This is an archived press release. Some links may no longer function. For assistance, please contact

May 18, 2007

Skinner, Kotlowitz And Kamen Among DePaul’s 2007 Commencement Speakers

An author whose searing expose of life in the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) was a major catalyst for the demolition of CHA high-rises will join a former presidential chief of staff and the inventor of the Segway® as commencement speakers at DePaul University’s 109th graduation ceremonies.

The May 20 College of Law commencement and the June 16 commencements for the School of Education, the School of Music, the Theatre School and the School for New Learning will each be held at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. The June 17 commencements for the College of Commerce, School of Computer Science, Telecommunications and Information Systems and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences will be held at Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont. Below are the dates and times of each commencement ceremony and brief profiles of the keynote speakers and other honorary degree recipients.

College of Law, May 20, 1:30 p.m.:

Keynote speaker and past honorary degree recipient Samuel K. Skinner has excelled in a number of critical positions in both the public and private sectors during his long career including chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush, U.S. secretary of transportation, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and chairman and CEO of USFreightways Corp. Skinner also served as head of the Chicago area’s Regional Transportation Authority, which oversees mass transit systems in the area. He currently is of counsel at the law firm of Greenberg, Traurig.

Also receiving an honorary degree from the College of Law is Gregory R. Dillon, vice chairman and director emeritus of Hilton Hotels Corp. Dillon is a distinguished attorney and successful businessman devoted to philanthropic causes.

School of Education, June 16, 8:30 a.m.:

Keynote speaker and honorary degree recipient Sonia Nieto is professor emeritus of language, literacy and culture at the School of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her scholarly work has focused on curriculum reform, teacher education, Puerto Rican children’s literature and the education of Latinos, immigrants and other culturally and linguistically diverse student populations.

School of Music and The Theatre School, June 16, Noon:

Keynote speaker and honorary degree recipient Ed Ward, a DePaul alumnus, is a gifted musician who has spent more than 20 years advancing music by bettering the lives of other musicians through his union leadership. He is president emeritus of the Chicago Federation of Musicians (CFM). He also has served as executive officer of the musicians’ national organization, the American Federation of Musicians.

Also receiving an honorary degree from the School of Music is Tom O’Horgan, a theater and film director and composer, who has brought some of the most enduring musicals in the history of the stage to life. His original Broadway productions of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Hair” helped revolutionize the American theater and remain watershed events in American cultural history.

School for New Learning, June 16, 3 p.m.:

Keynote speaker and honorary degree recipient Larry Cox is executive director of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), the largest national division of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning, activist organization. He has dedicated his life to social justice and the defense of human rights. Over the course of his long career, Cox has led a number of other social justice efforts through several other international organizations.

College of Commerce, June 17, 8:30 a.m.:

Keynote speaker and honorary degree recipient Terrence A. Duffy is chairman of the board of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and its parent company, CME Holdings Inc., the largest futures exchange in the United States.

Also receiving an honorary degree from the College of Commerce: Lester H. McKeever Jr., a pioneering Chicago business leader, philanthropist and mentor to a generation of African-American business professionals.

School for Computer Science, Telecommunications and Information Systems, June 17, 12:30 p.m.:

Keynote speaker and honorary degree recipient Dean Kamen is an inventor and entrepreneur whose array of innovations and new technologies has greatly enhanced the lives of many. Best known to the public for inventing the two-wheeled Segway® Transporter, Kamen’s medical inventions have significantly improved the quality of life for diabetics, dialysis patients and others dealing with serious medical conditions. He has challenged and enabled many of America’s children to pursue careers in science through an annual competition, an effort Kamen considers his proudest achievement.

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, June 17, 4 p.m.:

Keynote speaker and honorary degree recipient Alex Kotlowitz is an acclaimed writer and journalist, whose most famous work “There Are No Children Here” generated a national dialogue on the deplorable conditions of many of America’s inner-city housing projects and served as a catalyst for the redevelopment of many of Chicago’s most notorious slums. Kotlowitz also has written several other books and is a frequent contributor to many other national magazines and broadcasts.

Media Contact: John Holden, (312) 362-7165, or