U.S. Under Secretary Of State Maria Otero To Give William Paterson University Commencement Address On May 22 At Izod Center

--Otero, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, U.S. Department of State, will also receive honorary doctor of laws degree.

Maria Otero

Maria Otero, the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, U.S. Department of State, will give the commencement address and receive an honorary doctor of laws degree on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 as part of William Paterson University’s 189th commencement ceremony.

The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at the Izod Center in East Rutherford. The commencement will include speeches by a graduating bachelor’s degree and a graduating master’s degree candidate, as well as the presentation of three faculty recognition awards for teaching, scholarship, and service.

Bachelor’s and master’s degrees will be conferred upon candidates who have completed their degree requirements between August 2011 and May 2012. Alumni from the Class of 1962, who graduated when William Paterson was called Paterson State College, will be present at the morning ceremony along with members of the Pioneer Society, those alumni who graduated at least 50 years ago. The Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Chapter will host a Senior Send-Off reception on Monday, May 21 at 7 p.m. in the University Commons Ballroom on campus.

Otero was sworn in as Under Secretary of State on August 10, 2009. She oversees and coordinates U.S. foreign relations on the spectrum of civilian security issues, including democracy, human rights, population, refugees, trafficking in persons, rule of law, counter-narcotics, crisis prevention and response, global criminal justice, and countering violent extremism. She also serves as the President’s Special Representative for Tibetan Issues.

Born in La Paz, Bolivia, Ms. Otero is currently the highest-ranking Hispanic official at the State Department, and the first Latina Under Secretary in its history.

Otero was formerly the president and CEO of ACCION International, a pioneer and leader in economic development working in 25 countries around the globe. She is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on inclusive economic growth, women’s issues and international development. Prior to ACCION, Otero was the economist for Latin America for the Women in Development office of USAID. She also served for five years at the Centre for Development and Population Activities. Otero was an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins’ Nitze School for Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C, before joining the State Department.

President Clinton appointed Ms. Otero to the board of the United States Institute of Peace in 2000, a position that she held for eight years, including one term as vice-chair of the board. In 2006, she was appointed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the UN Advisors Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors. Otero has chaired the board of Bread for the World, and also served on the boards of the Calvert Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, the Inter-American Foundation and BRAC Holding of Bangladesh. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Under Secretary Otero’s awards and recognition include selection by Newsweek in October 2005 as one of the United States’ twenty most influential women; Hispanic Business Magazine’s ‘Elite Women of 2007’; Notre Dame University’s Distinguished Service in Latin America Award; and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. She holds an M.A. in literature from the University of Maryland, an M.A. in international relations from Johns Hopkins, and an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Dartmouth College.

William Paterson University, one of the nine state colleges and universities in New Jersey, offers more than 250 undergraduate and graduate academic programs through five colleges: Arts and Communication, Cotsakos College of Business, Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Science and Health. Located on 370 hilltop acres in Wayne, the university enrolls more than 11,500 students and provides housing for nearly 2,700 students. The institution’s 389 full-time faculty are highly distinguished and diverse scholars and teachers, many of whom are recipients of prestigious awards and grants from the Fulbright Program, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation.