Skip to main content

News & Events

Phil Spencer to deliver 2020 HCDE Graduation Address

May 29, 2020

Phil Spencer headshotPhil Spencer (BS, '90)

The Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering is proud to announce that Phil Spencer, Executive Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft and department alumnus, will deliver the guest commencement address at the HCDE Graduation & Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. 

Spencer will address members of the Class of 2020, their families and guests, and HCDE faculty, staff, and researchers. The celebration will be held virtually and will be presided by new HCDE Chair, Professor Julie Kientz.

The 2020 graduation ceremony marks a monumental one in the Department's history. With the 2019-2020 year, HCDE is celebrating 30 years as a formal University department, and ten years with the name Human Centered Design & Engineering. Spencer is an early graduate of our program, when it was the University of Washington's program in Scientific and Technical Communication (STC). It is an honor to have a founding alum address 2020 graduates at this unprecedented, historical moment.

Spencer is the head of the Xbox brand and leads the global creative and engineering teams responsible for gaming at Microsoft. With his team and game development partners, Spencer continues to push the boundaries of creativity, technical innovation and fun across gaming genres, audiences and devices. Spencer began his career with Microsoft as an intern in 1988 after graduating from the STC program.

Spencer is both a passionate gamer and seasoned gaming executive serving more than 15 years in the gaming industry leading global business, creative and engineering teams. Spencer has held various roles across Microsoft including Head of Xbox, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Studios, and GM, Microsoft Game Studios EMEA. In these roles, Spencer led the Xbox organization with the launches of Xbox One S and Xbox One X, the acquisition of Minecraft and influenced blockbuster game franchises from “Halo,” “Gears of War,” “Forza Motorsport,” as well as Microsoft Publishing. He’s also led the expansion of cross-platform gaming with Xbox Live, which now counts more than 50 million monthly active users.

Spencer currently serves on the board of Entertainment Software Association and of The Paley Center for Media.