Former Undersecretary of the Treasury to Speak at CMC Commencement

Brainard, the former under secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of International Affairs, will be the speaker at Claremont McKenna College’s commencement ceremony on May 17.  

CMC President Hiram Chodosh had the final say on the commencement speaker, choosing based on the recommendation of a committee composed of trustees, students, and faculty members, according to Max Benavidez, the associate vice president for public affairs and communications. 

“I’m very happy with the choice of Lael Brainard as CMC’s commencement speaker this year,” Hillary Lundberg CM ’14 said. “Brainard’s career has combined the worlds of diplomacy, economics, and government in a manner that I think fits perfectly with the school’s recent emphasis on interdisciplinary learning.”

The choice of Brainard breaks with the trend of alumni, parents, or prominent donors speaking at CMC’s commencements. 

“While I certainly enjoy hearing from alumni, parents, and friends of the college, I am looking forward to the change of pace and fresh perspective at this year’s commencement,” Lundberg said.

Other students applauded the choice of a woman to deliver the keynote speech. The last time CMC had a female commencement speaker was in 2005, when the address was delivered by former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman.

“I am very happy to see that CMC has picked a woman as our commencement speaker because it is one more step in the right direction away from a ‘macho’ campus atmosphere,” Kendyl Klein CM ’14 said. 

Brainard was appointed to her position in the Treasury in 2010
by U.S. President Barack Obama, but resigned last November before being nominated
to the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. She has been a key player in international politics in
recent years, helping to negotiate economic reforms in China and resolve the
debt crisis in Europe. 

“CMC prides itself on teaching students how to be leaders in a globalized
world, and Dr. Brainard has certainly shown leadership on the global stage,” William Mitchell CM ’14 said. “She’s blazed the trail that many CMCers hope to

Brainard will be delivering her speech at the college’s 67th
annual commencement ceremony. 

According to Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College President Gavin Landgraf CM ’14, as CMC students prepare for the final weeks of school, seniors are looking
forward to the ceremony.

“Graduation day will bring a
variety of emotions with it: joy, nostalgia, relief, excitement,
apprehensiveness, satisfaction,” Landgraf said. “But most of all, I think the class of 2014 will be feeling grateful: to our families, to our professors, and
to this incredible institution that is Claremont McKenna College.” 

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