By Gary Brown
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a former NCAA student-athlete at Harvard University, will be a featured speaker at the 2012 NCAA Convention in Indianapolis.
Duncan will deliver remarks at the keynote luncheon at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 11, when he will discuss the NCAA’s recent adoption of major enhancements to foster student-athlete academic success.
“We are pleased to have education’s top representative speak at our Convention,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “Secretary Duncan first called for stricter academic standards in 2010 and has been supportive of our efforts to improve the student-athlete experience.”
For Duncan, this will be his second appearance at the NCAA Convention in three years. In 2010, Duncan was a keynote at the opening business session, during which he urged the Association to adopt stricter academic standards for postseason eligibility and to continue to elevate graduation rates for student-athletes.
Duncan was co-captain of Harvard’s basketball team and was named a first-team Academic All-American, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in sociology. After graduating, he played professionally in Australia for four years. In his official bio, Duncan credited his collegiate basketball experience for his “team-oriented and highly disciplined work ethic.”
The Senate confirmed Duncan as education secretary on Jan. 20, 2009, the day President Obama was inaugurated.
Duncan’s previous roles include serving as chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools for seven years and running the Ariel Education Initiative, a nonprofit education foundation that helped fund college educations for a class of inner-city children in Chicago through the “I Have a Dream” program.
He has served on the boards of many organizations, ranging from Jobs for America’s Graduates and Junior Achievement to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Foundation.
The opening business session on Jan. 12 and the Honors Celebration on Jan. 13 also highlight the 2012 Convention. Emmert will address Convention-goers on the 12th with the annual State of the Association presentation. Honorees on the 13th include the Today’s Top VIII (recent student-athletes), Silver Anniversary Award winners (former student-athletes) and recipients of the NCAA’s Inspiration Award. The Theodore Roosevelt Award winner also will be recognized at the Honors Celebration. The NCAA President’s Gerald R. Ford Award will be presented at the opening business session.