2013 Commencement Speaker - Charisse R. Lillie, Vice President of Community Investment of Comcast Corporation and President of the Comcast Foundation
Cheyney University President Michelle Howard-Vital announced that the 2013 Cheyney University commencement ceremonies will take place on Saturday, May 18 at 11 AM in the historic quadrangle on campus.
Ms. Lillie has a very significant role nationally and internationally with her work at Comcast Corporation, the nation’s largest cable company, and now, her role is even more important with Comcast’s recent purchase of a 100% interest in NBCUniversal.”
Ms. Lillie joined Comcast in 2005 as Vice President, Human Resources-Comcast Corporation, and Senior Vice-President, Human Resources-Comcast Cable. The Houston, Texas native received her B.A. in 1973 from Wesleyan University - cum laude; her J.D. in 1976 from Temple Law School - Dean’s Honor List; and her LL.M. in 1982 from Yale Law School.
Ms. Lillie has been a trailblazer for African Americans and for women. She was the first African American woman to be named City Solicitor of the City of Philadelphia—the City’s top attorney, in charge of the City of Philadelphia Law Department; first to be named Chair of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and first to be named as Chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. She also served as Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Conference of Chairmen of the Federal Reserve.
Ms. Lillie’s law practice included the representation of employers and management in a wide variety of labor and employment matters, primarily in federal court. She served as an advisor to clients on diversity and anti-discrimination issues. She is a frequent lecturer and panelist regarding talent management, recruitment and retention strategies, and diversity. Prior to joining the Comcast Foundation, she was a partner in the law firm of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, in Philadelphia from January, 1992 to February, 2005. She was the first African American to serve as Chair of the Litigation Department from 2002 to 2005, and was a member of the Employment and Labor Law Group of the firm.
Her legal experience also included positions as Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Deputy Director, Community Legal Services, Inc., Professor at Villanova Law School, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, General Counsel to the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia and City Solicitor of the City of Philadelphia.
In addition, Ms. Lillie has been a member of many civic commissions, including the Independent Charter Commission, the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Task Force, the MOVE Commission, and the Philadelphia Election Reform Task Force. She is a former Chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Racial Bias in the Judicial System Committee. She is a member of the Forum of Executive Women and is the former president of the Board of the Juvenile Law Center.
Ms. Lillie is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Howard University, NBCUniversal Foundation, The Franklin Institute, the Board of Directors of the American Arbitration Association, the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, and the Board of Governors of the Pyramid Club. She served as a Trustee of Friends Select School from 1994 to 2002, and 2003 to 2006, serving as President of the Board of Trustees for two years. She was elected to membership in The Executive Leadership Council in 2008.
She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA, in 2005. In 2011, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Peirce College in Philadelphia, PA.