Obama declines to speak at Harper College graduation, for now

 
 
Updated 2/22/2018 9:50 AM
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  • Former President Barack Obama won't be delivering Harper College's commencement address this spring, his staff has told college officials.

    Former President Barack Obama won't be delivering Harper College's commencement address this spring, his staff has told college officials. Associated Press, 2012

  • College Board President/CEO David Coleman will be delivering Harper College's commencement address this spring. The organization coordinates the SAT and Advanced Placement program.

    College Board President/CEO David Coleman will be delivering Harper College's commencement address this spring. The organization coordinates the SAT and Advanced Placement program. Associated Press, 2014

Former President Barack Obama won't be delivering Harper College's commencement speech in May, as leaders at the Palatine-based community college had hoped. But they've already extended an invite to him for next year.

Harper President Ken Ender made his initial pitch to Obama's staff about a year ago, saying much of the former president's education agenda fit with programs and initiatives Harper has put in place.

But college officials recently were told by Obama's scheduling director that he won't be delivering any commencement speeches this spring "due to heavy demands on his schedule," Harper spokeswoman Becki Suthers said.

The college has announced its speaker for the May 19 graduation will be David Coleman, president and CEO of the College Board, the nonprofit that runs the SAT and Advanced Placement program.

Ender, who met Obama in 2013 while on a White House Task Force aimed at filling the shortage of skilled workers in the manufacturing industry, says he's has already extended an invitation to Obama for the 2019 commencement.

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