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U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao: 2008 Commencement Speaker

Posted by Deborah.Walker on Friday May 2, 2008


On Monday, May 19, Elaine L. Chao will be the 2008 Commencement speaker for Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary. The 2:00 p.m. ceremony will be held at the Westchester County Center located at 198 Central Avenue in White Plains, NY.


Elaine L. Chao is the 24th United States Secretary of Labor and the first Asian American woman in U.S. history to serve in a President's Cabinet.  She came to America from Asia at the age of eight, speaking no English.  Today, she is one of the longest serving Secretaries of Labor and the only remaining member of the President’s original Cabinet in 2001.


Since her confirmation by the United States Senate on January 29, 2001, Secretary Chao has been dedicated to carrying out the Department's mission of promoting and protecting the health, safety, retirement security, and competitiveness of the nation's workforce.


Secretary Chao's career has spanned the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Her government service includes serving as Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, Deputy Maritime Administrator in the U.S. Department of Transportation and White House Fellow. 


As Director of the Peace Corps, she established the first Peace Corps programs in the Baltic nations and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.  As President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of America, she restored public trust and confidence in one of the nation's largest institutions of private charitable giving after it was tarnished by mismanagement and financial abuse. She has also worked in the private sector as a banker with Citigroup and Bank of America.  Prior to her nomination as Secretary, she was a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.


Secretary Chao received her M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and her undergraduate degree in economics from Mount Holyoke College.  She is the recipient of 30 honorary doctoral degrees.  She is married to the Republican leader of the U.S. Senate, the Honorable Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.


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