University announces 2017 commencement speakers

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University announces 2017 commencement speakers

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With around two months left before the bulk of the graduation ceremonies, DePaul announced the speakers for each of the graduation ceremonies slated for mid-May and June.

DePaul’s 119th commencement ceremony speakers will include a labor attorney and diversity advocate, poet and fiction writer and executive of a local radio station for the upcoming graduations. There will be seven separate ceremonies for the 10 colleges and schools.

Speakers typically make remarks related to the world students are about to enter into. Last year, speakers included humanitarian activist Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman, a communications marketing firm, and educator, composer and world-renowned pianist Muhal Richard Abrams.

DePaul brings in a wide range of speakers from various backgrounds for their ceremonies at Rosemont Theatre and Allstate Arena.

Paulette Brown, a labor and employment attorney, will speak at the commencement ceremony for the College of Law on May 14, the first of the ceremonies.

Sharon Draper, a teacher and New York Times-bestselling author who won the National Teacher of the the Year award in 1997 for helping students through literature, will speak for the College of Education’s commencement ceremony. John Corigliano, a creator of more than 100 scores and an Academy Award winner for his score of the film “The Red Violin,” will speak to students of the School of Music and the Theatre School in their combined ceremony June 10.

Megan Pietz, a senior who studies English, was surprised when she heard the university was bringing in Stuart Dybek. This was the first time she was aware of the speakers at all, and not just because she will graduate this year. Nevertheless, she is impressed with the choice of Dybek, a poet and fiction writer whose work has been included in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine and The Paris Review. For Pietz, it adds an air of anticipation and interest to the ceremony.

“I think Dybek is an incredible Chicago-centric author, so I think it’s appropriate for a Chicago-centric school like DePaul,” Pietz said. “Plus, any author is likely to be a better speechwriter than the rest of us.”

Dybek will speak to the students in the School for New Learning. Other speakers include Craig Hartman — who is the architect behind the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, California — for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the College of Science and Health.

For the combined ceremony for the College of Communication and the College of Computing and Digital Media, Marty Wilke, the first female president and general manager of WBBM-TV (CBS 2) in Chicago, as well as a DePaul alumna, will speak.

Rick Kash, vice chairman of the global consumer information analytics firm Nielsen, will speak to students graduating from the Driehaus College of Business and Kellstadt Graduate School of Business during their ceremony.