Keynote Speakers

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Walter E. Massey

Walter E. Massey, Ph.D., is the former president of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a post he assumed in the fall of 2010. He is also the president emeritus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, having served as President there from 1995 to 2007. Immediately prior to that post, Massey was provost and senior vice president for academic affairs of the University of California system. In that role he oversaw academic and research planning and policy, budget planning and allocations, and programmatic oversight of three national Department of Energy laboratories.

Additional credentials to Massey's distinguished career in academics include serving as Professor of Physics and Dean of the College at Brown University and a Professorship at the University of Chicago.

A prominent physicist, Massey served as Director of the Argonne National Laboratory from 1979 to 1984 and was Professor of Physics and Vice President of Research at the University of Chicago from 1979 to 1991. He also served as Director of the National Science Foundation from 1991 to 1993, appointed by former President George H.W. Bush.

Massey has notably been the recipient of more than 30 honorary degrees from institutions that include Yale University, Northwestern University, Amherst, and Ohio State University. Much of his research has involved quantum liquids and solids, while his written work discusses university-industry partnerships and the issue of technology transfer. More specifically, it addresses the distribution of skills among institutions, and developing greater accessibility to new technology and materials.

Throughout his academic career, Massey has been an advocate for issues surrounding minority students and education. He developed and directed the Inner-City Teachers of Science Program (ICTOS) while at Brown University, where college students studying education became tutors and mentors in urban classrooms. He was also a founding trustee of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.

In the corporate sector, Massey has served as director and Chairman of the Board of Bank of America. He is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Council of Foreign Relations. As an educator, administrator, corporate leader, and scientist, Massey's varied experience is a great asset to the SAIC community.


Dr. Janice Jackson

Dr. Janice K. Jackson has been immersed in Chicago Public Schools her entire life. She was a CPS student from Head Start through 12th grade, then began her teaching career at Chicago’s South Shore High School. Since that time, Dr. Jackson has served as a principal, a Network Chief, the Chief Education Officer, and now, as Chief Executive Officer for CPS, the third largest school district in the country.

Dr. Jackson is responsible for all CPS departments, including the Office of Teaching and Learning, which provides high-quality curriculum to engage and empower students, and the Office of College and Career Success, which works to guarantee that every student in every school has the resources they need to be successful in college, career and life. Other departments under her purview include the Office of Language and Cultural Education, which ensures that a language barrier never stands in the way of a child’s success, and the Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services, which provides students in special education with a high-quality academic experience that is tailored to their unique needs.

During her tenure as Chief Education Officer in 2015, Dr. Jackson has focused on building excellence, equity and access across the District, especially with regard to CPS high schools. Through a comprehensive High School Strategy, she is raising both the bar and the stakes for these crucial academic years, working to ensure that every student in Chicago has a quality high school option within three miles of their home.

Dr. Jackson was also the driving force behind GoCPS, the District’s first common application for all CPS and charter high schools. Launched in October 2017, this application system has dramatically simplified the high school application process while improving access and equity for all CPS high school students.

These combined efforts have propelled CPS students to a record-high graduation rate of 77.3 percent, and Dr. Jackson’s support of a graduation requirement insisting that all students have a solid post-secondary plan is ensuring that Chicago’s youth leave the classroom fully prepared for what comes next.

As a lifelong educator, Dr. Jackson is committed to providing all schools with a clear framework for excellence. This includes high-quality curricular options aimed at minimizing the achievement gap, especially among minority students. The evidence of her success can be seen in rising standardized test scores, especially among English Learners, whose progress led the way to CPS students once again outpacing their peers nationally on the 2016-2017 NWEA exam.

Dr. Jackson is a progressive, forward-thinking educator who believes in setting the bar high. Her Three-Year Vision for CPS, which was unveiled in 2016, is a comprehensive, research-based strategy that will launch CPS to even higher levels of student achievement. The vision focuses on promoting academic quality, building stakeholder trust and integrity, and achieving fiscal stability, and is a carefully crafted plan for guiding work across the District.

Dr. Jackson holds a Master's in Leadership and Administration and a Doctorate in Education in Policy Studies in Urban School Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was a member of the University of Chicago’s Network for College Success, and was also honored by the National Council of Negro Women Chicago as a Woman Making History.

In her spare time, Dr. Jackson enjoys spending time with her family, especially her daughter, Tori, and her stepson, Torrence, Jr.

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Shundrawn A. Thomas

Shundrawn A. Thomas serves as President of Northern Trust Asset Management where his responsibilities include developing long-term strategy, executing operating plans, cultivating client relationships, managing vendor relationships and developing talented professionals. He also serves as a member of the Management Group for Northern Trust Corporation.

Previously, Shundrawn served as Executive Vice President, Head of Funds and Managed Accounts. In this capacity he oversaw the development, management and distribution of Northern Funds, Northern Institutional Funds, FlexShares Exchange Traded Funds as well as the Managed Accounts practice which provides investment advisory solutions to clients. Shundrawn also served as President and Chief Executive of Northern Trust Securities, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Northern Trust Corporation.

Prior to joining the asset management executive team, Shundrawn served as Head of Corporate Strategy for Northern Trust Corporation. He reported directly to the Chief Executive Officer and was responsible corporate strategic planning and key strategic initiatives. Prior to joining Northern Trust, Shundrawn served as a vice president in the equities division of Goldman Sachs. Shundrawn was also previously employed with Morgan Stanley, holding positions in fixed income sales, trading and research.

Shundrawn is widely respected by professional colleagues for his dedication to excellence and his principled business approach. In 2009, Shundrawn was recognized by Diversity MBA Magazine as one of the nation’s top 50 diverse executives under the age of 50. In 2011, Black Enterprise identified Shundrawn as one of the 75 Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street. Shundrawn is also an author and has written and published three books.

Shundrawn currently serves as a trustee for Wheaton College and the Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago. Shundrawn also serves as board governor for the Investment Company Institute. Shundrawn is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago.


Panelists, Moderators & Special Guests

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