Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, the 13th chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), will deliver the keynote address at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music 2022 commencement celebration, which will be held in Dixon Court North on Friday, June 10 at 4 p.m. PT.
Born and raised in South Los Angeles, Dr. Jackson is the nation’s first African American and Mexican American woman to be appointed as chair of the NEA, an independent federal agency that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of public and private support for the arts. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, the NEA fosters and sustains an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States.
“We are thrilled that Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson will be participating in The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music’s 2022 commencement celebration,” said Eileen Strempel, the school’s inaugural dean. “Dr. Jackson understands that the arts are a transformative force in our communities. Her tireless commitment to attracting national attention to the value of the arts and broadening accessibility to the arts is inspiring, as is her desire to share words of encouragement with our students and provide a guiding light as they reach this critical milestone.”
A veteran educator, policy researcher and practitioner in the arts and other fields, Dr. Jackson has been instrumental in supporting equity in arts and culture for all Americans, fortified by her expertise in comprehensive community revitalization and systems change. She also has a unique perspective on the dynamics of race and ethnicity and the roles of and arts and culture in communities.
”I’m delighted to address the class of 2022,” said Dr. Jackson. “I am inspired by seeing the graduates reach this milestone and affirm their commitment to the power of music and its many benefits in our society.”
For nearly 20 years, Dr. Jackson was based at the Urban Institute, a public policy research organization based in Washington, D.C. She was the founding director of the Urban Institute’s Culture, Creativity and Communities Program, and served as a senior research associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center. At the Urban Institute, Dr. Jackson led pioneering research in many areas: arts and culture indicators, cultural vitality measurement, the role of arts and culture in community revitalization, art spaces development, and artist support systems.
Having earned a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from UCLA and a Master of Public Administration from USC, Dr. Jackson has dedicated her life to bringing arts-based strategies to urban and community planning to restructure and improve inequitable systems. She has led and advised philanthropy, government, and nonprofit organizations on local, statewide and federal levels. In recognition of Dr. Jackson’s extraordinary career and impact, President Obama appointed her to the National Council on the Arts in 2013 and was nominated by President Joseph R. Biden to lead the NEA in 2021.
The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music’s class of 2022 comprises graduates from the departments of ethnomusicology, global jazz studies, music, music industry and musicology.