DEPAUL'S 2016 COMMENCEMENT SPEAKERS

2015 commencement ceremony
Honorary degree recipient Muhal Richard Abrams, a world-renowned pianist, addresses the graduates of DePaul University's School of Music and The Theatre School at the 117th commencement ceremonies on June 13, 2015. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
Speakers for DePaul University's 118th commencement ceremonies are thought leaders in their respective fields including education, technology, social justice, business and the arts. They will address DePaul's approximately 6,400 graduates at the university's commencement ceremonies May 15 and June 11-12.

The dignitaries include: Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Martin R. Castro; Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and actress Lila Down; refugeee and immigrant advocate Edwin Silverman; National Public Radio education correspondent Claudio Sanchez; theatre scholar Todd London; Coca-Cola CFO Kathy Waller; and software architect and innovator, Kerrie Holley. Each of the speakers will also receive an honorary degree.

Details about each college's commencement ceremony, speakers and honorary degree recipients are listed below. For additional information visit, http://bit.ly/DPUGrad2016.

College of Law
May 15, 1:30 p.m.
Rosemont Theatre
5400 N. River Road, Rosemont

During a career spanning nearly four decades, Edwin Silverman led and shaped refugee resettlement and immigrant integration policy on the local, state and federal levels. With Silverman's guidance, Illinois became a leader and national model for refugee resettlement. On a wider scale, Silverman worked with lawmakers and policy experts on refugee matters and helped draft the United States Refugee Act of 1980, which established the Federal Refugee Resettlement Program. Now retired, Silverman's long career made it possible for international victims of war, violence and terrorism to make new lives in the United States.

College of Education
June 11, 8:30 a.m.
Rosemont Theatre
5400 N. River Road, Rosemont

As a longtime National Public Radio education correspondent, Claudio Sanchez has shared the stories of individuals, schools and educational reforms with a nationwide audience for over 25 years. Sanchez grew up in Nogales, Mexico - a town straddling the border of Arizona and Mexico - where he attended schools on both sides for the border. His dreams were realized when he received a scholarship to Northern Arizona University to study journalism and discovered his love for radio. Sanchez's career with NPR began in 1989 on the education beat. His reports, which create a powerful image of the educational disparities facing America, air regularly on NPR affiliate shows such as "Morning Edition," "All Things Considered" and "Weekend Edition."

School of Music and The Theatre School
(Combined ceremony)
June 11, noon
Rosemont Theatre
5400 N. River Road, Rosemont

Born and raised in Chicago, Todd London is one of the country's leading proponents for the future of American theatre. In 18 years as artistic director of the New Dramatists, the nation's oldest center for support of playwrights, he worked closely with hundreds of leading playwrights to develop their talents and encourage their careers. Today, he nurtures fresh talent and brings new voices to the stage through his leadership at the University of Washington's School of Drama.

School for New Learning
June 11, 3 p.m.
Rosemont Theatre
5400 N. River Road, Rosemont

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and actress Lila Downs blends contemporary and traditional Latin music to create her own unique style. Her first album, released in 1994, was a compilation of traditional Mexican stories and folklore interwoven with Downs' distinctive musical interpretation. In subsequent albums - 11 total - she continued to share her culture's history and indigenous traditions while also drawing from her experiences of hardship in Mexico and the U.S. to shed light on current issues facing Mexicans. Downs uses her music as a vehicle to depict ballads of love and compositions of social injustice.

College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the College of Science and Health
(Combined ceremony)
June 12, 8 a.m.
Allstate Arena
6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont

A graduate of DePaul University, Marty Castro has spent much of his career advocating for social justice both locally and nationally. Appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in January of 2011, President Barack Obama elevated Castro two months later to the position of chairperson, making him the first Latino to head the agency since its creation in 1957. He also serves as the president and chief executive officer of Castro Synergies, LLC, which provides strategic consulting services to corporations, entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations that seek to have a positive social impact on diverse communities. In 2009, Castro was appointed by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to chair the Illinois Human Rights Commission, the state's public body that arbitrates complaints of civil rights violations in housing, employment, public accommodations and financial credit.

College of Communication and the College of Computing and Digital Media
(Combined ceremony)
June 12, 12:30 p.m.
Allstate Arena
6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont

A Chicago native and DePaul Double Demon, Kerrie Holley has contributed significantly to the technology landscape over the past three decades. In recognition of Holley's groundbreaking work in service-oriented architecture software engineering at IBM, he was appointed an IBM Fellow - the highest technical leadership position bestowed by the technology giant. He currently serves as the vice president and chief technology officer at Cisco overseeing the areas of software platforms, data and analytics and automation platforms. He also holds several technology patents and is the author of two books.

Driehaus College of Business
June 12, 4:30 p.m.
Allstate Arena
6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont

As executive vice president and chief financial officer of The Coca-Cola Company, Kathy Waller is a respected global leader in finance with a passion for sharing her success. She rose from senior accountant to CFO over the course of almost 30 years at the world's largest beverage manufacturer. Through her leadership on numerous boards and her roles at Coca-Cola, she has dedicated herself not only to her work, but to a career of bettering the business world for both businesses and minorities.