2020 commencement speaker announced

February 19, 2020

This year the Ford School is honored to welcome Janet Murguía, President and CEO of UnidosUS, as the keynote speaker at the 2020 commencement for our graduating BA, MPP, MPA, and PhD students.

Founded in 1968, UnidosUS—formerly the National Council of La Raza—is the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. Since 2005, Murguía has served as President and CEO of UnidosUS, working to amplify the voice of the Latino community on issues such as education, healthcare, workforce development, immigration, civil rights, and the economy. In her role as UnidosUS’ spokesperson, she has appeared on ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, NBC’s Today, CNN’s Larry King Live, PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°, and CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight. 

Murguía has been recognized on numerous occasions for her work and leadership, including being selected as Poder magazine’s “The Poderosos 100” (2007), one of Washingtonian magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women in Washington” (2006), the Hispanic Business Magazine’s “100 Top Latinas” (2004), and as one of the NonProfit Times’ “Power and Influence Top 50” leaders (2006). In 2005, she received the University of Kansas (KU) Law Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus/na Award. 

Murguía is currently a Board member of Achieve, an independent and nonpartisan nonprofit education reform organization, and the Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility. She also serves as a member of Diversity Advisory Councils for Bank of America, Charter Communications, Comcast/NBC Universal, and Wells Fargo.

Prior to leading UnidosUS, Murguía made her mark in public service at the White House, serving as deputy assistant to President Clinton and deputy director of legislative affairs, providing strategic and legislative advice to the president on key issues. She then served as deputy campaign manager and director of constituency outreach for the Gore/Lieberman presidential campaign. In 2001, Murguía joined the University of Kansas as executive vice chancellor for university relations, overseeing KU’s internal and external relations with the public, including governmental and public affairs. 

Commencement ceremonies will be held on Saturday, May 2, 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Rackham Auditorium and available to view via livestream.