Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan to Deliver Keynote at CA Commencement

The first woman and first Asian-American to be elected Mayor of Oakland shares the university’s commitment to servant leadership

Mayor Jean Quan

SACRAMENTO, CA – Union Institute & University (UI&U), today announced that the Honorable Mayor Jean Quan, the first woman and first Asian-American to be elected mayor of Oakland, will deliver the keynote address for the UI&U’s California Commencement on July 24 at the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple in Sacramento. The commencement honors new graduates from the university’s Sacramento and Los Angeles Centers who have earned undergraduate degrees from the non-profit, private university that, since 1964, has provided innovative higher education opportunities for adults.

The commencement also marks the inauguration of the Mark Dunakin Award, to be presented at the California Commencement each year to a law enforcement officer and graduate of the university’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Management program. The award, given to an officer who represents the best in his or her field, was established in honor of Mark Dunakin, a sergeant with the Oakland Police Department and graduate of the Sacramento Academic Center’s CJM program, who was killed in the line of duty in Oakland on March 21, 2009.

“As an advocate for public safety and higher education in Oakland and beyond, Mayor Quan’s participation at our California commencement is a testament to Sergeant Dunakin and the valuable work our students and alumni in California do every day to uplift and improve their neighborhoods and to keep residents safe,” said Dr. Roger H. Sublett, president of Union Institute & University. “Mayor Quan shares Union’s commitment to empowering lives and communities. We are deeply honored that she will serve as our commencement speaker.”

Mayor Quan was elected to her current position after serving for eight years and two terms on Oakland's City Council. Initially motivated into public service in 1989 as a parent activist, fighting for the music and art programs in her children's schools, she became a diligent member of the Oakland School Board and was nationally recognized as an advocate for urban education for her work in creating policies to raise graduation standards, increasing computer literacy, and expanding career preparation and internship opportunities for high school students.

Throughout her public service career, Mayor Quan has championed several public safety initiatives. As a city council member she expanded neighborhood crime prevention programs, CORE (Citizens Organized to Respond to Emergencies) training, and added new services for sexually exploited minors and victims of domestic violence. “I believe that crime is integrally linked to the future of our children and the hope in our city,” said Mayor Quan in her inauguration speech. “If our children have no hope, we’re going to continue to have crime.”

As an Oakland School Board member, Mayor Quan was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Title 1 Committee, representing large urban schools. She also served on the Executive Committee of the Council of Great City Schools Executive Committee. As a National Kellogg Foundation Fellow, she traveled to cities throughout the United States and learned how cities partnered with their school districts to improve education.

She is the past chair of the Asian American Municipal Officials and currently a member of the US Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, Central City Caucus, Big 10 California Cities, Emerald Cities (green jobs/technology) and chair of the Local Government Commission focused on smart growth planning policy.

Union Institute & University’s California Commencement will begin at 11 a.m., July 24, at the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple, 6151 H Street, in Sacramento. For more information contact Nicole Hamilton, PR Manager, at, or at 513-487-1194.


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