The Honorable Elaine Chao, the 24th U.S. Secretary of Labor and the 18th U.S. Secretary of Transportation, will address the graduating class of 2023 at Wilson College’s 153rd annual commencement ceremony Sunday, May 14.
Secretary Chao is the first Asian American woman appointed to the Cabinet of the United States and is the longest-serving Cabinet member since World War II, having served under two Presidents. She was born in Taiwan, came to this country at the age of eight, and became a U.S. citizen at the age of nineteen. She earned a bachelor’s in economics from Mount Holyoke College and an MBA from Harvard Business School and has received 37 honorary doctorate degrees.
“It is an honor to have Secretary Chao join us for this important day in the lives of our graduates,” said Wesley R. Fugate, Wilson College President. “Secretary Chao’s life and career are the embodiment of the American dream and are an inspiration to all of us. I am excited for her to share her wisdom, accrued through decades of service to our country and at the highest levels of the private and nonprofit sectors, with our graduates as they, too, head out into the world to make a positive difference.”
Chao’s career has been distinguished and varied. Some of the highlights include being President and CEO of United Way of America, Director of the Peace Corps, Deputy Maritime Administrator, Chair of the Federal Maritime Commission, and a banker with Bank of America and Citicorp. Currently, she serves on the board of Kroger and several technology companies. She has also been a director and trustee on many nonprofit boards, including Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, United Way Worldwide, Los Angeles 2028 Organizing Committee of Olympic and Paralympic Games (LA28), and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center Advisory Board.