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2014 Commencement:


  • May 9, 2014 - 7:00 p.m. - Baccalaureate (The Barbara Hodel Center), followed by a reception  
  • May 10, 2014 - 11:00 a.m. - Commencement (The Barbara Hodel Center)

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Kay Coles James at the 2013 Newsmakers Interview Series

Commencement Speaker: Kay Coles James

Mrs. Kay Coles James has an extensive background in nearly every sector of America’s economy. She has worked at the local, state, and federal levels of government and has served dozens of organizations in the corporate, nonprofit, and academic arenas. As President Bush's principal advisor in matters of personnel administration for the 1.8 million members of the federal civil service, Mrs. James led a department of 3,600 employees with responsibility for all personnel practices and programs, including stewardship of over $650 billion in federal retirement, health, life, and long-term care insurance assets.
Mrs. James serves on the boards of The Salvation Army, The Heritage Foundation, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Mrs. James has held a variety of roles in the public and private sectors. She served as a Senior Fellow and Director of The Citizenship Project at the Heritage Foundation, Dean of the School of Government at Regent University, and Secretary of Health and Human Resources for former Virginia Governor George Allen. While there, she designed and implemented Virginia's landmark welfare reform initiative for fourteen state agencies and over 19,000 employees. Before serving in the Allen Administration, Mrs. James was Senior Vice President of the Family Research Council.

Today, Mrs. James is the President and Founder of The Gloucester Institute, an organization which trains and nurtures leaders in the African American community. The Gloucester Institute is committed to providing an intellectually safe environment where ideas can be discussed and transformed into practical solutions that produce results.

A graduate of Hampton University, Mrs. James is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, most recently receiving a Doctor of Laws from Pepperdine University, and awards including the University of Virginia's Publius Award for Public Service, and the Spirit of Democracy Award for Public Policy Leadership from the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. As a commentator and lecturer, Mrs. James has appeared on every network morning show and several national news and talk programs. She is the author of three books: her award winning 1993 autobiography Never Forget, Transforming America: From the Inside Out (1995), and a third book on the subject of marriage (2001).

Most importantly, Kay Coles James is the wife of Charles James, Sr. and the proud mother of three grown children and five grandchildren.


Past commencements:

2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009