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University announces 2021 commencement speakers


Academic flags
The 2021 online commencement ceremonies will not only highlight each graduate, but also feature Emmy-winning WGN reporter Lourdes Duarte, a Cargill executive and college specific student speakers. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

To help the Class of 2021 celebrate their graduation and kickstart the next phase of their lives, Emmy-winning WGN reporter Lourdes Duarte will serve as alumni inductor at this year's June 12 ceremonies. 
Duarte, the co-anchor of WGN News at 4 p.m. and host of WGN's “Adelante Chicago,
Lourdes Duarte is a co-anchor on WGN News and host of WGN's "Adelante Chicago." (Image courtesy of Lourdes Duarte)

Duarte, the co-anchor of WGN News at 4 p.m. and host of WGN's “Adelante Chicago," began her journalism career as a reporter for Telemundo Chicago. She went on to work in news markets throughout the country including Miami, Indianapolis and Detroit. While in Indianapolis she launched, produced and hosted the public affairs show, “Hoy en Dia," which won an Emmy for its impact on the Latino community.

She is a DePaul College of Communication graduate. In 2019, the college's Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence awarded her its Distinguished Alumna Award.

College of Law

On May 22, the College of Law's online ceremony will feature Anna Richo as its commencement speaker. Richo is the general counsel, chief compliance officer and corporate secretary at Cargill, a global food corporation with more than 155,000 employees in 70 countries. In addition to her role at Cargill, she is a member of DePaul's Board of Trustees and a DePaul College of Law alumna. 

The ceremony also will include Karina Ayala-Bermejo, President & CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino, as the alumni inductor.

Student speakers

In addition to speeches from DePaul President A. Gabriel Esteban, Interim Provost Salma Ghanem, the college's dean and notable guests, each ceremony will include the following student speakers:

Kendall Palmer, College of Communication
Massimo Marco Boffa, College of Computing and Digital Media
Juan Manuel Sandoval, College of Education     
Kizuwanda Wyatt, College of Law
Gisselle Cervantes, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Maya Fitzgerald, College of Science and Health   
Sebastian Moreno, Driehaus College of Business
Jennifer Salazar, Kellstadt Graduate School of Business 
Sabrina Lowery, School of Continuing and Professional Studies  
Jeffrey Todd Parrott, The Theatre School
Corina Santos, violin performance, School of Music

For a list of each college's debut time, visit the commencement website. The Class of 2021, their family and friends, as well as the entire DePaul community, can view and share the ceremonies through YouTube and the DePaul commencement website. Videos will be available to watch and re-watch through May 2022.

For questions, contact If graduates have not already done so, they should register for Gr​aduation Celebration, set for May 19 - 28, for commencement​ experiences on the Lincoln Park Campus.