2014 Commencement Speaker
Cecilia Muñoz is the assistant to the president and director of the Domestic Policy Council, which coordinates the domestic policy-making process in the White House.
Prior to this role, she served as deputy assistant to the president and director of Intergovernmental Affairs where she oversaw the Obama Administration’s relationships with state and local governments.
She will speak at the commencement ceremony for American University’s College of Arts and Sciences at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 11 in Bender Arena. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.
Before joining the Obama Administration, Muñoz served as senior vice president for the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization. She supervised NCLR’s policy staff covering a variety of issues of importance to Latinos, including civil rights, employment, poverty, farmworker issues, education, health, housing, and immigration. Her particular area of expertise is immigration policy, which she covered at NCLR for twenty years.
Muñoz has testified numerous times before Congress and appears regularly in the Spanish- and English-language media. Her media credits include the Today Show, Good Morning America, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Dateline NBC, O’Reilly Factor, CNN’s Situation Room, and National Public Radio.
Muñoz is the former chair of the board of Center for Community Change, and served on the U.S. Programs Board of the Open Society Institute and the board of directors of the Atlantic Philanthropies and the National Immigration Forum.
Muñoz is the daughter of immigrants from Bolivia and was born in Detroit, Michigan. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and her master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley. In June 2000, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship in recognition of her work on immigration and civil rights. In 2007, she served as the Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. She has received numerous other awards and recognitions from various sources, including the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and a variety of local non-profit organizations.