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City Colleges of Chicago Announces Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg as 2014 Commencement Speaker

4/8/2014 12:00 PM

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer and author of the New York Times bestseller Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead will deliver the commencement address at the City Colleges of Chicago graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 3rd at 1 p.m. at the UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine, Chicago, IL.  Prior to the ceremony, Sandberg will meet with a small group of graduates to learn how they have overcome personal challenges and “leaned in” to accomplish their goals.  

“City Colleges’ commencement ceremony is an opportunity to celebrate the academic achievement, perseverance, and growth of our students as they earn a degree that will open countless doors of opportunity for them,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  “As a world-renowned innovator and an icon for empowerment in the work place, Sheryl Sandberg will inspire students and offer advice on how to leverage the skills and knowledge they learned at City Colleges to seize every opportunity and excel in a career and in life.”           

“Sheryl Sandberg’s decision to share her advice on leadership at City Colleges’ graduation is a testament to the increasingly important role community colleges play in our country as providers of quality, affordable higher education, preparing Americans for in-demand careers,” said Chancellor Cheryl Hyman.  “Graduation is a reflection of our students’ hard work and determination, and Ms. Sandberg’s remarks will serve as a reminder to them to continue to set ambitious goals as they move ahead to further college and careers.”           

"I'm thrilled for the opportunity to speak at the City Colleges of Chicago commencement,” said Sandberg.  “Since Chancellor Cheryl Hyman launched the Reinvention initiative in 2010, the number of degrees granted by CCC has nearly doubled and last year, for the first time, over 10,000 graduates completed a course of study.  Chancellor Hyman and I have also spoken about the importance of STEM as not just an important area of study but also as an essential element to nearly every discipline.  I look forward to the opportunity to speak to and congratulate this extraordinary class."           

Prior to serving at Facebook, Sandberg was Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google and served as the chief of staff for the United States Secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton.           

Since Chancellor Hyman launched a Reinvention of City Colleges in 2010 to refocus the institution on both student access and success, City Colleges has nearly doubled its graduation rate and has awarded the highest number of degrees in City Colleges’ history.            

In 2011, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chancellor Hyman launched the College to Careers initiative to ensure City Colleges’ occupational programs are aligned with market demand. College to Careers has enabled faculty and staff to work closely with more than 150 industry leaders and four-year colleges to revamp curricula, consult on facility upgrades, provide teacher-practitioners, and offer students internships and first pass at job interviews. The programs focus on the six core industries expected to create 80 percent of the Chicago region’s living-wage jobs in the next decade: advanced manufacturing, business and professional services, culinary/hospitality, information technology, healthcare, and transportation, distribution and logistics.  More than 1,200 students have found a job or paid internship in a College to Careers field since the program’s launch.            

Through the College to Careers and other City Colleges programs, students learn the skills needed to succeed on the job including soft skills such as working within a team, asserting their opinions to solve problems on the job, and networking effectively.  ​​​​​