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Jesse White to receive honorary doctorate from NIU

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Northern Illinois University will confer an honorary doctorate on Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. He will receive the degree during the Graduate School commencement ceremony on Friday, May 13.

Born in 1934 in downstate Alton, White earned his bachelor’s degree from what is now known as Alabama State University.

Returning home to Illinois, he founded the internationally known Jesse White Tumbling Team in 1959 to provide a positive alternative for children living in public housing around Chicago.

White started his political career as an Illinois General Assembly legislator in 1976.

He is the state’s longest-serving, and first Black, secretary of state.

NIU’s honorary doctorate is White’s first.

White previously announced that he would not run for office after his term ends in 2023.