Saint Xavier University
#CallingAllDoers #WeAreSXU
SXU News - Saint Xavier University News

SXU Announces 2024 Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient


Saint Xavier University (SXU) is pleased to announce the 2024 commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient, who will share their knowledge and expertise while congratulating this year's graduates on achieving their high-quality academic degrees.  

On Saturday, May 4, Candace N. Ramírez '02, '04, '05 will address the graduates of SXU's College of Nursing, Health Sciences and Business as the commencement speaker. Geoffrey Baer will receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Arts and Letters, honoris causa, at SXU's College of Liberal Arts and Education ceremony.  

Ramírez, grants manager for The Allstate Foundation, is an inspiring leader who drives social impact using data analytics to make grantmaking more impactful and improve measurement to process more than $49 million in grants yearly. During her career at Allstate, Ramírez has held various marketing roles serving several Allstate alternative distribution channels. 

Ramírez served as president of the Professional Latino Allstate Network (PLAN), an employee impact group, and oversaw programs to attract, develop and retain Latino talent for over 1,100 members across the country that include personal and professional development, cultural and community events, networking, and more. As a member of the Inclusive Diversity Council, Ramírez lends her voice and assistance to foster an environment where people are heard and respected for being themselves. She is also chairwoman to SouthWest Area Diaper Depository for Little Ends (SWADDLE), a nonprofit that distributes donated diapers to partner organizations in Chicago's Southwest suburbs. 

Ramírez holds bachelor's and master's degrees in computer studies and an MBA from Saint Xavier University. She has a passion for lifelong learning and mentoring young Latinas. 

Baer is an eight-time Emmy-winning public television writer, producer, and program host. He has been a fixture on Chicago's PBS station WTTW for more than 30 years, best known as the host and writer of WTTW's popular specials about the architecture and history of Chicago and its suburban areas. His work includes more than 25 feature-length "television tours," including "Chicago by 'L'," "The Chicago River Tour," and "Chicago on Vacation." Baer hosted the WTTW series "The Great Chicago Quiz Show" and appeared for years on WTTW's flagship nightly public affairs program "Chicago Tonight," answering viewers' questions about Chicago in a segment called "Ask Geoffrey." Nationally, he hosted the PBS primetime series "10 That Changed America" about the built environment across the country. He hosted and co-wrote the PBS primetime special "Weekend in Havana." 

Baer started at WTTW behind the scenes, producing documentaries and arts performance programs for PBS and WTTW. He was also executive producer of the weekly arts series "Artbeat Chicago" and the weekly documentary series "Chicago Stories." For radio, he wrote and narrated stories about Chicago history heard nationally on weekly broadcasts of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra over NPR stations. 

Baer has been a docent (volunteer tour guide) for the Chicago Architecture Center since 1987, primarily giving river tours. In addition to his Emmy Awards, he has been honored by the American Institute of Architects Chicago, Society of Architectural Historians, American Society of Landscape Architects, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, New York Festivals, U.S. International Film and Video Festival, and the Chicago Headline Club. 

For many years, he taught acting and improv to adults at Players Workshop of the Second City. He served as a board member of the Art Institute of Chicago's Architecture and Design Society and is an emeritus board member of the Lookingglass Theatre Company. 

Commencement will be held in the Shannon Athletic and Convocation center, located at 3700 W. 103rd Street. This event requires tickets for admission. For more information about SXU's 2024 Commencement ceremonies, visit SXU's website or contact commencementFREESXU.