SOUTH BEND -- Kyle Zimmer, president and chief executive officer of First Book, a nonprofit organization that provides new books to children in need, will be the speaker at the Saint Mary's College commencement May 18.
A total of 385 students will receive bachelor's degrees at the ceremony.
First Book, based in Washington, D.C., was founded in 1992 by Zimmer and two colleagues.
Zimmer was named 2007 Outstanding Social Entrepreneur of the Year in the U.S. by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
Early in her career, Zimmer practiced law, representing a wide spectrum of corporate and social sector clients. During that time, Zimmer served as a mentor to a child at a local shelter, and became aware of limited resources and almost nonexistent access to books for children in need.
First Book has distributed more than 100 million books to children in thousands of communities in the United States. The organization also has launched several subsidiaries, including First Book National Book Bank and First Book Marketplace, and has opened offices in Canada.
Zimmer also serves as a member of the board of directors for Ashoka, a nonprofit organization that supports the field of social entrepreneurship. She also serves on the Youth Venture board of directors and as a member of the board for James Patterson's ReadKiddoRead.
She will receive an honorary doctor of humanities degree.
The college also will present an honorary doctorate to Jennifer Mathile Prikkel, of Dayton, Ohio, a 1995 Saint Mary's graduate. She's a philanthropist and entrepreneur whose work includes increasing women's access to quality education and fulfilling employment. She's a former member of the college's board of trustees.
This year's valedictorian is Allison Sherman, a computational mathematics major from Batavia, Ill.