Barbara Byrd-Bennett and Dr. Daniel Greenstein Address National Louis University Graduates at Commencement Ceremonies

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First class of NLU’s Harrison Fellows graduate

“National Louis was founded on the principle that a quality education can transform lives, careers and communities," said Nivine Megahed, Ph.D., NLU president.

National Louis University, one of Chicago’s oldest private universities and a leader in providing a quality education for the adult learner that helps them succeed post-graduation, recognized 1,218 graduate and 539 undergraduate students at today’s commencement ceremonies. Two education leaders gave the respective keynote commencement addresses. Barbara Byrd-Bennett, CEO, Chicago Public Schools, addressed the National College of Education graduates and Dr. Daniel Greenstein, director of Education, Postsecondary Success for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, gave the keynote speech to graduates of the College of Management and Business, as well as the College of Arts and Sciences.

In her remarks, Byrd-Bennett noted, "Education is the great equalizer and society's highest calling." She lauded the graduates for responding to that calling and praised the NLU College of Education as a global leader in developing educational talent.

Greenstein acknowledged the extraordinary achievements of the graduates who often have balanced university with family and fulltime work. He encouraged the graduates to see earning their degree as a stepping stone in their careers, to be open to the opportunities that will come their way, and to celebrate the intrinsic, personal value that gaining knowledge gives them.

This year’s commencement also marked the graduation of NLU’s inaugural class of Harrison Fellows. Harrison Fellowships are awarded to full-time students at National Louis University interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree in business administration, elementary education (with a concentration in math or science) or human services on National Louis's Chicago campus. Each applicant is sponsored and recommended by a community leader, who agrees to provide encouragement and leadership opportunities as they pursue their degree, with the expectation that upon graduation, the student will use their education to serve and advance their communities. Scholarships are awarded to students who exhibit strong promise in their communities, but might not be able to otherwise attend college.

“National Louis was founded on the principle that a quality education can transform lives, careers and communities. I wish our graduates the best of luck as they use the tools and experiences that they gathered at NLU to make a difference in their communities,” said Nivine Megahed, Ph.D., National Louis president. “Barbara Byrd-Bennett and Daniel Greenstein and their keynote addresses exemplify the power that education has to positively change communities. We are honored that they joined our celebration today.”

"It is an honor to give the commencement address to The National Louis University College of Education," said Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. "I am consistently inspired by the talent, professionalism, and passion of educators from National Louis who are making a difference for children around the world."

“National Louis University’s commitment to its graduates, to social justice, and to the community it serves is exemplary and it signals an enormously promising direction for higher education in this country,” said Daniel Greenstein, director of Education, Postsecondary Success for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “I’m excited to be a part of this very special occasion for the graduates and their families at this remarkable institution.”

About National Louis University
Founded in 1886, National Louis is a nonprofit, non-denominational University comprised of three colleges: National College of Education; College of Arts & Sciences; and College of Management and Business. From its inception, National Louis has provided educational access to adult, immigrant and minority populations – a mission it sustains today. The University offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in fields of education, management, human services, counseling, public policy, and others concerned with human and community development. National Louis is well-known for an exceptional history in teacher preparation, and continues to be a leader in educating future teachers and community leaders to succeed in urban environments. For more information, visit

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