Former White House Cabinet Secretary Christopher Lu ’88 will speak at this year’s Baccalaureate ceremony on June 1, the University announced Friday morning. Norman Augustine GS ’59, former chairman and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin, will speak at the Hooding ceremony for advanced-degree candidates on June 2.
University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 said that Lu is an outstanding public servant who can serve as a terrific role model for students. Eisgruber directed the selection process while senior class officers served in an advisory capacity.
“He’s lived a life of service both in terms of government positions and in terms of how he spends his weekends and the way he reaches out to help other people,” Eisgruber said. “In addition to his political experience, he also has a broader approach to serving the public.”
Lu, a Wilson School graduate who holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, began working for President Barack Obama in 2005 when the latter was Senator of Illinois. He served as executive director of the presidential transition team in 2008 and joined the White House staff the following year as Cabinet Secretary and Assistant to the President. He announced his departure from the White House in 2013.
Lu was nominated by Obama in January to be Deputy Secretary of the Department of Labor and, if confirmed, would act as the agency’s chief operating officer.
“I am so honored to be this year’s Baccalaureate speaker,” Lu said in an email to The Daily Princetonian. “I look forward to speaking to the graduates about the importance of public service and civic engagement.”
He noted that he hopes to spread the message of service that his undergraduate career developed in him.
“Princeton played a pivotal role in fostering my commitment to public service, and I hope my speech can inspire the next generation of leaders,” he said in the email.
Senior class president Luchi Mmegwa ’14 said that Lu’s experience will be relevant to the many seniors who had responded to a survey circulated by the class officers by suggesting public service as the topic of the Baccalaureate address.
“I think that his work has really been behind-the-scenes and very intimately related to a lot of policies that have come out of the Obama administration,” Mmegwa said. “So I think he could have a very unique position to really speak to what the realities of public service entail.”
Mmegwa added that Lu possesses valuable insight into how different departments react to different policy areas.
The interfaith Baccalaureate service ceremony will take place in the University Chapel on June 1 at 2 p.m. and features prayers and readings from different religions and philosophies.
Former Vice President Al Gore will also speak during the Commencement exercises. The Class Day committee announced last month that Gore will speak at Class Day on June 2.
Augustine, a graduate from the University’s aeronautical engineering department, was the founding CEO and chairman of Lockheed Martin from 1995 to his retirement in 1997. He was a professor at the School of Engineering and Applied Science from 1997 to 1999 and has served as a University trustee.
Augustine did not respond to a request for comment.
The Hooding ceremony will take place on Cannon Green on June 2 at 5 p.m.