Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, will give the keynote address at this year's Commencement, the university announced earlier this month.
A Harvard University graduate whose career spans from playing professional basketball in Australia to running Chicago's public schools, Duncan has been in the education field since 1992, when he ran the Ariel Education Initiative, a program dedicated to improving educational opportunities for students in Chicago's South Side.
Many factors go into selecting a commencement speaker.
"We want someone who is recognizable, informative and uplifting," said Steven Allred, university provost and chair of the speaker selection committee.
"The speaker is someone who should not only be appropriate, but also challenging," Allred said. "We were impressed with what he did in the Chicago public schools."
Duncan's speech is expected to focus on preparing students for a changing world through personal development and a liberal arts education.
He will give his address at a time of uncertain economic recovery, with job markets still tight and the unemployment rate at 9.7 percent with almost 30 million Americans out of work.
Previous Commencement speakers have included Ed Rendell, former chair of the Democratic National Committee, and Tim Kaine, former governor of Virginia.
The university's Commencement will be held in the Robins Center on May 9th.
Contact Milos Jovanovic at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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