Civil rights activist Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. will deliver Syracuse University's 2017 Commencement Address

In 1992, Jordan served as chairman of then-US President Bill Clinton's transition team. He was also an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

Civil rights activist and businessman Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. will give Syracuse University's 2017 Commencement address at the ceremony on May 14 in the Carrier Dome, SU announced Wednesday.

Jordan serves as a managing director of financial advisory firm Lazard Frères & Co. LLC in New York. In 1992, Jordan served as chairman of then-US President Bill Clinton's transition team. He has held several presidential appointments, including the President’s Advisory Committee for the Points of Light Initiative Foundation and the Advisory Council on Social Security.

“I’m grateful to Syracuse University for this honor," Jordan said in a statement. "It has been 60 years since I graduated from college, and I’m eager to share with the Class of 2017 and the Syracuse community my thoughts on, and the need for, our shared fight for justice."

Jordan earned a bachelor's degree from DePauw University in 1957 and a J.D. from Harvard University Law School in 1960. According to the press release, Jordan actively participated in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s as a young attorney practicing in Arkansas and Georgia. He served as Georgia field director for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and director of the Voter Education Project of the Southern Regional Council. He later served as president and CEO of the National Urban League and executive director of the United Negro College Fund.

“Vernon Jordan has been a leading American civil rights leader and public policy advisor for more than 50 years,” Chancellor Kent Syverud said in a statement. “Our graduates will benefit from hearing Mr. Jordan’s insights and perspective on the global society they are about to enter. His vast experience and success in government and business, combined with his commitment to a civil and just society, will inspire our students as they set off to chart their own course in the world.”

Photo: SU News

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