one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine,
Cory A. Booker, the mayor of Newark, N.J., has been selected to give the
2013 Commencement address at Washington University in St. Louis,
according to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.
Wrighton announced Booker as the Commencement speaker during the annual senior class toast April 3 in Brookings Quadrangle.
university’s 152nd Commencement ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m.
Friday, May 17, in Brookings Quadrangle on the Danforth Campus.
43, who is credited with helping revitalize New Jersey’s largest city
with his hands-on and innovative approach, will address approximately
2,800 members of the Class of 2013 and their friends and family members.
During the ceremony, Booker, a Rhodes Scholar and Yale law graduate, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from WUSTL.
will be his second time speaking at Washington University. Booker
delivered an Assembly Series lecture on the significance of community
service in fall 2007.
“I am honored that Mayor Cory Booker will be
addressing this year’s graduates of Washington University,” said Wrighton. “Mayor Booker is a person who, like our
graduates, has had extraordinary educational opportunities. I am deeply
impressed with how, in his young career, he has been able to put his
education to use as one of America’s most prominent civic leaders.
is my great expectation that our graduates will use their Washington
University education, much like Mayor Booker has used his, to help bring
benefit to their future communities.”
Tackling significant challenges with innovation
In his second term as Newark’s
mayor, Booker has been instrumental in more than doubling the rate of
affordable housing production; creating the city’s largest expansion of
parks and recreation spaces in over a century; and bringing more than $1
billion of new economic development into the city, including its first
office towers and hotels in decades.
He has attracted national
attention for his education reform efforts to improve city schools;
public safety initiatives to reduce crime; and innovative programs to
help men and women leaving prison find jobs and reconnect with their
Booker also has gained wide attention for implementing new
technologies in the city, ranging from creating the state’s largest
wireless network of crime-fighting technology — including cameras and
gunshot detection — to using social media platforms such as Twitter and
An avid social media user, Booker has more than 1.3 million followers on Twitter.
has been recognized by numerous media outlets, including Time selecting
him to its 2011 Time 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most
influential people in the world.
Achieving social justice through action
at an early age by his parents — both civil rights activists in the
1960s — he has dedicated his life to achieving social justice through
After graduating from law school in 1997, he
moved into a crime-ridden Newark public apartment complex that had
become known for its decrepit condition, including rat infestations and
broken elevators and smoke detectors.
A resident for eight years,
including a short time while mayor, Booker led the project’s tenants in
their fight for improvements in housing, maintenance and security.
At 29 years old, he was elected to Newark’s City Council in an upset victory over a four-term incumbent.
serving as a city councilman from 1998 to 2002, he went on a 10-day
hunger strike to draw attention to rampant drug-dealing in one of
Newark’s worst housing projects, an effort that led to increased police
presence and improved security for residents.
He also spent months
camped out in a trailer in some of the most crime- and drug-infested
areas of the city, bringing attention to inner-city problems and
inspiring residents and businesses to fight against drug dealing and
Booker ran for mayor unsuccessfully in a contentious race in
2002 that was captured in an Oscar-nominated documentary called Street
When Booker ran again in 2006 vowing to reduce the crime rate
and improve education and city services, the community activist won
with a clear mandate of 72 percent of the vote.
As mayor, his
personal involvement in helping improve life for his constituents has
ranged from living on a “food stamp” budget for seven days to raise
awareness of food insecurity, shoveling the driveway of a elderly man
who requested help via the mayor’s Twitter feed, inviting Hurricane
Sandy victims into his home, and saving a woman from a house fire.
earned a bachelor of arts in political science in 1991 and a master of
arts in sociology in 1992, both from Stanford University, where he
returned in 2012 as its commencement speaker.
While an undergraduate
at Stanford, Booker was elected senior class president, ran a
student-run crisis hotline, organized programs for marginalized youth
and won the university’s highest award for service in 1991.
He also played varsity football and was named to the All-Pacific 10 Academic Team in 1991.
a Rhodes Scholar, he earned an honors degree in modern history in 1994
from Oxford University, where he ran a mentoring program for low-income
While earning a juris doctorate at Yale Law School in 1997, he
operated free legal clinics for low-income residents of New Haven.