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Arne Duncan’s Profile: What He’s Done and Where He’s Been

Arne Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1987, majoring in sociology. He was co-captain of Harvard’s basketball team and was named a first team Academic All-American. From 1987-1991, Mr. Duncan played professional basketball in Australia, where he also worked with children who were wards of the state.

He’s also showcased his skills on the court with President-elect Barack Obama as well as former NBA super-star Michael Jordan, according to media reports.

Duncan, a Hyde Park native, comes into education naturally. His father was a University of Chicago psychology professor. His mother has run an after-school tutoring center on Chicago’s South Side since 1960.

Before joining Chicago Public Schools in 1998, Duncan was executive director of the Ariel Education Initiative, a nonprofit foundation that seeks to create opportunities for poor schoolchildren on Chicago’s South Side. The foundation offers mentoring and tutoring programs, after-school programs and financial help for continuing the childrens’ education.

In June 2001, Mayor Richard M. Daley named Duncan Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools. 

Duncan currently serves on the Boards of the Ariel Education Initiative, Chicago Cares, The Children’s Center, the Golden Apple Foundation, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Jobs for America’s Graduates, Junior Achievement, the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Foundation, Renaissance Schools Fund, Scholarship Chicago and the South Side YMCA.

He also serves on the Board of Overseers for Harvard College and the Visiting Committees for Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.  He was a fellow in the Leadership Greater Chicago’s class of 1995, and a member of the Aspen Institute’s Henry Crown Fellowship Program, Class of 2002.  He has received honorary degrees from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Lake Forest College and National Louis University.

In 2006, the City Club of Chicago named Duncan Citizen of the Year.

– Source: Chicago Public Schools and Staff Reports

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