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Commencement 2012

State Rep. Jennifer Mann to Address Cedar Crest College’s 142nd Commencement on May 12

Representattive Jennifer MannLehigh Valley State Representative Jennifer Mann will deliver the commencement address to approximately 465 graduates at Cedar Crest College’s 142nd Commencement on Saturday, May 12, beginning at 11 a.m. under a tent in the center of campus.

Cedar Crest College’s mission is to instill in all women the desire and confidence to become leaders to the best of their abilities, and Jennifer Mann certainly sets a high standard.

“Jennifer Mann has worked tirelessly and successfully on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania—and particularly women—and she’s a fine role model for our students,” said Cedar Crest College President Carmen Twillie Ambar, who will confer the baccalaureate and graduate degrees. “It’s really a great honor and privilege to have Jennifer share her personal story and insights with our students as they set out to become committed leaders and productive members of society.”

For the 14 years she’s been in office, Mann has been one of a handful of women voting on critical legislation that greatly impacts women of Pennsylvania and their families, including the creation and fine tuning of Megan’s Law, which requires sex offenders to register with the state.

The lifelong Allentown resident said she sees the urgent need for women to have more input on these and other issues of importance to them, and said the 22,000-plus hours of community service Cedar Crest College students perform every year shows their commitment to making society better.

“I’m proud and excited to be speaking at Cedar Crest College’s Commencement, and to be a small part of such an important day for these young people,” Mann said. “The College puts a great deal of focus on leadership and specifically women’s leadership, and it’s important that these students aren’t afraid to step outside of their comfort zone to make a contribution and have an impact. You can’t wait for other people to change things you don’t like. I hope to inspire them to continue to change their world.”

As a former small-business owner and Lehigh University graduate with degrees in government and economics, Mann’s legislative focus is a comprehensive effort to support job creation in the Commonwealth through investments in infrastructure, education and business-friendly economic policies.

She participated in the launch of the Cedar Crest College School of Adult and Graduate Education (SAGE) in November, where she said of the ambitious initiative: “In today’s world and with the challenging and ever-changing economics of our time, so many people have to retool, rework and refocus what it is that they’re doing not just with their time and effort but for that bottom line—to earn a paycheck. To make that more convenient and to create more opportunities is pivotal. To adjust programs and the curriculum with the demands of the economy is really crucial.”

Mann serves on the board for the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and as chairwoman of the Finance Committee for the Team Pennsylvania Foundation—a unique organization that helps bridge the gap between the private sector and government to help businesses expand and create jobs.
She also works to encourage a rebirth of community neighborhoods in cities like Allentown with her support of programs like the Main Street and Elm Street initiatives and a strong emphasis on public safety and reducing crime, and supports community organizations that work to build a better Lehigh Valley.

She serves on the board of the Arthritis Foundation of the Lehigh Valley, the Executive Board of the Minsi Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Boards of Associates for the Allentown Art Museum, Muhlenberg College and Cedar Crest College and the Honorary Board of Junior Achievement of the Lehigh Valley. She serves as a government liaison for the Program for Women and Families, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence.

Mann has announced that she will leave office at the end of her term in November 2012. She said she plans to continue advocating for the many organizations and programs she supports, while considering options for the next phase of her career.