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December 6, 2018

Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Obama, to keynote regional MLK event at SVSU

Jarrett, ValerieSaginaw Valley State University will welcome Valerie Jarrett, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, to deliver the keynote address during the 10th annual Great Lakes Bay Regional Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at SVSU.

Jarrett will deliver her address Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. The event is free and open to the public.

Jarrett served as Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement from 2009-2017. She first entered the White House with a diverse and unique background, having served in the private and public sector. Jarrett received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in 1978 and her law degree from the University of Michigan in 1981. She then went on to serve as the chief executive officer of The Habitat Company in Chicago, chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, commissioner of Planning and Development, and deputy chief of staff for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Throughout her time at the White House, Jarrett worked tirelessly to assemble elected officials, business and community leaders, and diverse groups of advocates behind efforts to strengthen and improve the lives of the American people.

Jarrett helped President Obama develop a broad coalition of partners to execute a vigorous agenda that campaigned to end sexual assault and to empower working families and promote early childhood education. She currently serves as a distinguished senior fellow at the University of Chicago Law School.

Jarrett joins a prestigious list of keynote speakers featured during the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Celebration at SVSU. Most recently, Karen Carter, the chief inclusion officer for The Dow Chemical Company, spoke in 2018. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was the 2017 keynote speaker.

In addition to Jarrett's keynote address, the program will include the presentation of regional scholarship awards by the Bay Area, Midland Area and Saginaw community foundations to high school seniors who have embodied Martin Luther King's ideals.

Officials also will announce the winners of the Drum Major Award at the event, which recognizes people whose community involvement in the Great Lakes Bay Region serves to advance King's vision.

The event is sponsored in part by the Bay Area, Midland Area and Saginaw community foundations; Dow; Garber Automotive; Nexteer Automotive; UAW Region 1-D; local chapters of the NAACP; Delta College; SVSU and many others. A full list of sponsors is available online at

Admission to the event is free of charge, but tickets are required. Tickets are available online at

For more information about the event, please contact SVSU's Office of Diversity Programs at (989) 964-4068.