Valerie Jarrett joining University of Chicago Law School

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Valerie Jarrett . | Provided photo

WASHINGTON – Former Obama top advisor Valerie Jarrett, who has deep ties to the University of Chicago, will return to campus on Jan. 1 as a distinguished senior fellow at the law school.

“The University of Chicago has been a part of my family since my mother received her master’s there,” said Jarrett.

While Jarrett will be based at the law school, she will work throughout the university.

Her areas of academic interest will be an extension of the issues she focused on during the two Obama White House terms including the many aspects of gender equity and criminal justice reform.

Last May, Jarrett spoke to students at the School of Social Service Administration.

The paid position calls for Jarrett to take part in ten classes or seminars or conferences but Jarrett said in an interview she expects to do more.

The amount of time she will spend at the university is “open ended,” she said.

Before Jarrett joined the Obama White House in 2009, she was the chair of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees and a trustee and vice chair of the U. of C. board.

Jarrett’s father, James Bowman, who died in 2011, was professor emeritus in pathology and medicine at the U. of C. medical center.

This Hyde Park homecoming will be the latest chapter in Jarrett’s post Obama White House career. She is working on a book and last week joined the board of 2U, a digital education firm working with more than 20 universities that is headquartered in Lanham, Md., a Washington suburb.

She also is on the board of Lyft, the San Francisco based ride-sharing company and Ariel Investments LLC the Chicago firm founded by John Rogers Jr., the chairman and chief investment officer of the company. Rogers is a close friend of Jarrett and former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle. She is also an advisor to Attn: a Los Angeles media company.

Rogers is on the board of the Chicago-based Obama Foundation. The university is a short distance from the future Obama Presidential Center, to be constructed in Jackson Park. Jarrett is an advisor to the Obama Foundation, working out of its Washington branch office.

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