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DePaul University announces commencement speakers, honorary degree recipients

Class of 2024 will celebrate at June ceremonies

​​​​​An image of the 2024 commencement speakers

(Top L-R): David Hale, Glennette Tilley Turner and Dr. Inger Burnett-Zeigler. (Bottom L-R): Kate Crawford, Douglas Crocker and Juan Salgado. (Composite by Muhammad Ahmed, photos courtesy of commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients.)

CHICAGO — Experts in technology, social justice and more have been chosen to speak and receive honorary degrees at DePaul University’s upcoming commencement ceremonies. ​​

Six ceremonies will take place June 15 and 16 at Wintrust Arena. Each event will also be available to view online via livestream. For additional details about individual ceremonies, please visit the commencement website at ​​

​​Saturday, June 15

​Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media​

8 a.m., Wintrust Arena

Kate Crawford will speak and receive an honorary degree during the ceremony. Crawford is a leading scholar of the social impacts of artificial intelligence. She is a professor at USC Annenberg, a senior principal researcher at Microsoft Research, and the inaugural chair of AI and Justice at one of Europe's leading universities, the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. She has devoted the past 20 years of her career studying the impacts of AI and data systems and is the author of the award-winning book “Atlas of AI.” In addition to her research, Crawford also makes large-scale artworks and visual investigations, and her “Anatomy of an AI System” is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the V&A Museum in London. Crawford was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in AI” for 2023.

​​​College of Communication and College of Education

1 p.m., Wintrust Arena

Juan Salgado is a visionary community leader and the chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago. He will speak and receive an honorary degree at the ceremony. Salgado oversees a vast educational network that serves more than 60,000 students, 75% of whom are Black and Latinx. Under his leadership, student graduation rates have risen to the highest level on record for City Colleges. For 16 years, Salgado served as CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino, where he empowered residents of Chicago’s Southwest Side. He has received local and national recognition for his work, including being named a 2015 MacArthur Fellow. 

​​College of Science and Health, The Theatre School and School of Music 

​6 p.m., Wintrust Arena

Inger Burnett-Zeigler is a nationally recognized expert and leader in mental health care and advocacy for marginalized populations. She will speak and receive an honorary degree at the ceremony. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Her research is focused on the role that structural and social determinants play in disparities in mental illness and treatment and developing culturally tailored interventions that meet the mental health needs of the most under-resourced and underserved communities. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and numerous foundations. In addition to her research, Burnett-Zeigler provides clinical care to patients working through stress, depression and trauma. She is a staunch proponent of eliminating mental illness stigma and normalizing participation in mental health treatment. Burnett-Zeigler is the author of “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen: The Emotional Lives of Black Women” and is a regular contributor to the public discourse on mental health. She is actively involved in the community and serves on several nonprofit boards including Thresholds and the African American Legacy of the Chicago Community Trust.    

​Sunday, June 16

​​​Driehaus College of Business

8 a.m., Wintrust Arena

David Hale is a dedicated philanthropist, founder and former president of Scale-Tronix, Inc., a medical manufacturer of patient scales and weighing systems. He will receive an honorary degree at the ceremony. Through generous support of the university, Hale created the Hale Sustainability Conference at DePaul’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Center. The conference provides career development opportunities to students interested in sustainability and further connects the DePaul sustainability community with the larger Chicago ecosystem. 

​​Kellstadt Graduate School of Business​

1 p.m., Wintrust Arena​

Douglas Crocker will speak and receive an honorary degree during the ceremony. Crocker is the former President and CEO of Chicago-based Equity Residential, which he formed and took public in 1993. The company grew quickly, was added to the S&P 500 and is one of the nation's largest apartment real estate investment trusts. He has over 60 years of real estate experience and is a former trustee of DePaul University and a founding supporter of the Driehaus College of Business Real Estate Center. Crocker has received numerous awards including the Urban Land Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, the NAREIT Edward Linde Industry Award and​ the American Jewish Committee - National Human Relations Award.

​​College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the School of Continuing and Professional Studies

6 p.m., Wintrust Arena

Glennette Tilley Turner will receive an honorary degree during the combined ceremony. A renowned author and educator, Turner is widely regarded as the leading authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois. Turner has written 12 books for children and thoroughly researched historical texts for adults. She served as an advisor to the National Parks Service, has spoken widely, and been consultant to historical organizations planning educational opportunities throughout Illinois. She has been honored throughout her career for her achievements in research and writing, including the Illinois State Historical Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2023.


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