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Roosevelt alumna who broke barriers as Librarian of Congress to speak at graduation

Long-time Chicagoan Carla Hayden to receive honorary doctorate from Roosevelt University
Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Performing Arts, Pharmacy, President's Office, Academic & Artistic Excellence, Alumni
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Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress and Roosevelt alumna
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden
“Her work is in line with everything that Roosevelt University stands for." Ali Malekzadeh Roosevelt University President

Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden, the first woman and first African American to lead the national library, will deliver Roosevelt University’s May 11 Commencement address and receive an honorary degree.

Nominated by President Barack Obama and sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress on Sept. 14, 2016, Hayden is a recognized and award-winning leader who began her library career in Chicago shortly after graduating from Roosevelt University with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1973.

She will speak and receive an honorary degree at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on May 11 during Roosevelt University graduation ceremonies in the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago. 

Known for transforming libraries into public community spaces where increasing services and resources are available, Hayden is widely known for her decision as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, keeping its doors open during the unrest followed by the 2015 death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.

With an MA and PhD in library science from the University of Chicago, she became the first African American to receive Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year award in recognition for her outreach services at the Pratt Library. 

Formerly the deputy commissioner and second in command at the Chicago Public Library and library services coordinator of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Hayden has been on a mission as Librarian of Congress to make resources in American’s library more readily available to the public.

“Carla Hayden is known for her work in updating libraries for today’s digital culture, for promoting equity of access and for advocating for the centrality of libraries and information in our democracy,” said Roosevelt University President Ali Malekzadeh

“Her work is in line with everything that Roosevelt University stands for. We are pleased to have this extraordinary Roosevelt alumna return to her alma mater where she will address our graduates and to honor her with an honorary doctorate,” said Malekzadeh.

Hayden will address graduates of Roosevelt’s College of Education, College of Pharmacy and the Walter E. Heller College of Business at 10 a.m. and graduates of Roosevelt’s College of Arts and Sciences and Chicago College of Performing Arts at 2 p.m. during Commencement ceremonies in the Auditorium Theatre.  In recognition of her work, Hayden will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.  

For more information, or to attend the Commencement address, contact Laura Janota at ljanota@roosevelt.edu or 312-341-3511.  

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