News from MacMurray College
MacMurray in the West Wing
Chris Lu’s honorary doctorate graces his office in the White House.
During a recent trip to Washington, D.C., MacMurray President Colleen Hester stopped by at the White House to visit Chris Lu, the 2011 MacMurray Commencement Speaker and recipient of an honorary doctorate from the College. They are pictured in Lu’s West Wing office with the MacMurray doctoral degree and a drawing of Annie Merner Chapel at MacMurray behind them.
In his Commencement address, Lu, Cabinet Secretary to President Barack Obama, told students: “Your education is your inheritance.” He was quoting his father, an immigrant from China who benefited from a private-school education at a Methodist college much like MacMurray: An inheritance isn’t a gift, he told the graduates. “An inheritance is given to you, but only for use during your lifetime. An inheritance is not something you squander. There are strings attached. There are responsibilities implied. An inheritance is something you grow and pass on to the next generation.”
Holding the title of Assistant to the President – the highest rank in the White House – Lu is the primary liaison between President Obama and his Cabinet, helping to coordinate policy and communications strategy. He plays a critical role in managing the flow of information between the White House and the federal departments and in representing the interests of the Cabinet to the White House.
Lu is one of Barack Obama’s longest-serving aides and played a prominent role in the president’s political ascension. The two first met as law students at Harvard, and in early 2005, Obama asked Lu to become the Legislative Director of his U.S. Senate office. During the presidential campaign, Lu became the Acting Chief of Staff of Obama’s Senate office, and after Election Day, Lu became the Executive Director of the Obama-Biden transition team.
Lu resides in Arlington, VA, with his wife, Katie Thomson, a native of Jacksonville and a third-generation MacMurray trustee.