2018 Commencement Speaker

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, will be the featured speaker at Claremont McKenna College’s 71st annual Commencement Ceremony, to be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 12.

As the first woman to lead the IMF, Lagarde has helped to stabilize the world economy after the Great Recession and prevent a larger economic crisis in Europe. Under her leadership, the IMF has taken on critical macroeconomic priorities: corruption, climate change, income inequality, and gender equality in order to raise gross domestic product and workforce participation.

Claremont McKenna College President Hiram E. Chodosh said Lagarde is an “exemplar for our students. With an outstanding career at the intersection of finance, law, and public service, she has led efforts to create global economic stability and growth and consequential improvements in the human condition.”

Lagarde began her career as an associate at the law firm of Baker & McKenzie, where she rose to become chairman of the firm’s Global Strategic Committee. She served as France’s Minister for Foreign Trade and its Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. In 2007, she was named the country’s finance and economy minister, the first woman to hold such a post in a G-7 nation.

In 2011, Lagarde became the 11th managing director of the IMF. Two years ago, she was selected to serve a second term.

Lagarde was named Officier in the Légion d'honneur in April 2012.

Lagarde was a member of the French national synchronized swimming team. She is the mother of two sons.

Created in 1945, the IMF has 189 member countries. The Fund’s primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system – the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries (and their citizens) to transact with each other. The Fund’s mandate was updated in 2012 to include all macroeconomic and financial sector issues that bear on global stability.