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Douglass High School graduate to give Carlton College graduation address

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Emmitt C. House, Class of 1971One of the graduates of the last segregated class of Douglass High School will give the graduation address next Friday at Carlton College in Northfield, Minn. Here’s a news release from the school about Emmitt House’s summer commencement address:

Emmitt C. House, Carleton Class of 1971, will present the keynote address for the Carleton Liberal Arts Experience (CLAE) commencement on Friday, July 13 at 9:30 a.m. in the Weitz Center for Creativity Theater. House will address the 52 CLAE scholars and the Carleton community, speaking about his life experiences including navigating the college search process, his undergraduate education, graduate education, and his career as a lawyer.

House is a native of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where he was raised in a family that settled in Oklahoma before statehood and participated in the 1889 Land Run. He attended Oklahoma City public schools and graduated from the last racially segregated class at Douglass High School. House chose to pursue a liberal arts education at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, graduating in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. While at Carleton, he was active in many student activities, including serving on the Student Senate. House and a visiting professor, Dr. Hagolani, organized and led the first group of Carleton students to participate in an academic seminar in Ivory Coast, West Africa. After graduation from Carleton, he was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and spent several years in Europe and West Africa studying ethnography. He subsequently attended Northwestern University School of Law where he received a Juris Doctor in l978.

After settling in Chicago, Illinois, House practiced law in the energy arena for 35 years. He was an in-house counsel for several major enterprises including a large utility conglomerate and a multinational oil company. He served as General Counsel for an energy marketing company before transitioning to the private practice of law for the past 15 years. He was a partner in two minority-owned law firms in Chicago and has served on the Board of Directors of a major natural gas company. In his law practice, from which he retired in Spring 2012, House represented utilities, energy producers and marketers, wind and solar developers and many other entities, handling a broad range of corporate and commercial matters in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Over the years, House has been involved extensively in civic and community affairs in Chicago. He has been active in political and community affairs and has served on numerous boards of organizations as wide ranging as public radio, youth development and public policy promotion involving housing, immigration and diversity. House is an enthusiastic supporter of a liberal arts education and has served as an Alumni Trustee on the Carleton College Board of Trustees. In his free time, Emmitt enjoys fishing, reading and playing golf. His current passion is creative writing.

House’s appearance is the culmination of Carleton College’s annual CLAE program, an inspiring summer program designed for the best and brightest college-bound students representing high schools across the country. The Carleton Liberal Arts Experience (CLAE) select 50 high school students who have just completed their sophomore year and brings them to Carleton, all expenses paid, for a one-week summer program. The CLAE program introduces the strengths of a liberal arts education through an array of courses in science, art, social sciences, and technology.

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Carrie Coppernoll

Carrie Coppernoll is a columnist and reporter. She was named the top personal columnist in Oklahoma in 2009 and 2010 by the Associated Press and Association of Newspaper Editors. She was also named the 2008 Journalist of the Year by the Oklahoma... Read more ›