and Co-chair of the Business Coalition for Student Achievement.  He serves on the boards of America’s Promise Alliance, The James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy, and Achieve, Inc.  He is the former chairman of the Business Higher Education Forum, and the Business Roundtable for its educational initiative.  He served on the No Child Left Behind commission.  Rust is Past Chairman of the American Enterprise Institute financial services roundtable, the National Alliance of Business, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  He currently serves as a trustee at The Conference Board and at Illinois Wesleyan University, where he is a graduate.  Rust received his JD from the SMU Dedman School of Law and his MBA from SMU Cox School of Business.  He began his career with State Farm at the company’s Dallas regional office in 1975.  Ten years later, he became President and Chief Executive.  Rust has been Chairman of the Board at State Farm Mutual for the past 23 years.

To view photos from the 2010 hooding ceremony, click here.