April 12, 2013
Valerie B. Jarrett
, Senior Advisor to President
and Chair of the
White House Council on Women and Girls
, will address the some 600 members of the Class of 2013 and an international audience of their family and friends at
Wellesley College's 135th Commencement Exercises
Friday, May 31
"We are delighted to welcome
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
's strength in preparing women for purposeful leadership. "
Unlike many other colleges and universities,
'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
said, "We are incredibly excited to host
as our commencement speaker this year. As one of the most influential leaders of our time, she is the embodiment of
'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
The New York Times
, Jarrett is widely considered to be one of the most powerful people in the
. She is also
an outspoken advocate
for women. When Jarrett spoke at a
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.