On May 6, Albion College will be inviting three guests to give speeches at the 2017 Commencement. Jess Womack, Linda Yorke and Michael Milkie will give the graduating seniors their thoughts on the importance of a liberal arts education like the one provided at Albion College. It seems the emphasis of these speeches will be on education, as all three speakers are involved in the field: Womack being a lawyer and executive board member who leads initiatives in southern California to boost college enrollment; Yorke, the Superintendent of the Northfield campus of the New Trier (IL) School District and Milkie, CEO and Superintendent of Chicago’s Noble Network of Charter Schools.
“Meaning can come in a lot of different ways – through a lot of different careers and through different activities. […] That’s really what we’re all about,” said Yorke in a phone interview.“We want kids to find meaning in their school experience.”
The guest speakers have also praised the College’s dedication to connecting the local students to the higher education system.
“Any of our underrepresented students who decide, later in their career, that they’re interested in education, can continue to get their Education degree at the college for no additional charges for the courses,” said Albion College President Mauri Ditzler.
Womack added, “I think that the discussion around education in the 21st century is the most important discussion that this country can have because the educated population is the bedrock of a healthy society.”
After leaving the private sector, he worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is the second largest school district in the United States, serving nearly 750,000 students. Womack, along with Yorke, is an Albion College alumni; he recently received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the school for his work with the LAUSD. “Keep in mind- we’re building these schools for the next generation of Americans.”
Photo courtesy of Albion College
Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of one of the speakers. She is Linda Yorke, not Linda Yonke.