Portland State announces Marian Wright Edelman as 2010 Commencement speaker
Author: Kerri Griesbeck, University Communications, 503-725-8794
Posted: May 25, 2010

(Portland, Ore.) May 25, 2010 - Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund and a lifelong advocate for disadvantaged Americans, will deliver the Spring 2010 Commencement address and receive an honorary degree from Portland State University on Sunday, June 13, 2010.

A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, Edelman was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar and she directed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. Her accomplishments also include founding the Washington Research Project and serving as the director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University.

"Through her tireless commitment to social equity and justice, Marian Wright Edelman has improved the lives of countless children," said Wim Wiewel, president of PSU.  "Her message of empowering our nation's youth through education and outreach is a vision we share at Portland State University. We are honored that she has accepted our invitation to deliver the 2010 keynote address to the largest graduating class in Portland State's history."

Portland State's spring commencement ceremonies will take place Sunday, June 13, 2010, at 2 p.m. in Portland's Rose Garden Arena. For additional information, members of the media should contact Kerri Griesbeck in the Office of University Communications at 503-725-8794. Students and families needing additional information should visit

Marian Wright Edelman
Under Marian Wright Edelman's leadership, the Children's Defense Fund has become the nation's strongest advocate for children and families. The Children's Defense Fund's Leave No Child Behind mission is to "ensure every child a healthy start, a head start, a fair start, a safe start, and a moral start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities." Her humanitarian work has been recognized by institutions all over the world. She has received over 100 honorary degrees and many awards during her career, including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings which include: Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change; The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours; Guide My Feet: Meditations and Prayers on Loving and Working for Children; Stand for Children; Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors; Hold My Hand: Prayers for Building a Movement to Leave No Child Behind; I'm Your Child, God: Prayers for Our Children; I can make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children; and The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation.

For more information about Marian Wright Edelman, visit

Portland State University (PSU) serves as a center of opportunity for over 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Located in Portland, Oregon, one of the nation's most livable cities, the University's innovative approach to education combines academic rigor in the classroom with field-based experiences through internships and classroom projects with community partners. The University's 49-acre downtown campus exhibits Portland State's commitment to sustainability with green buildings, while many of the 125 bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees incorporate sustainability into the curriculum. PSU's motto, "Let Knowledge Serve the City," inspires the teaching and research of an accomplished faculty whose work and students span the globe.

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