Chicagoan Martin Castro, chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, will deliver the commencement address and receive a Doctor of Humane Letters Degree, Honoris Causa, at Roosevelt University’s fall commencement ceremonies on Dec. 16 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., Chicago.
“We are honored to welcome one of the nation’s preeminent civil rights leaders to speak to our graduating class,” said Chuck Middleton, President of Roosevelt. “Throughout his distinguished career, Mr. Castro has worked to improve life for people living in underserved communities in Chicago and beyond. His steadfast commitment to ensuring equal opportunities for all exemplifies Roosevelt University’s core mission of social justice.”
Castro is president and CEO of Castro Synergies, LLC, which provides strategic advice to corporations, entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations seeking to work with and improve diverse communities.
President Obama appointed Castro to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in January, where he makes recommendations to the President and Congress regarding civil rights issues. The Commission investigates complaints that people are being deprived of their right to vote because of their race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or by reason of fraudulent practices.
In addition, the Commission analyzes information relating to discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or in the administration of justice.
Before his federal appointment, Castro was chair of the Illinois Human Rights Commission, which arbitrates complaints of civil rights violations in housing, employment, public accommodations and financial credit. He was appointed to this position in January 2009 by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.
Castro is co-founder of Nuestro Futuro, a philanthropic initiative of the Chicago Community Trust that encourages Latinos to address community needs and pool resources for greater impact in addressing problems of common concern.
He is also chair of the board of the National Museum of Mexican Art, the only accredited Latino Museum in the United States, and serves on the board of the Chicago Community Trust.
For his work, Castro has received such recognitions as the National Medical Fellowships' Humanitarian Award, the Hispanic National Bar Association's Cesar Chavez Humanitarian Award, the Edwin A. Rothschild Civil Liberties Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Corporate Counsel, Chicago Chapter.
Castro received his B.A. in political science in 1985 from DePaul University and his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1988.
Castro will speak at both Roosevelt commencement ceremonies on Dec. 16. The first, for graduates of the College of Education and the Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies, begins at 10 a.m. The second, for graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences, Walter E. Heller College of Business and the Chicago College of Performing Arts, will begin at 2 p.m.
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