Gates Foundation Executive to Speak at DCCC Commencement

Suzanne Walsh

March 2, 2015 – Davidson County Community College will welcome Suzanne Walsh as the college’s keynote speaker for the May 2015 Commencement.

Walsh is deputy director of postsecondary education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In this role, she leads the foundation’s efforts in institutional redesign strategies that are aimed at helping more students complete their college education.

“Suzanne Walsh is involved in important education reform work at the Gates Foundation, work that makes a difference for students and communities across the country, including here at DCCC,” says Dr. Mary Rittling, DCCC president. “The initiatives she leads make college completion more likely, and that is something we have worked hard locally to improve in recent years by helping students visualize a clear path for their program of study. We look forward to having her join us at Commencement as we celebrate what will be the start of many new careers and dreams for our graduates.”

Before joining the Gates Foundation, Walsh worked at The Lumina Foundation for Education, where she managed an initiative to increase college productivity by changing the way higher education does business. She also worked at the The Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh, where her portfolio included community colleges, universities, workforce development, tech commercialization and transfer, city/county consolidation, immigration and regional economic development. She began working with community colleges as the Coordinator of Special Projects at Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio.

Walsh has a law degree and master’s degree in social work from Case Western Reserve University, a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University, and an associate degree in applied science from Hudson Valley Community College.

She is a member of the Seattle CityClub board, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations board and is on the advisory boards for Roadtrip Nation, as well as education start-ups Uncollege and Sokanu. She is also a proud judge for the “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest.

The college will hold its 51st Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 16 at the Davidson campus.

*Editor’s Note: The photo shows Suzanne Walsh, deputy director of postsecondary education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and keynote speaker for DCCC’s May 2015 Commencement.

Founded in 1963, Davidson County Community College is noted for its quality educational programs and services. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, DCCC offers studies in more than 50 degree programs. A fully accredited, multi-campus college, DCCC celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 and is looking forward to serving students in Davidson and Davie counties for many years to come. The college is committed to developing minds, inspiring imaginations and preparing students for enhanced career and educational opportunities within a changing global environment. Visit Davidson County Community College at