CABE CEO Jan Gustafson-Corea Announced as Whittier College’s 2022 Commencement Speaker

April 29, 2022

Bilingual education leader and advocate Jan Gustafson-Corea will address Whittier College's graduating class of 2022 as the featured speaker during the College’s 119th Commencement ceremony.

In addition, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) expert Shaun Harper will be an honored guest at the 2022 celebration. The ceremony will be held at Memorial Stadium on the Whittier College campus on Tuesday, March 24. During the ceremony, Gustafson-Corea and Harper will each be presented with Whittier College’s highest honor: an honorary doctorate of humane letters (L.H.D.). 

“Honorary degrees are reserved for those individuals whose lives personify the values celebrated by Whittier College,” said President Linda Oubré. “As leaders in equity and inclusion, Jan and Shaun are perfect examples of our College ethos. I look forward to welcoming them as official members of the Whittier community. Already, we are fortunate to count them both as partners in our work to promote DEI in the service of student success.”

Over the last few years, the College's Education Department has worked closely with Gustafson-Corea, chief executive officer (CEO) of the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) to develop innovative efforts to increase the number of bilingual educators in schools throughout the state. Most recently, Professor of Education Ivannia Soto has collaborated with CABE to develop and promote Whittier’s Bilingual Authorization (BILA) Program, which is designed to prepare bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural educators, who will teach in a variety of bilingual settings.

In 2020, Whittier joined the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance, led by Harper, executive director of the USC Race and Equity Center. This partnership offers the College professional development in diverse areas of racial equity and allows for participation in three rigorous, expert-validated, quantitative surveys that measure belonging and inclusion among students, faculty, and staff and provide appraisals of the institution’s commitment to equity. 

Jan Gustafson-CoreaJan Gustafson-Corea has been the CEO of CABE since 2012. CABE promotes a bold vision of biliteracy, multicultural competency, and educational equity by providing key support to educators, parents, policymakers, and other partners through professional learning, educational conferences, parent and family engagement and leadership training, professional development, coaching in districts and schools, and advocacy at the state and federal levels. 

Gustafson-Corea has over 30 years of experience working in education with great emphasis on working in multilingual and culturally diverse settings. Gustafson-Corea has taught in various settings: K-6th grade, community adult education, as well as university and graduate adjunct, teaching positions. Prior to joining CABE, she served as principal of the Norton Space and Aeronautics Academy, a dual language immersion charter school in San Bernardino. She also served as senior executive director for 21st Century Learning and Accountability for the San Francisco Unified School District and director of the English Learner/PROMISE Unit of the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.  She is fully bilingual/biliterate in English and Spanish and holds a master’s degree in elementary education with a focus on bilingual and multicultural education from Arizona State University. 

Shaun HarperIn addition to being the founder and executive director of the USC Race and Equity Center, Shaun Harper is the Clifford and Betty Allen Professor at the University of Southern California. Harper has published 12 books and is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and other academic publications. He is the recipient of dozens of top honors in his field. Prior to joining the USC faculty in 2017, he spent a decade at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a tenured professor.

A prolific and energizing speaker on a range of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) topics, Harper has delivered hundreds of keynote addresses around the world and advises CEOs and leaders on DEI strategy. Harper has worked with more than 400 businesses, firms, and educational institutions. His research has been cited in nearly 18,000 published studies. In addition, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and hundreds of other news outlets have quoted Harper and featured his research.

Harper has a bachelor's degree from Albany State Univerity, a master's degree, and Ph.D. from Indiana University.