SESP Welcomes 2018 Convocation Speakers

SESP Welcomes 2018 Convocation Speakers

Janice JacksonJanice Jackson, speaking at the grand opening of Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools.

Janice Jackson, CEO of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Subra Suresh, president of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, will deliver keynote speeches during the 2018 School of Education and Social Policy Convocation ceremonies.

Jackson, a lifelong educator, will speak during the undergraduate gathering at 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 22, at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St. on Northwestern University's Evanston campus.

Suresh, who will receive a 2018 Northwestern University Honorary Degree, is the former director of the National Science Foundation. He will address graduate students during the master’s and PhD candidates' ceremony earlier in the day at 2 p.m., also at Cahn Auditorium.

The Class of 2018 features 220 expected graduates, including 111 undergraduates, 106 master's, and three PhD candidates. Graduating seniors Joy Holden and Abbey Kutlas are the 2018 Convocation co-chairs.

In addition to speeches by Jackson, Suresh, and a SESP senior representing the Class of 2018, the ceremonies feature the annual SESP Alumni Leadership Award, given to a graduating undergraduate student and graduate student for exceptional leadership in SESP, at Northwestern, and beyond.

A reception for SESP graduates and their families follows each Convocation ceremony in the sorority quad tent adjacent to Cahn Auditorium.

Janice Jackson

Jackson, born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, has been immersed in CPS her entire life. A CPS student from Head Start through 12th grade, she began her teaching career at Chicago’s South Shore High School. Since then, Jackson has risen through the ranks, serving as a principal, a network chief, the chief education officer, and now, as acting chief executive officer for CPS, the third largest school district in the country.

Jackson is responsible for numerous CPS departments, including the Office of Teaching and Learning, which provides high-quality curriculum to engage and empower students, and the Office of College and Career Success, which works to guarantee that all students have the resources they need to be successful in college, career, and life

“No role in CPS better prepares me than being a CPS parent,” she said during a school board meeting. “Know that, in the CEO, you have somebody who has experienced the district and owes all of my success to CPS — but I look at it through the lens of a parent.”

Jackson holds a master’s in leadership and administration and a doctorate in policy studies in urban education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was a member of the University of Chicago’s Network for College Success and is a past board member of the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center. She also was honored by the National Council of Negro Women Chicago as a Woman Making History.

In her spare time, Jackson enjoys spending time with her family, especially her daughter Tori and her stepson, Torrance, Jr.

Subra Suresh

Subra SureshPhoto courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University

Suresh is a scientist, engineer and entrepreneur with decades of leadership in academia, industry, and government. Prior to assuming the presidency at Nanyang Technological University, he served as president of Carnegie Mellon University, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), and dean of the School of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a faculty member for two decades.

Suresh researches the properties of engineered and biological materials and their connections to human diseases. As NSF director, he established the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program aimed at translating research discoveries into industrial practice. Suresh also helped establish the Global Research Council and the Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide program.

Born in India, Suresh graduated from high school at 15 and received his undergraduate degree in first class with distinction in technology from the Indian Institute of Technology. He received a master's degree from Iowa State University and completed his doctorate in mechanical engineering from MIT in just two years.

Suresh is married to Mary Delmar Suresh, a public health consultant. They have two daughters, Nina, a medical doctor, and Meera, a global health professional at a non-profit organization in the U.S.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 6/8/18