Valerie Jarrett named UChicago’s 2018 Class Day speaker

Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Obama and a distinguished senior fellow in the University of Chicago Law School, has been named the invited speaker for UChicago’s Class Day celebration.

A corporate executive and attorney respected for her leadership in public service, Jarrett will address the College’s graduating students and their families about the responsibilities of global citizenship. Her address is part of the Class Day event starting at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 8, in the Main Quadrangle. The gathering will include the presentation of College awards and speeches by students from the Class of 2018. Class Day began last year and is a celebration that kicks off Convocation weekend.

“We are delighted that Valerie Jarrett will join the College in celebrating this year’s graduating class,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College and the Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of History. “Our graduates are intellectual leaders whose knowledge and analytical skills equip them to address the world’s most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges. Valerie Jarrett’s distinguished career and viewpoints will provide extraordinary perspective on the global role of scholarly leaders.”

The longest-serving senior adviser to President Obama, Jarrett oversaw the White House Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. She also chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls and co-chaired the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.

Before joining the Obama administration, Jarrett was the CEO of The Habitat Company, a real estate development and management company. She also served under Chicago Mayors Harold Washington and Richard M. Daley and has held numerous board positions, including vice chairman of the University of Chicago’s Board of Trustees.

“I am honored to be selected as the Class Day speaker at the University of Chicago,” Jarrett said. “I am incredibly optimistic about our future because of the talent in the Class of 2018 and am excited to share in their celebration of this momentous occasion.”