CNN Political Contributor Van Jones To Headline Spring Commencement 2017 At Loyola University New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS – Social justice champion and CNN political contributor Van Jones will soon be making headlines of a different sort as he takes the podium this spring at Loyola University New Orleans Commencement 2017. Jones will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Loyola New Orleans and deliver the commencement speech to more than 750 graduates at commencement, which will be held on May 13 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, at 9:45 a.m.
Later the same day, Fourth Circuit Appellate Judge, the Hon. Madeleine M. Landrieu, J.D. ’87, H ’05 will deliver the law school commencement address at Commencement 2017 for the Loyola University of New Orleans College of Law, also in the Superdome, from 5:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. In February, Loyola announced Landrieu would be the new dean of the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, starting July 2017.
“Van Jones has had a long and meaningful career that has had tremendous impact on issues that affect us all,” said Loyola University President the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D. “At Loyola University New Orleans, we teach our students — and encourage our graduates — to be civic-minded. We ask them to ‘seek what matters most,’ to seek justice for others, and to deploy their skills and talents to help better the world around them. Throughout his lifetime and from the heart, Van Jones has worked to advance and fulfill these values.”
A Yale-educated attorney, Anthony Kapel “Van” Jones is the author of two New York Times bestselling books devoted to environmental and social justice issues: The Green Collar Economy and Rebuild the Dream.
Among his many achievements, Jones has founded and led numerous organizations engaged in social and environmental justice, including:
• The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which promotes criminal justice reform
• Color of Change, which works for racial fairness through its 1 million members
• Rebuild The Dream, a 21st-century "think tank" that champions innovative solutions to fix the U.S. economy and uplift the next generation
• The Dream Corps, which promotes innovative policy solutions and operates three major advocacy initiatives: #YesWeCode, committed to helping train 100,000 low-opportunity youth to become top-level computer programmers; #cut50, which is working to cut the U.S. prison population in half in the next 10 years; and Green for All, which lifts people out of poverty through green job training and job creation
Jones served as President Barack Obama’s special adviser and primary advocate for the Green Jobs Act. Signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007, the Green Jobs Act was the first piece of federal legislation to use the term “green jobs.” During the Obama administration, the legislation resulted in $500 million in national funding for green jobs training. As special adviser to President Obama, beginning in 2009, Jones helped to lead the interagency process that oversaw the multi-billion dollar investment in skills training and jobs development within the environmental and green energy sectors.
Jones has also served as president of Dream Corps, as a distinguished visiting fellow at Princeton University, and as a co-host of CNN’s political debate show “Crossfire.” He is among activists featured in “13th,” a 2016 documentary directed by Ava DuVernay about the U.S. justice system and factors that have resulted in the over-incarceration of minorities and the highest incarceration rate in the world. He has been a visiting fellow in collaborative economics at Presidio Graduate School and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and American Progress Action Fund and is presently a fellow at the MIT Media Lab.
In 2004, the World Economic Forum recognized Jones as a Young Global Leader. In 2008, Fast Company ranked Jones one of the year’s 12 Most Creative Minds on Earth. In 2009, Time magazine named Jones one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, he received the NAACP President’s Award. In 2012, Rolling Stone named him among 12 Leaders Who Get Things Done. In 2013 and 2014, he was named to The Root 100. Jones has also been named to Ebony magazine’s 2013 Power 100 and 2011 Power 150, and in 2008, he was named to one of Essence magazine’s 25 Most Inspiring African Americans. He has been named one of National Priorities Project’s 30th Anniversary Democracy Champions and served as a member of the international Ashoka Fellowship.
In true New Orleans fashion, Loyola will cap off Commencement 2017 with a traditional second- line celebration led by the Kinfolk Brass Band, school reps said.