Wednesday, Sept. 26th - 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. (Doors Open at 4:00 p.m.)

The Day One Keynote Address is the premier event of new student orientation and Welcome Week.

The Keynote aims to bring local, national, and worldly conversations to Harris Public Policy through a dynamic lecture exclusively for the Harris community. The address will challenge you to contemplate your role in complex global and social issues and craft a vision for the future of policy leaders and social change.

The address focuses on the crossroads of leadership, social change, and policy. Incoming students can expect to hear more about Harris’ commitment to providing students with the resources and experience to drive effective social change and policy leadership, how they can enact smarter policy solutions, and personal and professional examples of commitment to rigor, fearlessness, and impact.

This year's keynote speaker will be selected in summer 2018.

2017 Keynote Speaker: Valerie Jarrett

Last year’s Keynote Address featured Valerie Jarrett, the longest serving senior advisor to President Barack Obama.

Valerie Jarrett

Ms. Jarrett worked throughout her tenure at the White House to mobilize elected officials, business and community leaders, and diverse groups of advocates. She led the Obama Administration’s efforts to expand and strengthen access to the middle class, and boost American businesses and our economy. She championed the creation of equality and opportunity for all Americans, and economically and politically empowering women in the United States and around the world. She oversaw the Administration’s advocacy for workplace policies that empower working families, including equal pay, raising the minimum wage, paid leave, paid sick days, workplace flexibility, and affordable childcare, and led the campaigns to reform our criminal justice system, end sexual assault, and reduce gun violence.

Ms. Jarrett has a background in both the public and private sectors. She served as the Chief Executive Officer of The Habitat Company in Chicago, Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, Commissioner of Planning and Development, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. She also served as the director of numerous corporate and not-for-profit boards including Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees, and Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Ms. Jarrett has also received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including TIME’s “100 Most Influential People.”

Jarrett received her B.A. from Stanford University in 1978 and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.