ralston-hall

Former State Senator Jackie Speier to Address Students at 155th Graduation Ceremony May 5

Belmont, CA, April 26, 2007 — Former State Senator, Jackie Speier, will speak to approximately 450 graduating students from Notre Dame de Namur University’s four schools on Saturday, May 5.

The University’s 155th commencement ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Koret Field located on Ralston Avenue next to the NDNU Theatre. Approximately 5,000 family members and friends of graduates are expected to attend the outdoor ceremony. Speier’s keynote speech, “What Would You Do If You Knew You Wouldn’t Fail?” will reflect upon her own life and challenge students to strive for their personal best.

Speier’s dedication and passion as a public servant began almost 30 years ago while working as a young congressional staff person for Congressman Leo Ryan. She nearly lost her life in an attempt to uncover facts regarding the Reverend Jim Jones and his People’s Temple followers in Guyana. More than 900 people died that day including Congressman Ryan. Speier was shot five times and left to die. She has said that while waiting nearly 22 hours for help to arrive she molded her life’s philosophy as well as her work, social and civic engagement ethic.

Speier was termed out of the California State Senate in 2006. She served as assistant president pro tempore of the Senate during her last term. During the same year, she ran in the Democratic primary for California’s Lieutenant Governor and lost by 3 percent of the vote to insurance commissioner John Garamendi.

“The mission of NDNU encompasses promoting a collaborative community, social justice, and global peace,” said NDNU President Dr. John Oblak. “That’s why we are delighted and honored to have former state senator Jackie Speier, who embodies leadership, passion, and courage, as our commencement speaker.

“She has set an unprecedented record of over 300 pieces of legislation signed into law by both Democratic and Republican Governors and authored ground-breaking legislation in privacy and consumer protection, child safety, child support enforcement, and healthcare,” continued Oblak. “She will surely inspire our students to follow in her footsteps.”

The mother of two, Jackson, age 16, and Stephanie Sierra, age 12, currently enjoys her position as the President of California's Elected and Appointed Women’s Association. She has also recently co-authored a book, This Is Not the Life I Ordered: 50 Ways to Keep Your Head Above Water When Life’s Dragging You Down.

To help minimize traffic, guests will park at Oracle Corporation in Redwood Shores and be shuttled by bus to campus. The University has been working closely with the Belmont Police Department to identify systems for controlling traffic and parking situations in the neighborhoods surrounding the campus. For more information regarding NDNU’s commencement exercises, call NDNU’s Director of Communications, Richard Rossi at (650) 508-3585.