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Stedman Graham may speak to students

Stedman Graham | Al Podgorski~Sun-Times

Stedman Graham | Al Podgorski~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 11, 2012 6:21AM

AURORA — An Aurora alderman wants to use her ward funds to bring businessman and author Stedman Graham to speak at area schools.

The city’s Finance Committee moved forward a resolution to approve payment to Stedman Graham, also known as Oprah Winfrey’s longtime boyfriend, for $12,000 to speak at an Annual African American History Program on Feb. 21.

Alderman Scheketa Hart-Burns, 7th Ward, wants to use her ward fund dollars to bring Graham to speak at Metea Valley High School in the Indian Prairie School District and Cowherd Middle School in the East Aurora School District. Hart-Burns said each lecture will be open to the public up to the point of capacity.

Graham is a New York Times best-selling author. Books he has written include “Teens Can Make It Happen: Nine Steps to Success” and “Identity: Your Passport to Success.”

Hart-Burns said after serving as principal for a day at Cowherd Middle School last school year, she learned that some of the students couldn’t read or didn’t know what career path they wanted to pursue. She said the program has been a request from administrators at both schools.

“We want to support teens early on. We want them to be focused,” Hart-Burns said. Graham is a powerful lecturer who can speak to kids from his own experience, she said.

“We’re trying to help those kids know that they can make this happen,” Hart-Burns said.

Graham is chairman and CEO of Stedman Graham & Associates, a Chicago-based management and marketing consulting firm. He is also founder of Athletes Against Drugs, a former adjunct professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago and taught at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Aldermen will discuss the resolution at Committee of the Whole at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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