Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea is pleased to announce that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will serve as the 2014 Northern Illinois University College of Law commencement speaker. Ninety-nine students will receive their law degrees at the ceremony, which will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 24 at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb.
"Governor Quinn is committed to NIU Law's core values of public service, leadership and professionalism," Dean Rosato Perea said. "He has honorably served the citizens of Illinois for more than three decades."
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Quinn has served the people of Illinois for 35 years as both a citizen advocate and public official. He has served as governor since 2009, and his first official act as governor was to sign an executive order establishing the Illinois Reform Commission to review ethics rules, leading to passage of new ethics laws, a constitutional amendment providing for gubernatorial recall and a stronger Freedom of Information Act. Quinn has sought to bring jobs to Illinois while working to strengthen the state's position as the digital capital of the Midwest, enacting tech-friendly legislation and creating the Illinois Innovation Council to attract entrepreneurs and ideas. Several education reform measures have also been implemented during his time as governor in addition to moving forward on social justice by abolishing the death penalty, improving nursing home conditions and legalizing civil unions for all people.
A longtime voice for military families and veterans, Quinn -- as lieutenant governor from 2002 to 2009 -- created the Illinois Military Family Relief Act, which enables taxpayers to voluntarily assist families of National Guard members and reservists called to active duty.
Quinn served one term as state treasurer (1991-1995) after serving as commissioner of the Cook County Board of Property Tax Appeals. His first successful organizing initiative led to a law banning advance pay for legislators in 1976. As founder of the Coalition for Political Honesty, Quinn used this "petition power" to trim the size of the Illinois House, create the Citizens Utility Board and enact local whistle-blower ordinances.
Born in Chicago and raised in suburban Hinsdale, Quinn graduated from Northwestern University School of Law and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.
As the only public law school in northern Illinois, NIU College of Law has been named a top law school nationally for diversity, value, and careers in public interest/government service.
NIU Law provides unique opportunities for its students, beginning with its highly accomplished faculty who are personally invested in the success of every student throughout their professional lives. Although many alumni serve as public interest attorneys, prosecutors, defenders, elected officials, and judges, they are equally prepared for careers as solo practitioners or lawyers in multinational firms.