UIC commencement speakers to address graduates on Dec. 14

A Chicago businesswoman and a Major League Baseball All-Star will deliver commencement addresses at two ceremonies on Dec. 14 at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

A ceremony for the Graduate College will take place at 9 a.m. and an undergraduate ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. at the Credit Union 1 Arena (formerly known as the UIC Pavilion), 525 S. Racine Ave.

Andrea Zopp will speak to graduate students and Curtis Granderson will speak to undergraduate students receiving degrees in Applied Health Sciences; Architecture, Design and the Arts; Business Administration; Education; Engineering; Liberal Arts and Sciences; Nursing; Public Health, as well as Urban Planning and Public Affairs. More than 1,300 graduate students and 1,600 undergraduate students are eligible to participate in the graduation ceremonies.

Andrea Zopp, President and CEO World Business Chicago. Commencement release
Andrea Zopp

Andrea Zopp is president and CEO of World Business Chicago, where she leads the organization’s mission of inclusive economic growth, supporting businesses and promoting Chicago as a leading global city. Most recently, she served as deputy mayor, chief neighborhood development officer for the City of Chicago.

Zopp has dedicated her career to being a force of change. She has championed job creation, access to education, corporate responsibility and economic development initiatives in underserved communities. She served in the United States Attorney’s Office and was the first woman and African American to serve as the first assistant in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. In these roles, she fought to keep neighborhoods safe by taking on illegal guns, violent crime and gangs, worked to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Zopp is a successful businesswoman and has held executive leadership positions at several Fortune 500 companies, including Sara Lee, Sears Holdings and Exelon. As the former president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, she led the nationally recognized organization’s focus on expanding economic opportunity in underserved communities, helping youth and young adults achieve academic and career success, and advocacy for social justice.

Zopp has held multiple civic and business appointments. She was appointed to the Chicago Board of Education by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel and to the Cook County Health and Hospital System Board by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. She also served on the board of the Urban Partnership Bank and was appointed by Emanuel to serve on the Chicago Police Board in November 2017 and by Gov. J.B. Pritzker as the chair of Chicago State University’s Board of Trustees. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Law School.

Curtis Granderson portrait, press release
Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson is a Major League Baseball outfielder and philanthropist from Chicago who is committed to improving the lives of children and families across the country. Over the past 16 years, Granderson has introduced the game of baseball to more than 1 million youths in underserved communities through his organization, the Grand Kids Foundation. Grand Kids aims to promote positive youth development through education, fitness and nutrition. The organization’s annual food insecurity campaign, Grand Giving, has helped supply more than 30 million meals to families in need.

In 2014, the UIC alumnus personally donated $5 million to develop Curtis Granderson Stadium at UIC, the largest one-time gift from a professional athlete back to their alma mater in history, according to Sports Illustrated. Thousands of children throughout the Chicago community utilize the state-of-the-art facility on an annual basis via a community organization Granderson founded, the Chicago Baseball & Educational Academy. Granderson received his bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from the UIC College of Business Administration in 2003.

Granderson is a three-time All-Star, four-time Marvin Miller Man of the Year, and winner of the Silver Slugger and Roberto Clemente awards.

Joining the newest graduates will be 70 “Golden Graduates,” who will return to the UIC campus to mark the 50th anniversary of their graduation in 1969. The program allows alumni to be united on a special day filled with UIC pride.

To accommodate guests who cannot attend, UIC will stream both commencements.

Click here for complete details about fall commencement at UIC.

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