Pittsburgh’s Urban League President Esther L. Bush To Speak at Commencement

MEADVILLE, Pa. – May 10, 2009 – The Commencement ceremony at Allegheny College, scheduled for today at 9:30 a.m., will honor 480 graduates and feature an address by Esther L. Bush, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh.

During the ceremonies, which will be held on Bentley Lawn, honorary degrees will be conferred upon Bush, Anthony D. Cortese, co-founder and president of Second Nature in Boston, Mass., and Myra Janco Daniels, founder, chairman and CEO of the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples, Fla.

Esther L. Bush

Bush became involved in the Urban League movement in 1980 when she accepted the position of assistant director of the Labor Education Advancement Program for the National Urban League in New York City. From there she served first as director of the New York Urban League Staten Island Branch, then as director of its Manhattan Branch. Before returning to her hometown of Pittsburgh in 1994, Bush was president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Hartford. She is the first female to serve in each of her last four positions in the Urban League movement.

Bush was appointed to serve on the: Pennsylvania Commission for Crime and Delinquency, Pennsylvania State Board of Education, Law Enforcement and Community Relations Task Force, the Governor’s Commission on Academic Standards and the Voting Modernization Task Force. She served on the executive committee of the National Urban League Association of Executives and is chairman of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School Board of Trustees. She is a member of the International Women’s Forum’s Western Pennsylvania Chapter and serves on the International Women’s Forum Board of Directors. In addition, Bush is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Judicial Evaluation Committee and is on, among others, the boards of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Systems, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Carnegie Science Center.

Bush received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Hartford in 1997 and an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Carlow College in 2004. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Morgan State University and a graduate degree from The Johns Hopkins University.

Anthony D. Cortese

Anthony D. Cortese is co-founder and president of Second Nature, co-organizer of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment and co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. He is also co-founder and co-coordinator of the Higher Education Association Sustainability Consortium.

Cortese was formerly the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. He was the first dean of environmental programs at Tufts University and founded the Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute in 1989 that helped integrate environmental and sustainability perspectives in more than 175 courses.

Cortese was a founding member of the board of directors of The Natural Step U.S. and of the Environmental Business Council of New England. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been a consultant to United Nations Environmental Program and a member of the EPA Science Advisory Board and the President’s Council on Sustainable Development’s Education Task Force

Cortese has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tufts University in civil and environmental engineering and a doctor of science in environmental health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Myra Janco Daniels

Myra Janco Daniels, a former Chicago-based advertising executive, is the founder, chairman and CEO of the Philharmonic Center for the Arts and the Naples Museum of Art.

She was president of Draper Daniels and, before that, was executive vice president of the firm Roche, Rickerd, Henri, Hurst. She also ran her own agency, Wabash Advertising, in Terre Haute, Ind. Daniels was the first woman in the nation to head a major national advertising firm and became the youngest person to be honored as National Advertising Woman of the Year by the Advertising Federation of America.

Daniels earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business and communications from Indiana State University. She held a six-year associate professorship in marketing and advertising at Indiana University, where she pursued doctoral studies in marketing management.

Daniels is a former member of Florida Arts Council and has won numerous honors, including a Jefferson Award for community service and an honorary doctorate from the University of North Carolina Asheville.