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Managing Partner at Emerson Collective, Former U.S. Secretary of Education (2009 - 2016)

Arne Duncan: Biography at a Glance

  • Served as the U.S. Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama
  • Helped secure congressional support for significant investments in education, focused billions of dollars to transform struggling schools
  • Served as CEO of the Chicago Public Schools from 2001 to 2008
  • Senior fellow at University of Chicago and board member of Communities in Schools
  • Head of Chicago CRED (Creating Real Economic Destiny), working to dramatically reduce gun violence in Chicago
Biography

As managing partner at Emerson Collective, former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan returns to Chicago on a mission to improve the lives of young adults in his hometown. Through partnerships with local business leaders, community organizers, and nonprofit groups, Duncan aims to create job and life opportunities for disconnected youth between the ages of 17 and 24.

Emerson Collective is an organization dedicated to removing barriers to opportunity so people can live to their full potential. Established by Laurene Powell Jobs, Emerson Collective centers its work on education, immigration reform, the environment and other social justice initiatives. 

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Duncan served as chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools. From 2001 to 2008, Duncan won praise for uniting the city’s stakeholders behind an education agenda that included opening 100 new schools; expanding after-school, summer learning, early childhood, and college access programs; dramatically boosting the caliber of teachers; and building public-private partnerships around a variety of education initiatives.

Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1987, majoring in sociology. At Harvard he served as co-captain of the basketball team and was named a first team Academic All-American. Additionally, he is on the board of Ariel Investments, Aspen Institute, National Association of Basketball Coaches and more.

 

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“He engaged with our students in an honest, caring way and clearly enjoys interacting with people. His speech, which was personal and powerful, was both an invitation to ponder how we can do things better and a call to action. Highly recommended.”

DePauw University

“Arne was great. He had really concrete information to share on stage and he was a pleasure to work with behind the scenes.”

The Connecticut Forum

“Arne was great. His message really resonated with the audience, and they were appreciative that he took open Q&A, when not many keynotes are willing to do such a thing.”

American Marketing Association

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