India Pierce LeeDean Grover “Cleve” Gilmore announced today that India Pierce Lee, MSSA 2005, is the 2014 Commencement speaker for the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

The recipient of the 2013 Cleveland Southern Christian Leadership Conference Award for Community Service, India Pierce Lee joined the Cleveland Foundation in 2006 as program director for neighborhoods, housing, and community development. She oversees the foundation’s Greater University Circle Initiative, a unique multi-institutional anchor-based partnership with Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, the City of Cleveland, and philanthropic and non-profit organizations engaged in catalytic projects to revitalize neighborhoods that include transportation, wealth building and economic inclusion, employer-assisted housing, and community engagement.

Prior to joining the Cleveland Foundation, India served as senior vice president of programs at Neighborhood Progress Inc., senior program director with the Northeast Ohio Local Initiatives Support Corporation, director of the Empowerment Zone with the City of Cleveland’s department of economic development, and executive director of Mt. Pleasant NOW Development Corp. Earlier in her career, she worked as an air traffic control specialist.

In 2009, India completed the prestigious Loeb Fellowship from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. She spent 10 months on the Harvard campus studying best practices in neighborhood revitalization, with a special interest in sustainability.

India has been recognized for outstanding service to Cleveland throughout her career, including receiving keys to the City of Cleveland from former Mayor Michael White and the City of Dallas-Fort Worth by former Mayor Jewell Woods. In January 2012, she was appointed by Mayor Frank Jackson to the City of Cleveland’s Civil Service Commission. In 2011, she was named one of Crain’s Cleveland Business “Women of Note” and is a founding member of the Evergreen Cooperative Corporation Board.

India has a Bachelor of Science degree in management from Cleveland’s Dyke College. She earned her Master of Science in Social Administration from the Mandel School in 2005, where she was awarded a Louis Stokes Fellowship in Community Development. She is an active alumna and serves on the school’s Visiting Committee.

Case Western Reserve’s Commencement exercises take place Sunday, May 18. Ceremonies begin with the university convocation at 9:30 a.m. in the Veale Convocation Center. The Mandel School’s diploma ceremony is at the Amasa Stone Chapel at 11:30 a.m., immediately followed by a reception at the school.

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