NEA Chair Jane Chu to speak at 2014 IU Bloomington winter commencement

  • Dec. 2, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University alumna Jane Chu, the 11th chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, will deliver the 2014 winter commencement address at IU Bloomington on Dec. 20.

Chu, who assumed her current role at the NEA in June after serving eight years as the president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo., received a doctorate in philanthropic studies from IU's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

"As one of the nation's top arts leaders, Jane Chu performs a critical role in ensuring the continued support of artistic excellence, creativity and innovation nationwide and helping all of us understand the value and meaning the arts have in our everyday lives," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. "We are delighted that such a distinguished alumna, one whose own career path reflects how much the arts connect us as individuals and communities, will return to IU to share her insights and experiences with the university's newest class of graduates."

Before studying at IU, Chu received bachelor's degrees in piano performance and music education from Ouachita Baptist University, and master's degrees in music and piano pedagogy from Southern Methodist University. She also holds a master's degree in business administration from Rockhurst University and an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.

During her career, Chu has served as a trustee at William Jewell College and was a member of the board of directors at the Ewing Marion Kauffman School and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. From 1997 to 2002, she was the vice president of community investment for the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, and shortly thereafter, she served as vice president of external relations at Union Station Kansas City until 2004. Chu was also a fund executive at the Kauffman Fund for Kansas City.

As president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, beginning in 2006, she oversaw a $414 million project to build the center, which is now home to the Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Symphony and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. The center has hosted more than 1 million people from all 50 states and various countries throughout the world since its opening in September 2011.

President Barack Obama nominated Chu to head the NEA in February 2014, in light of her exemplary work at the Kauffman Center, and the U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination in June.

Chu said of her appointment, "I'm honored to receive the Senate's vote of confirmation, and I look forward to serving our nation as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Together, we have the opportunity to show the value of connecting the arts to all Americans, and the importance of the arts in bringing communities together."

Doors will open for winter commencement at 8 a.m. Dec. 20 at Assembly Hall, 1001 E. 17th St. The procession will begin at 9 a.m., with the ceremony to follow at 10 a.m.

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