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HUD secretary to speak at Claflin commencement

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Marcia L. Fudge, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will be the keynote speaker for Claflin University's 2021 Fall Commencement Convocation at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 10, at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex.

Tickets for Claflin’s Commencement Convocation are available only to graduates and their guests. However, the ceremony will be livestreamed on Claflin’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ClaflinUniversity1869.

The university will confer bachelor’s and master’s degrees to more than 160 graduates.

Dr. Henry N. Tisdale '65, will receive the honorary doctor of science for his inspirational and visionary leadership during his remarkable 25-year tenure as Claflin’s eighth president. Tisdale's passion for academic excellence was the catalyst for the university’s emergence as a premier liberal arts university. Claflin confers honorary degrees to distinguished individuals whose values and accomplishments exemplify the university’s mission and ideals.

Fudge is the 18th secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Throughout her career, Fudge has worked to help low-income families, seniors and communities across the country.

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Fudge served as U.S. representative for the 11th Congressional District of Ohio from 2008 to March 9, 2021. She was a member of several congressional caucuses and past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. As a member of Congress, Fudge earned a reputation for tackling the unique challenges of her district by working with her congressional delegation and across political ideologies.

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In 1999, Fudge was elected the first female and first African American mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, a position she held for two terms. As mayor of Warrensville Heights, she adopted one of the first vacant and abandoned property ordinances in the state. She worked with local officials to develop a task force to protect against predatory lending, and she secured the inclusion of property maintenance grants in the Warrensville Revitalization Action Plan. Additionally, she brought new residential development to the city. She addressed the city’s growing foreclosure crisis by forming a local partnership that helped residents maintain the financial security needed to buy or keep a home.

As a former mayor, Fudge has seen firsthand the need for economic development and affordable housing. She prioritized improving the city’s tax base and expanded opportunities for affordable housing.

Fudge believes our housing issues do not fit into a one-size-fits-all approach. She recognizes the need for policies and programs that can adapt to meet a community’s unique housing challenges. She is committed to making the dream of homeownership - and the security and wealth creation that comes with it - a reality for more Americans.

Under Fudge’s leadership, HUD will work to eradicate the growing homelessness issue; put an end to discriminatory practices in the housing market; and ensure that our fair housing rules are doing what they are supposed to do: open the door for families who have been systematically locked out for generations, to buy homes and have a fair shot at achieving the American dream.

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Fudge’s career in public service began in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, rising to the rank of director of budget and finance. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business from Ohio State University and a law degree from Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall School of Law. Fudge is a past national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and a member of its Greater Cleveland Alumnae Chapter.

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