Former labor secretary to give Krannert keynote address

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Tickets are on sale for the annual Krannert Leadership Speaker Series dinner, which raises money for scholarships.

Elaine Chao, labor secretary in President George W. Bush’s administration, will be the keynote speaker at the Oct. 1 event, the ninth in the series.

Elaine Chao, labor secretary in G. W. Bush administration, will keynote the October 1 Krannert Leadership Speaker Series dinner.

Elaine Chao, labor secretary in G. W. Bush administration, will keynote the October 1 Krannert Leadership Speaker Series dinner.

The series has raised more than $125,000 in scholarship money for undergraduate and graduate students in the Krannert School of Management.

Chao, labor secretary for the eight years of the Bush administration, was the first Asian Pacific American woman to serve in a president’s cabinet.

She focused her tenure on increasing the competitiveness of the work force in the 21st century workplace. The U.S. Department of Labor updated regulations to provide millions of low-wage, white-collar workers with strengthened overtime protection. In 2002, the department led the effort to resolve a West Coast ports dispute that was costing up to $1 billion a day. In 2003, union financial disclosure regulations were updated to give rank-and-file members more information about how dues are spent. In 2006, the Pension Protection Act was signed into law, benefiting 44 million Americans who are under defined benefit plans. In 2008, the department updated the Family and Medical Leave Act to give military families job-protected rights to care for wounded service men and women.

Chao previously held positions in government and the private sector, among them director of the Peace Corps, deputy secretary of the Department of Transportation, president and CEO of United Way of America, and distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Chao, who immigrated to the United States at age 8, has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Mount Holyoke College. She is married to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

The dinner will be at 6:30 p.m. in Purdue Memorial Union. Deadline for reserving tickets is Sept. 11. For information and to reserve tickets, contact Tim Newton, Krannert director of external relations, at 765-496-7271 or e-mail

Sponsors for the leadership series are Boston Scientific, Saint-Gobain Containers, Air Products, Accenture, WellPoint, Lafayette Printing, Grow Indiana Media Ventures and Purdue alumni.

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