United States Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez will be Northeastern Illinois University’s May 2018 Commencement speaker. Congressman Gutiérrez, a Northeastern alumnus who earned his Bachelor of Arts in English in 1976, is in his 12th term serving Illinois’ Fourth District and in November announced he will not seek a 13th term.
Among his many accomplishments, Congressman Gutiérrez played an instrumental role in advocating for executive action by President Barack Obama to provide deportation relief to certain long-term undocumented immigrants and their families. Congressman Gutiérrez’s advocacy helped lead to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protects some immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation.
“Congressman Gutiérrez a national leader in the fight for social justice and equality,” Interim President Richard Helldobler said. “Hundreds of Northeastern students and alumni have participated in the DACA program over the past several years, and we are eager to welcome him back to inspire the next generation of leaders.”
Congressman Gutiérrez last spoke at Northeastern in 2014, when he did a reading of his book, “Still Dreaming: My Journey From the Barrio to Capitol Hill.” In 2007, he was presented with the Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor the University bestows upon alumni.
During his time in Washington, D.C., Congressman Gutiérrez has authored or co-authored numerous bills. He has served as Dean of the Illinois Delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives and Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He also has served on the Judiciary’s Committee’s Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee and Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee, as well as the Financial Services Committee.
Congressman Gutiérrez was born and raised in Chicago, the son of parents who migrated to Chicago from Puerto Rico in the early 1950s. He previously served as an Alderman in the City of Chicago and has been a teacher, a social worker and a cab driver, among other diverse experiences.
Northeastern Illinois University’s Main Campus is located on 67 acres in an attractive residential area on the Northwest Side of Chicago. The University offers more than 40 undergraduate degree and certificate programs and more than 50 graduate degree, certificate, licensure and endorsement programs. The University has additional locations in the metropolitan area, including the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, El Centro, Center for College Access and Success, and the University Center of Lake County.
In September 2017, Northeastern earned U.S. News & World Report’s No. 1 ranking for students who graduate with the least amount of debt among Midwest regional universities. In November 2016, Northeastern was named the most diverse university in the Midwest by The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Ranking.
Commencement is scheduled for 4 p.m. May 7 at UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are required. The ceremony will be streamed live at neiu.edu.