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Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
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CEO and Fortune 500 leader Thasunda Brown Duckett announced as Fall Commencement speaker

Duckett will deliver address to 850 graduates and receive an honorary degree

Thasunda Brown Duckett, president and CEO of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America and the fourth Black woman to helm a Fortune 500 company, has been announced as American University’s Fall Commencement speaker.

According to an announcement from the University, Duckett is set to deliver keynote addresses at both of the University’s fall commencement ceremonies on Dec. 18, and will be awarded with an honorary degree.

"It's an honor to mark this incredibly special milestone with the fall class of 2022," Duckett said in the press release. "These graduates are entering a rapidly changing world, but with their continued resilience and strong foundation of their AU education, they're well-positioned to become the leaders who will shape a more united and equitable future. I look forward to celebrating their achievements."

Duckett started working for Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association — a company that provides insurance and annuities to nonprofit employees — in 2021. Previously, she held positions as CEO of Chase Consumer Banking, CEO of Chase Auto Finance, national retail sales executive for Chase Mortgage Banking and director of emerging markets at Fannie Mae.

In addition to her work with TIAA, Duckett is also the founder of the Otis and Rosie Brown Foundation, which she created to honor her parents by recognizing the achievements of people, organizations and corporations who use everyday resources to improve the lives of communities, families and other individuals.

Duckett is also an advocate on a variety of issues relating to financial health, such as retirement inequality and the racial wealth gap. In her writings, she has advocated for her fellow business leaders to give their employees access to retirement and savings plans and has offered up financial planning advice.

Duckett currently sits on several boards, such as the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board, Business Roundtable and The Business Council. She also serves on the boards of NIKE, Inc., Brex Inc., Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Sesame Workshop, National Medal of Honor Museum, Economic Club of New York, University of Houston Board of Visitors and the Dean’s Advisory Board for Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business.

She also is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

“Thasunda Brown Duckett embodies the AU changemaker spirit in her leadership, her community engagement and her commitment to making a positive impact,” AU President Sylvia Burwell said in the announcement. “Her charge and lessons to our graduates will be a fitting capstone to their AU experience, where they prepared for lives of purpose through hard work and support from our expert faculty, dedicated staff and unique community of changemakers.”

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