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"We are delighted to welcome
Valerie Jarrett to
Wellesley as our 2013 Commencement speaker," said president
H. Kim Bottomly. "As a successful and influential leader in public service, Ms. Jarrett is a wonderful selection by our students because she exemplifies so well
Wellesley's strength in preparing women for purposeful leadership. "
Unlike many other colleges and universities,
Wellesley's commencement speaker selection process is student-driven.
According to students, Jarrett is an ideal choice to address graduates of a leading liberal arts institution known for its remarkable track record of introducing women's voices into traditionally male-dominated spheres of power. Senior Class Co-Presidents
Vivian Hu '13 of
Bellaire, Texas and
Anoush Youssoufian '13 of
Boston, Mass. said, "We are incredibly excited to host
Valerie Jarrett as our commencement speaker this year. As one of the most influential leaders of our time, she is the embodiment of
Wellesley's core ideals of women who will make a difference. She is at the pinnacle of her career and is the epitome of a go-getter. She embodies what we believe our class can achieve with the advantage of our
The Other Power in the West Wing," by
The New York Times, Jarrett is widely considered to be one of the most powerful people in the
Washington. She is also
an outspoken advocate for women. When Jarrett spoke at a
February 2012 event aimed at increasing women's political participation, she said, "My parents raised me to believe that if I worked hard and I focused on my goals, there were no limits to what I could accomplish. My responsibility as the Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls is to help ensure that all women and girls have that same opportunity."
Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Jarrett was Chief Executive Officer of The Habitat Company. She also served as Co-Chair of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, and Senior Advisor to Obama's presidential campaign.