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Obama Cabinet member to headline UT Arlington commencement

News Release — 10 April 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact: Herb Booth, (817) 272-7075, hbooth@uta.edu

ARLINGTON - The Hon. Ron Kirk, confirmed in March as President Obama's U.S. Trade Representative, will headline May commencement exercises at The University of Texas at Arlington.

Ron KirkKirk, who served as Dallas mayor from 1995-2002, is scheduled to speak at 8 p.m. Friday, May 15, at Graduation Celebration at Maverick Stadium, 1307 W. Mitchell St. The event will move to Texas Hall, 701 W. Nedderman Drive, in case of bad weather.

As Trade Representative, Kirk's office is responsible for developing and recommending trade policy to President Obama. The office negotiates directly with foreign governments to create trade agreements, resolve disputes and participates in global trade policy organizations, according to the USTR Web site. The USTR was founded in 1962.

One of Kirk's top accomplishments as mayor was securing support for the American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars. He also marshaled support for the Dallas Trinity River Project, which calls for a network of parks, trails and highways within the main watershed in North Texas.

Kirk, 54, was Dallas' first African-American mayor. He built a reputation as a coalition builder among the African-American community and business.

Kirk also is a former Texas secretary of state under Gov. Ann Richards. He resigned as Dallas mayor in 2001 to run against then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, now a U.S. senator.

Kirk is a partner in the Vinson & Elkins law firm. In 2008, the National Law Journal named him one of the 50 most influential minority lawyers in the country. Kirk received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and his bachelor of arts degree from Austin College.

Go to the UT Arlington Graduation Celebration Web site for more information about commencement schedules, tickets and policies.

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