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DATE: November 19, 2004

Airport director and head of Urban League will be commencement speakers at UM-Dearborn

DEARBORN---N. Charles Anderson, chief executive officer of the Detroit Urban League, and Lester Robinson, chief executive officer of the Wayne County Metropolitan Airport, will be commencement speakers at the University of Michigan-Dearborn on Dec. 19.

Anderson will speak at an afternoon ceremony for graduates of the campus's College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters and School of Education. Robinson will speak at the morning ceremony for graduates of the campus's College of Engineering and Computer Science and School of Management.

Anderson served as president and chief executive officer of the Detroit Urban League from 1987 to 1994, and returned to that position in January 1997. In this role, Anderson is responsible for the vision, leadership and direction of the organization, which is one of 110 affiliates of the New York-based National Urban League.

"Under the long-term progressive and dynamic leadership of N. Charles Anderson, the Detroit Urban League has led efforts throughout the community to enable African Americans and other persons of color to achieve their fullest human potential," according to UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little. "The Detroit Urban League has long been one of Detroit's premiere human and civil rights organizations, and Charles Anderson has been one of its strongest leaders."

In addition to his service to the Urban League, Anderson served as executive director of the City of Detroit's Department of Human Services as an appointee of Mayor Dennis W. Archer from 1994 to 1997.

Robinson was named chief executive officer for the Wayne County Airport Authority in December 2002 after serving as Wayne County's Director of Airports since April 2000. In the past few years, the airport has completed its sixth runway, opened the new Northwest terminal, and started expanding two concourses. The improvements are continuing as Robinson directs a $400 million overhaul of the airport's north terminal, which is scheduled for completion in 2008.

"Under the leadership of Lester W. Robinson, Detroit's Metropolitan Airport has expanded its capacity, renovated facilities, and climbed from having one of the worst reputations for airports in the country to being ranked second among large U.S. airports in a customer satisfaction survey," Little said.

Robinson grew up in Flint, the son of an autoworker. After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in business administration, he began a career in public accounting before moving to government offices and presiding over a local bank, First Independence Corporation.

In addition to his responsibilities at the airport authority, Robinson has held several leadership positions in Wayne County's government, including chief financial officer, chief of staff to the county executive, assistant county executive and auditor general.

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