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Dominican University Announces Commencement Speakers

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Howard A. Tullman, serial entrepreneur and CEO of 1871 Chicago; and Lina Fruzzetti, PhD, professor of anthropology at Brown University, will serve as speakers during Dominican University’s commencement exercises on Sunday, May 7 at the University of Illinois Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago. Fruzzetti, an alumna of Dominican University, will address undergraduates at 10:30 a.m. and Tullman will speak at the graduate student ceremony at 3 p.m.  

Howard Tullman joined 1871 Chicago, a nonprofit center for technology and entrepreneurship, in 2014. The center is now home to more than 1,000 digital startups, inventors and designers. Tullman also is the general managing partner for Chicago High Tech Investment Partners, LLC and for G2T3V, LLC, both of which are Chicago-based early-stage venture capital funds. Prior to his involvement in 1871 Chicago, Tullman was the chairman and CEO of Tribeca Flashpoint College, which he co-founded in 2007. He is the former president of Kendall College, which he transformed and moved from Evanston to Chicago in 2005, and the former chairman and CEO of Experiencia, Inc., where he developed hands-on learning experiences for children in partnership with local businesses.

An avid art collector, Tullman has lent pieces from the Howard A. and Judith Tullman art collection to museums throughout the country. He has served as a trustee of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University and the New York Academy of Art.

Tullman has served for a number of years as a trustee for the Democratic National Committee and is a member of the DNC’s Business Leadership Forum. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Presidential Committee on the Arts and Humanities and served as vice chairman of the Clinton Presidential Library Committee.

Tullman graduated with honors from Northwestern University, where he holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics and a juris doctorate from the School of Law. He serves as an adjunct professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Lina Fruzzetti, a graduate of Dominican University’s Class of 1966, joined the faculty of Brown University in 1975, becoming the institution’s first black tenured professor. Her area of research is the relationship of kinship, marriage and rituals, and the construction of gender in India. She has done extensive work on the caste system and life cycle rites of Hindus as well as the Indian feminist movement. While her primary research work has been done in India, she also focuses on East and North African communities.

At Brown University, Fruzzetti directs the South Asia Studies undergraduate major. She has held professional appointments at universities in Khartoum, Sudan; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Helsinki, Finland; Ahmedabad, India; and Lisbon, Portugal.

Fruzetti has produced, with her husband, Akos Ostor, five documentaries, including Seed and Earth (1994), Khalfan and Zanzibar (1999), Fishers of Dar (2002), Singing Pictures: The Women Painters of Naya (2005) and Songs of a Sorrowful Man (2009). All of her films intimately explore individual lives in small communities.

Born in Eritrea, raised in Sudan, and living in the United States since college, Fruzzetti is an inveterate world-traveler. In her most recent film, In My Mother’s House (2016), she pursues a decade-long quest to learn more about her African mother, who lives in Eritrea, and her Italian father, who died shortly after World War II, when she was only three years old. Her search takes her from Africa to Italy where she discovers a side of her family she never knew.

For more information about Dominican University’s commencement ceremony, visit