Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Jerry Blakemore is coming home.
Blakemore, who is the vice president and general counsel at Southern Illinois University, is the commencement speaker at the Prairie State College (PSC) 51st annual commencement on May 22. He was born and raised in Ford Heights.
“I am happy to come home and address the graduates of Prairie State College,” said Blakemore. “I was the recipient of a good education, and it’s changed my life.”
Blakemore is a graduate of Bloom Township High School. Upon graduation after high school, he enrolled in Princeton University where he received a B.A. in Political Science. He was the recipient of Princeton’s Frederick Douglass Award for his academic and community service achievements. He also is a graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
Blakemore was inspired to become an attorney at a young age. Because his parents were both involved in local government, he saw the importance of civic duty. John F. Kennedy’s call for the “best and the brightest to join public service” cemented his decision of pursuing a law degree.
“Law was a natural career for someone who wanted to get into public service,” said Blakemore. “It was my ambition and vision to make a difference as an attorney.”
Blakemore is licensed to practice law before the Illinois Supreme Court, as well as several federal district trial and appellate courts. He is an active member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), where he serves as a member of the NACUA Committee on Finance and Audit. He also is a member of the National Bar Association (NBA) and the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA). Prior to serving as general counsel for Southern Illinois University, Blakemore served as a member and chair of the Illinois Board of Higher Education and as a partner in a Chicago law firm where he headed the regulatory and governmental practice group of the firm.
Blakemore’s civic and corporate involvement includes serving as chair of the board of directors of Diversified Faculty in Illinois, and the board of directors of the Illinois American Water Company, a subsidiary of the American Water Company.
In addition, Mr. Blakemore is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He is a volunteer musician at the Bethel AME Church in Carbondale, Illinois. Nearly 400 students will graduate from the college with associate degrees and certificates, with an estimated 300 of these graduates participating in the ceremony. For more information about PSC’s commencement ceremony, call the Office of Student Affairs (708) 709-3507.