Senior Obama Advisor Valerie Jarrett, ’81, to Deliver Michigan Law Commencement Address

By John Masson, Amicus editor

Michigan Law alumna and senior White House advisor Valerie B. Jarrett will deliver this spring’s commencement address at the University of Michigan Law School.

"I am very excited to return to the Michigan Law campus and congratulate this year’s graduating class," said Jarrett. "Some of the best times of my life were spent in Ann Arbor, and this is an incredible honor, not just as an alumna, but as somebody who’s very familiar with how much we need these smart, talented and committed scholars to help us confront the many challenges facing our country."

The ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 8 at Hill Auditorium.

Jarrett is the Senior Advisor to the President and head of four departments in the White House: Intergovernmental Affairs; Public Engagement; Olympic, Paralympic, and Youth Sports; and Urban Affairs. She chairs the White House Council on Women and Girls and leads the White House’s business outreach efforts.

Prior to joining the administration, Jarrett was the President and CEO of the Habitat Company. She was a leader in the civic and business communities of Chicago and served on several corporate and not for profit boards, including serving as Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees, Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, and Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Jarrett served as Finance Chair for President Obama's 2004 run for the U.S. Senate. She also served as a Senior Advisor to President Obama’s presidential campaign and Co-Chair of President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Transition Committee.

Additionally, Jarrett served for eight years in several positions in Chicago City government including Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley and Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development. Prior to that, she practiced law at two different Chicago firms.

Jarrett, who earned a B.A. at Stanford before graduating with a Michigan J.D. in 1981, is slated to visit Ann Arbor just one week after President Obama – the fourth sitting president to visit U-M – delivers the commencement address for the University as a whole.

"Selection of Jarrett as the Law School commencement speaker continues the school’s tradition of inviting accomplished, high-profile Law School graduates to Ann Arbor to help usher new graduates into the professional world," Dean Evan Caminker said.

"We’re absolutely delighted to invite Valerie Jarrett back to Michigan Law to address our graduating students," Caminker said. "In so many ways she personifies the many avenues open to our graduates as they enter the legal world, the business world, the political world – or, in Ms. Jarrett’s case, a progression including all three. We know our graduates will benefit from her remarkable breadth of experience, and we look forward to hearing what she has to say."

More information about Senior Day is available at http://www.law.umich.edu/SENIORDAY/Pages/MaySeniorDay.aspx.