The University of Maryland announces today that President and CEO of The Education Trust and former U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. will deliver the university's winter commencement address on Dec. 18, 2018 at the XFINITY Center.
“Throughout his career, John King has fought on the front lines of education reform to make the system more equitable and help all students succeed,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “As one of our visiting professors, Dr. King is inspiring a new generation of leaders, and will similarly inspire our graduates and their families.”
“It is an honor for me to deliver the Winter 2018 commencement address at the University of Maryland, and to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of the graduates, as well as their families, who supported them on their journey,” stated John B. King Jr., former U.S. Secretary of Education and President and CEO of The Education Trust. “Speaking at this graduation ceremony on this campus carries special significance for me as an educator teaching at the University of Maryland, and as a member of this diverse and vibrant learning community.”
John B. King Jr. is the president and CEO of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps, from preschool through college. King served in President Barack Obama’s cabinet as the 10th U.S. Secretary of Education. In tapping him to lead the U.S. Department of Education, President Obama called King “an exceptionally talented educator,” citing his commitment to “preparing every child for success” and his lifelong dedication to education as a teacher, principal, and leader of schools and school systems.
Before becoming education secretary, King carried out the duties of the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education, overseeing all policies and programs related to P-12 education, English learners, special education, and innovation. In this role, King also oversaw the agency’s operations. King joined the department following his tenure as the first African American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State Education Commissioner.
King began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher in Puerto Rico and Boston, Mass., and as a middle school principal.
King’s life story is an extraordinary testament to the transformative power of education. Both of King’s parents were career New York City public school educators, whose example serves as an enduring inspiration. Both of King’s parents passed away from illness by the time he was 12 years old. He credits New York City public school teachers — particularly educators at P.S. 276 in Canarsie and Mark Twain Junior High School in Coney Island — for saving his life by providing him with rich and engaging educational experiences and by giving him hope for the future.
King holds a Bachelor of Arts in government from Harvard University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, as well as a Master of Arts in the teaching of social studies and a doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University. King serves as a visiting professor at the University of Maryland’s College of Education and is a member of several boards, including those for The Century Foundation, The Robin Hood Foundation, and Teach Plus. He also serves on several advisory boards, including Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, the Rework America Task Force, the GOOD+ Foundation’s Fatherhood Leadership Council, and the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement at the University of California.
King lives in Silver Spring, Md., with his wife, a former kindergarten and first-grade teacher, and his two daughters, who attend local public schools.