Giannoulias to Give Keynote Address at PSC Commencement

Chicago Heights, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias has a story to tell. Actually, he has several.

Giannoulias will deliver the keynote address at the Prairie State College (PSC) 50th annual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16. His address will include the life stories of several PSC students.

Students Favian Apata, of Chicago Heights; Justin Doup, of Beecher; Keith Burke, of Westville; Guilherme Nunes, of Flossmoor; Etta Oben, of Matteson; Sikod Njem, of Steger; Camiella Williams, of Flossmoor; and Cayla Wiegle, of Beecher, were invited to meet with the treasurer about the content of his commencement address. After hearing the students’ unique personal histories, Giannoulias decided to tell their stories during his address.

“These students have logged many achievements and have clear, ambitious goals,” Giannoulias said. “They embody the diverse backgrounds that make up PSC, and the optimism I have in the graduating class of 2009. My message is their message – you are the future you seek.”

Apata is a returning adult student and currently the college’s student trustee. Although she is not graduating until next year, she feels privileged to contribute to this year’s ceremony.

“We all come from different backgrounds, and I think everyone will be able to identify with at least one of our stories,” said Apata. “We all have a story to tell, and I hope mine can touch the lives of others.”

Burke, who is graduating this spring and transferring to Aurora University in the fall, says the ceremony will be a personal one, not only for him but for all attending.

“Treasurer Giannoulias is putting a personal touch on the ceremony by sharing our stories,” said Burke. “Whenever a personal touch is added, it always becomes more meaningful for everyone.”

The ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 16, at 1 p.m. in the Pioneer Fieldhouse, located on PSC’s main campus, 202 S. Halsted St., Chicago Heights.

Nearly 500 students will graduate from the college, with an estimated 250 of these graduates participating in the ceremony. During the ceremony, the college will recognize the academic achievements of students earning associate degrees and certificates. The President’s Leadership Award and Phi Theta Kappa Honors also will be presented.

Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Mary Reaves said, “All of our students have their personal stories and dreams. Walt Disney once said, ‘All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.’ Our Prairie State College students have dared to pursue their dreams, and we are proud of their accomplishments.”

Giannoulias was elected to his first term as treasurer on November 7, 2006. At the age of 30, he became the youngest state treasurer in the nation.

Among his accomplishments, Giannoulias launched the nation’s largest state-backed hybrid rebate program, put the state’s unclaimed property on eBay, and started an innovative securities lending effort. Under his leadership, the Bright Start College Savings Program improved from one of the worst in the nation to the best thanks to its low fees and wide investment options, according to Morningstar Inc.

Now Giannoulias is reforming how states can help the private sector in difficult economic times. In October 2008, Giannoulias pledged to deposit up to $1 billion of state funds in healthy banks and credit unions to thaw the lending market and help improve customer confidence.

Prior to joining public service, Giannoulias was a community banker in his hometown of Chicago. Giannoulias graduated cum laude from Boston University, earned a law degree from Tulane University’s School of Law in New Orleans, and played professional basketball in Greece.

For more information about PSC’s commencement ceremony, call (708) 709-3507.