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U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor to Speak at 45th Annual Commencement

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Article by: Laura Inlow, linlow@lc.edu

GODFREY –  U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher P. Lu will address a record crowd celebrating Lewis and Clark Community College’s Class of 2016 at the 45th Annual Commencement ceremony May 18.

“This will be our largest ceremony ever,” Vice President of Enrollment Kent Scheffel said. “We will have approximately 270 students taking part in Commencement, and roughly 1,000 will be earning degrees or certificates.”

Lu, who was sworn into office in April 2014, serves as the chief operating officer of the 17,000-employee U.S. Department of Labor. From 2009-2013, he served as the White House cabinet secretary and assistant to President Barack Obama, making him the primary liaison to the federal departments and agencies helping to coordinate policy and communications strategy.

“I can think of no one who has demonstrated a greater commitment to the future of community college graduates than our Commencement speaker, Deputy Secretary Christopher Lu,” said L&C President Dale Chapman. “As Deputy Secretary for the Department of Labor, he gives vision to major workforce programs at Lewis and Clark and other community colleges throughout the nation, which are currently changing the lives of thousands of deserving students.”

During his career in public service, Lu has worked in all three branches of the federal government.

As one of the highest-ranking Asian Americans in the Obama Administration, Lu was also the co-chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Prior to his service in the White House, Lu worked for then-Senator Obama, first as the legislative director, and then as the acting chief of staff. After the 2008 Presidential election, Lu was the executive director of the Presidential transition planning efforts.

Lu's government experience includes eight years working for Rep. Henry Waxman as the deputy chief counsel of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and serving as a law clerk for Judge Robert E. Cowen on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He began his legal career as a litigation attorney at Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C.

In addition to his government service, Lu has been a fellow at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy, the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, and the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. He is also the co-editor of the book, “Triumphs and Tragedies of the Modern Congress.”

Lu is a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University and cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, and the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from MacMurray College.

“It’s truly an honor for me to address the Lewis and Clark graduates and share some personal insights on the world they’re about to enter,” Lu said.

The ceremony will take place at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 18, in the Hatheway Cultural Center’s Ann Whitney Olin Theatre on Lewis and Clark’s Godfrey Campus.

Doors of the Ann Whitney Olin Theatre will open at 6 p.m. Additional seating will be provided in The Commons, where the ceremony will be broadcast live on two large screens.