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Flagler College unveils esteemed Presidential Speaker Series

Oct 11, 2023

This inaugural year of the Flagler College Presidential Speaker Series brings distinguished thought leaders to campus to share global perspectives, inspirational stories, and career insights. Students, faculty, and community members will gain unparalleled wisdom into the minds of forward thinkers.

President John Delaney is honored to welcome esteemed leaders of a national caliber to Flagler for thoughtful conversations about their areas of expertise. This new speaker series will begin with former U.S. Secretary Elaine Chao’s presentation “Innovation & The Transportation System of the Future.” 

All lectures are free and open to the public. Please visit for information on additional speakers. 

If you need to request an accommodation due to a disability for reasonable access or participation, please contact the Director of the Disability Resource Center, Phil Pownall, at If you need an ASL interpreter to participate, please contact   

To register for the Presidential Speaker Series on Oct. 30 featuring Elaine Chao, visit this ticketing link.  


“Innovation & The Transportation System of the Future” 
Elaine Chao | Oct. 30, 2023  
24th U.S. Secretary of Labor and 18th U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao arrived in the U.S. in third grade, receiving her citizenship at age 19. Chao earned her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and is the recipient of 38 honorary degrees. 

When Elaine Chao was unanimously confirmed to her first cabinet post as U. S. Secretary of Labor, she became the first woman of Asian American & Pacific Islander heritage to serve in the President’s cabinet in history. In that role, Chao advocated updating outdated regulations and training programs to empower workers, and she set new records for workplace safety and health, compensation, and retirement security. 

As the U. S. Secretary of Transportation, safety was always number one.   Secretary Chao invested more than $300 billion in infrastructure over three and a half years. She promoted American innovation in autonomous vehicles, drones, and commercial space. During the pandemic, she kept transportation networks open, safe, and moving. 

Prior to her service in the Presidential Cabinet, Secretary Chao served as President and CEO of United Way of America as well as Director of the Peace Corps, where she launched the first Peace Corps programs in the newly independent Baltic states and the former republics of the former Soviet Union, including Ukraine.  

Secretary Chao currently serves on the boards of new economy technology companies. . She is also a director and advisor on many nonprofit boards, including Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors, Harvard Business School Global Advisory Board, United Way Worldwide, Los Angeles 2028 Organizing Committee of Olympic and Paralympic Games (LA28,) Ford’s Theater, Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute, the Smithsonian Institute Asian Pacific American Center, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 

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