U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will speak on Sept. 16 at Purdue University as part of the Fall 2015 Presidential Lecture Series.
Duncan will give a talk at 2:15 p.m. in Stewart Center’s Loeb Playhouse that will be free and open to the public. The secretary’s visit is part of his sixth annual “Back-to-School Bus Tour: Ready for Success,” from Sept. 14-18. In addition to Purdue and Indianapolis, tour stops include Kansas City, Missouri; Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Champaign and Williamsfield, Illinois; Louisville; Cincinnati; and Pittsburgh.
The U.S. Department of Education said the tour will “celebrate how states and local communities are working to increase access and opportunity from early learning through college.”
Duncan, the ninth U.S. education secretary, has served in his post since January 2009, following his nomination by President Barack Obama. He helped secure congressional support for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s $100 billion to fund 325,000 teaching jobs, increases in Pell grants, reform efforts such as Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation, and intervention in low-performing schools. The Race to the Top program offers incentives, guidance and flexibility to support education reforms in states.
“This is an excellent opportunity for the Purdue community to discuss the challenges in higher education,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. “Our audience can look forward to talking with Secretary Duncan about accessibility, affordability, quality, academic research and whether it’s addressing the world’s greatest challenges, and the entire range of debate now centered on higher education.”
Before becoming education secretary, Duncan served as chief executive officer for the Chicago Public Schools from June 2001 through December 2008. During that time, his reform agenda included opening more than 100 new schools, dozens of them charter schools, expanding after-school and summer learning programs, closing underperforming schools, and increasing early childhood and college access.
From 1992-98, Duncan ran the nonprofit education foundation Ariel Education Initiative, which helped fund a college education for a class of inner-city children under the I Have A Dream program. He was part of a team that later started a new public elementary school built around a financial literacy curriculum, the Ariel Community Academy. From 1987-91, he played professional basketball in Australia, where he also worked with children who were wards of the state.
Purdue’s Presidential Lecture Series features prominent experts and practitioners from various fields of interest for both academics and the community at-large. Speakers will touch on topics relating to policy, leadership, culture and society.
Connected with each public presentation, speakers will be integrated into relevant curricular activities on the West Lafayette campus during their visits. The series will also add speakers at various points during the year.