President Barack Obama’s Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer, will speak at Agnes Scott College’s 122nd commencement on May 14. The Rev. Anne D. McKee, campus minister at Maryville College, will bring the message to the class of 2011 at baccalaureate vespers on May 13.
President Obama created the position of ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues in 2009 to reflect the importance of women’s issues to his administration. As the first director of the Department of State’s office on Global Women’s Issues, Ambassador Verveer coordinates foreign policy issues and activities relating to the political, economic and social advancement of women around the world. She mobilizes concrete support for women’s rights and political and economic empowerment through initiatives and programs designed to increase women’s and girls’ access to education and health care, to combat violence against women and girls in all its forms and to ensure that women’s rights are fully integrated with human rights in the development of U.S. foreign policy.
“Ambassador Verveer exemplifies qualities that we strive to cultivate in Agnes Scott students — thoughtful and creative leadership, a commitment to women’s rights and social justice and effective engagement with global challenges. We are honored to have this trailblazing advocate for the world’s women and girls address the class of 2011. She is an inspiration to all of us,” said Elizabeth Kiss, president of Agnes Scott.
Ambassador Verveer most recently served as chair and co-CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international nonprofit she co-founded. Vital Voices invests in emerging women leaders and works to expand women’s roles in generating economic opportunity, promoting political participation and safeguarding human rights. Prior to her work with Vital Voices, Verveer served as assistant to the president and chief of staff to the first lady in the Clinton Administration and was chief assistant to then-first lady Hillary Clinton in her efforts to advance women’s rights and further social development, democracy and peace-building initiatives. Secretary Clinton delivered Agnes Scott’s commencement address in 2005. Ambassador Verveer also led the effort to establish the President’s Interagency Council on Women. Prior to her time in the White House, she served in a number of leadership roles in public policy organizations and as legislative staff.
Ambassador Verveer has a B.A. in languages and M.A. in Russian studies from Georgetown University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Women’s Foreign Policy Group and numerous other organizations.
The Rev. Anne McKee, campus minister of Maryville College in Maryville, Tenn., and an ordained minister of the word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will address the graduating class at baccalaureate vespers. Her daughter, Lucia Hulsether, will be among the graduates.
Installed as the Maryville’s campus minister in 2001, McKee is a past president of the Presbyterian College Chaplains Association (PCCA). She graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., with a bachelor of arts degree in religion. She earned her master of divinity degree from Yale Divinity School and has been ordained since 1985.
Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location – offering myriad cultural and experiential learning opportunities. A diverse and growing residential community of scholars, this highly selective liberal arts and sciences college is known for its dynamic and challenging intellectual community. Encouraging students to engage the wider world through study abroad and presenting its curriculum with international context, Agnes Scott College delivers on its promise: The World. For Women.