Skip to Content
Walden News // Jun 16, 2009

Lilly Ledbetter, Equal-Pay Advocate, to Speak at Walden University’s July Commencement

Minneapolis—June 16, 2009 —Lilly Ledbetter—whose personal legal fight against pay discrimination led to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, the first bill signed into law by President Barack Obama—will be the speaker at Walden University’s summer commencement on Saturday, July 25, at 1:30 p.m. in Minneapolis. Walden will celebrate the graduation of more than 4,000 students at its 42nd commencement ceremony, to be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

“Lilly Ledbetter, a true American hero, fought for pay equity so that others would not undergo the discrimination she experienced,” said Jonathan Kaplan, president of Walden University. “Walden is proud to have her share her inspiring story at our commencement.”

Ms. Ledbetter served as a manager at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant in Gadsden, Alabama, for almost 20 years. During that time, she received the top performance award and was the only woman selected to initiate the light truck production at the Gadsden Plant. Near the end of her career, she learned she had been paid less than virtually all of her male coworkers over the years. She sued Goodyear and won a jury verdict of more than $3 million. In 2007, in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against Ms. Ledbetter, saying that she had waited too long to bring her claim, overturning her original jury award and bringing her case to an end.

Although Ms. Ledbetter saw no monetary award, her case led Congress to pass a law ensuring that other victims of pay discrimination have at least 180 days each time they are subject to a discriminatory pay decision, such as when wages are paid, to file a complaint, rather than only 180 days after the first application of a discriminatory pay decision. On January 29, 2009, with Ms. Ledbetter present, President Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Ms. Ledbetter is the latest contributor to Walden University’s “Perspectives on the World” series, which brings distinguished speakers to university events to share their diverse global views with students, graduates, faculty members and guests.

The commencement ceremony and address can be viewed live via webcast at

About Walden University
Since 1970, Walden University has offered working professionals the opportunity to earn advanced degrees through distance learning. Today, this comprehensive, accredited online university offers master’s and doctoral degrees in education, psychology, management, public policy and administration, and health and human services, as well as master’s programs in engineering and IT and bachelor’s programs in business administration, psychology, child development, computer information systems, interdisciplinary studies, instructional design and technology, nursing, communication and criminal justice. Walden University is the flagship online university in Laureate International Universities—a global network of accredited campus-based and online universities. For more information, visit

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association,