White House Social Secretary Deesha Dyer to Speak at CCP Graduation

Philly native and Community College alum Deesha Dyer will deliver the commencement address on May 7th.

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From West Philly to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue; Deesha Dyer is our own hometown success story.

The Washington Post describes her as “a girl from a hard-knock neighborhood in West Philadelphia who dropped out of college, got a 9-to-5, developed a side-hustle writing about Philly’s hip-hop and soul scene, went to community college, and at age 31 became a White House intern.”

After working her way up the White House ladder from intern in the Office of Scheduling and Advance to associate director for scheduling correspondence to hotel program director to deputy to the social secretary, in 2015 she was named President Obama’s Social Secretary. The Washington Post reports that it’s a role that’s typically held by “upper-class white women with pedigree, connections and political networks.” Dyer is the second black woman to hold the position; she succeeded Jeremy Bernard, who was the first man and first openly gay person to have the post. Along the way she had gained the respect of First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama.

In a White House statement announcing her role as social secretary, Michelle Obama praised “her passion, creativity, public-mindedness and relentless competence” as well as her efforts to “truly make the White House the ‘People’s House.'”

Dyer attributes her career success to her alma matter, the Community College of Philadelphia. 

“Without Community College of Philadelphia, I would have never made it to the White House. I hope my journey from Community College of Philadelphia to the White House will inspire the graduates to continue to pursue their dreams and use their degrees to better their communities,” said Dyer in a statement released by CCP. Dyer has previously stated that the flexibility of CCP allowed her to work full-time while in school.

Dyer had completed her associates degree online while working as an intern at the White House, because of work duties, she wasn’t able to attend her commencement ceremony. On May 7th, at CCP’s 50th commencement ceremony, not only will Dyer accept her degree, she will also address the class of 2016 graduates.

According to Twitter, she’s feeling emotional about her impending speech. She tweeted this in response to a front-page Philadelphia Tribune article about the address.

Dyer has maintained close ties over the years not only with the college but with Philadelphia as well.

CCP writes that Dyer currently mentors young girls for a Philadelphia global empowerment program. She has been instrumental to several other social work programs including the Youth Health Empowerment Project and Action AIDS. She also created a hip-hop based AIDS awareness program based in Philly.

Before joining the White House staff, Dyer had freelanced for the now-defunct City Paper, writing reviews on local hip-hop artists. Since then Dyer has reportedly brought several of those artists to preform at the White House.

Dyer did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

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