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Van Jones to speak at Wake Forest University commencement on May 16

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Van Jones, a CNN host and a civil rights activist, will deliver Wake Forest University’s commencement address May 16, the university said Friday.

Wake Forest’s commencement ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. on Hearn Plaza on campus. It is a ticketed event for graduates, their families and guests and is not open to the public, Wake Forest said.

WFU President Susan Wente said she expects Jones to deliver an inspiring and memorable speech.

“A dedicated professional, gifted speaker and proven leader, Van Jones has much to say to our graduating students about how to shepherd change in the world,” Wente said.

Jones, 53, is an Emmy Award-winning producer and author of three books.

Jones has stewarded bipartisan legislative and advocacy efforts during each of the last four presidential administrations, the university said. Jones advocated for the passage of the First Step Act, which allows federal prison inmates to submit their own petition for compassionate release.

Jones was the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act, which is federal legislation to codify the term “green jobs,” the university said. During the Obama Administration, the legislation resulted in $500 million in national funding for green jobs training.

As a social entrepreneur, Jones founded and led the REFORM Alliance, Color of Change, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and the Dream Corps, which works to close prison doors and open doors of opportunity in the green and tech economies, WFU said.




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