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November 25, 2009

Burkhalter to deliver fall commencement address at ULM

Elsie Palmer Burkhalter, Board of Supervisors chair for the University of Louisiana System, will deliver the fall commencement address at 2 p.m., Dec. 19, at Fant-Ewing Coliseum on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Burkhalter, a lifelong resident of St. Tammany Parish, is president of St. Tammany Federation of Teachers and School Employees. As president, she helped the federation grow into one of the most influential education organizations in the parish and one of the largest local chapters of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. The St. Tammany federation is the only AFT local in Louisiana to have "wall-to-wall" representation, bargaining for all eight units of school employees in the district.

New Orleans Magazine recently named Burkhalter as one of “50 People to Watch” and City Business Magazine also featured Burkhalter in both 2006 and 2007.

Burkhalter, a delegate to the Democratic National Convention for the past six years, was named a 2008 super delegate. She was among 22 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in July 1992 honored for her contributions to the community as part of the America the Beautiful salute. Burkhalter and the other delegates represented a cross-section of outstanding Americans.

In addition to her duties as an AFT local president, Burkhalter also serves as a vice president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and is a member of the AFT Teachers program and policy council. The American Federation of Teachers represents the economic, social and professional interests of classroom teachers and is an affiliated international union of the AFL-CIO.

Burkhalter earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge and a Masters of Education from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. She formerly taught in the St. Tammany Parish School System.

“I am so honored that President Cofer invited me to speak at the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s fall commencement because graduation is the most rewarding experience. It is the fulfillment of dreams and hard work, and every student who receives a diploma makes our state a better place,” Burkhalter said.

“After serving 16 years on the Board of Supervisors, this will be my first direct address to a graduating class in our system and will surely be a capstone to my two years as Board Chair.”

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