Sen. Carl Levin and Ismael Ahmed, director of state Department of Human Services, will speak at UM-Dearborn commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 3

April 7, 2009

DEARBORN / April 7, 2009---Ismael Ahmed, director of the Michigan Department of Human Services, and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin will be the main speakers at UM-Dearborn’s commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 3.

Ahmed will speak at the morning ceremony, beginning at 10:30 a.m., for graduates of the campus’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and School of Management. Levin will speak at the afternoon ceremony, beginning at 2:30 p.m., for graduates of the campus’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters and School of Education.

“Through their leadership, character and values, these two speakers have set an outstanding example for the type of community-minded citizens we expect our graduates to become,” according to Chancellor Daniel Little. “We know that their insights will add a great deal of meaning to this commencement celebration for our graduates and their families.”

Ahmed, who received his bachelor’s degree from UM-Dearborn in 1975, was appointed by Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm as director of the Department of Human Services in September 2007. In that position, Ahmed leads the state's second largest agency with nearly 10,000 employees and a $4 billion-plus annual budget.

Ahmed was one of the founders of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) in the early 1970s, and was appointed the organization’s executive director in 1983. ACCESS is the largest Arab-American human services organization in the United States offering more than 90 different programs.

In recent years, Ahmed has been a guest speaker at the foreign ministers meeting of the League of Arab States speaking on U.S. and Arab relations. He has served on a number of governing boards for southeastern Michigan organizations, including Eastern Michigan University, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, and New Detroit. He also has been a member of the UM-Dearborn Citizens Advisory Committee.

Ahmed is a contributing author to Arabs in America: Myths and Reality and has written for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Publication, "Arab American Political Participation in the United States."

Carl Levin was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978 and has been reelected five times, most recently in 2008. He chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he has earned a reputation as a strong supporter of national defense, a tireless advocate on behalf of our service men and women, and an effective fighter against wasteful government spending.

He also serves as co-chair of the Senate Auto Caucus and the Senate Auto Parts Task Force, where he has advocated for programs that provide for partnerships of government and industry in the development of advanced vehicle technologies. These efforts led to the growth of the Army's National Automotive Center in Warren, which has played an important role in developing advanced technologies for military use, often in conjunction with the private sector and academic institutions, including UM-Dearborn.

Born in 1934 in Detroit, Levin graduated with honors from Swarthmore College and from Harvard Law School. He practiced and taught law in Michigan until 1964 when he was appointed an assistant attorney general of Michigan and the first general counsel for the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. He helped establish the Detroit Public Defender's Office and led the appellate division of that office, which has become the State Appellate Defender's Office.

He won election to the Detroit City Council in 1969, becoming its president in 1973 by winning the most votes citywide.

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