[CUA Office of Public Affairs]           

 April 19, 2004

                                                                                     Contact: Tom Haederle



U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao to Address Law School Grads


WASHINGTON, D.C. ­–  Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., president, today announced that U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao will be the speaker at the commencement ceremony of Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law, which will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 29, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. More than 270 law students will receive their degrees at the ceremony.


Elaine Chao

Chao, the first Asian-American woman appointed to a President's cabinet in the nation’s history, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Jan. 29, 2001. She is a veteran of government and public service, and served as director of the U.S. Peace Corps before stepping in as president and CEO of the United Way of America after the organization’s reputation was tarnished by mismanagement and financial abuse.


"I am delighted that Secretary Chao has accepted our invitation to address the graduates of Catholic University's Columbus School of Law at their commencement this year,” said Father O’Connell. “Her impressive and distinguished career in public service certainly resonate with our Catholic mission.  She is a strong, compassionate, dedicated professional woman who embodies our values and a commitment to the dignity and worth of every human being.  I truly believe our law school graduates will find her words and her witness a great inspiration for their own lives as they leave CUA and assume the responsibilities of their profession.”


Chao will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the law school commencement ceremony.


“Secretary Chao is a symbol of achievement for professional women everywhere,” said William F. Fox Jr., dean of CUA’s Columbus School of Law. “Her dedication to professional excellence and to public service serve as a model for all of our students and particularly for this year’s graduating class, so many of whom are themselves entering the public sector as they begin their careers as practicing lawyers.”


* Photo of Ms. Chao courtesy of Shawn. T. Moore, U.S. Department of Labor




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