ATLANTA (May 10, 2013) –Valerie B. Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, head of the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, will be the commencement speaker at Clark Atlanta University’s Class of 2013 Commencement Exercises on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 8:00 a.m.
Clark Atlanta University is one of four member institutions of the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC), the only Historically Black Consortium of private colleges and universities in the nation. A member of the Georgia Research Alliance, CAU is home to the Center for Cancer Research & Therapeutic Development, the Center for Functional Nanoscale Materials, and the new Center for Sustainability focused on biofuel development and water resources.
Clark Atlanta University President Carlton E. Brown said, "In Valerie Jarrett, our graduates will enjoy the wisdom of a powerful leader who has throughout her stellar career achieved political and economic gains through the strategic investment of her considerable intellect, her ability to bring diverse groups of people together and her keen ability to create solutions that transcend obstacles, barriers and limitations." Brown added that Jarrett's "grace, eloquence and focus speak to the highest standards of comportment for those called to service in both the domestic and international realms."
Named “the Other Power in the West Wing,” by The New York Times, Jarrett is widely considered to be one of the most influential women in America. She is also an outspoken advocate for women. When Jarrett spoke at a February 2012 event aimed at increasing women’s political participation, she said, “My parents raised me to believe that if I worked hard and I focused on my goals, there were no limits to what I could accomplish. My responsibility as the Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls is to help ensure that all women and girls have that same opportunity.”
Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Jarrett was Chief Executive Officer of The Habitat Company in Chicago, IL. She also served as Co-Chair of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, and Senior Advisor on the Obama for America campaign.
Earlier in her career, Jarrett held several positions in both the public and private sector, including the Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, Chairman of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board, Commissioner of Planning and Development for the City of Chicago, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley. She also practiced law with two private law firms.
Jarrett received her B.A. from Stanford University in 1978 and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.