Graduation & Commencement

Commencement Speaker


2023 Commencement Speaker

Ambassador Christopher Lu

Christopher P. Lu was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations for Management and Reform on January 4, 2022, after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He was nominated by President Biden on April 27, 2021.

As one of five ambassadors at the U.S. Mission to the UN, Ambassador Lu works to advance American foreign policy interests in all facets of the UN’s work, including peace and security, development assistance, and human rights. Ambassador Lu leads the U.S. Mission’s negotiations on the UN budget, promotes oversight of UN programs, and oversees reform initiatives. 

During his public service career, Ambassador Lu has worked in all three branches of the federal government. From 2014 to 2017, he served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor. In this role, Ambassador Lu was the chief operating officer of a department with 17,000 employees and a $12 billion budget. The son of immigrants, Ambassador Lu was the second Asian American in history to become a deputy secretary of a cabinet department.

From 2009 to 2013, he served as White House Cabinet Secretary and Assistant to the President, where he was President Obama’s primary liaison to the federal agencies. At the end of the first term, President Obama said, “Through his dedication and tireless efforts, Chris has overseen one of the most stable and effective cabinets in history — a cabinet that has produced extraordinary accomplishments over the past four years.”

During the Obama Administration, Ambassador Lu also co-chaired the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Prior to his service in the executive branch, Ambassador Lu was Legislative Director and Acting Chief of Staff for then-Senator Obama. The day after Election Day 2008, Ambassador Lu was named Executive Director of the Obama-Biden transition planning efforts.

A lawyer by training, Ambassador Lu began his career as a law clerk for Judge Robert E. Cowen on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and a litigation attorney at Sidley Austin. He also spent eight years as Deputy Chief Counsel of the House Oversight Committee.

Outside of government, Ambassador Lu has been a senior advisor at the global technology company FiscalNote, and a senior fellow at the University of Virginia Miller Center. He is the co-editor of the book Triumphs and Tragedies of the Modern Congress, and a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

Ambassador Lu is a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. He is also the recipient of an honorary doctorate from MacMurray College.


Past Speakers

View Past Commencement Speakers to read about past speakers at SMC's commencement ceremonies.