Syracuse, NY…Mary C. Daly G’94, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, will deliver the 2019 Commencement address at Syracuse University’s graduation ceremonies on Sunday, May 12, in the Dome. Daly will also be awarded an honorary degree at the Commencement exercises.
Daly took office as president and CEO on Oct. 1, 2018. She oversees the largest of the Federal Reserve’s 12 districts—by population and size of its economy. She also serves on the Federal Open Market Committee, which meets eight times a year in Washington, D.C., to discuss and decide on monetary policy in the United States. The committee’s work impacts the lives of every American and has global implications.
“Mary Daly is an outstanding leader in the field of economics and in public service,” says Chancellor
. “Along with her tremendous professional background, Mary has an inspired academic journey. We are pleased to welcome her back to Syracuse University and to hear her message to the Class of 2019.”
A native of Ballwin, Missouri, Daly dropped out of high school and started working at the age of 15. Through the encouragement of a mentor, she completed a GED and applied to college. She earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, a master’s degree at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. in economics at the Maxwell School. She also completed a National Institute of Aging postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University.
“Syracuse has always held a special place in my heart because it helped me grow as both a researcher and a person,” says Daly. “To be able to return as a Commencement speaker and share the lessons I’ve learned over the years with the Class of 2019 is a tremendous honor.”
A leading national expert on labor economics, Daly joined the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in 1996 as an economist. She rose through the ranks in various research leadership roles before being named executive vice president and director of economic research at the San Francisco Fed. In that role, she oversaw key research and supported the development of monetary policy by guiding and providing relevant economic analyses. Daly worked closely with then-President and CEO of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank Janet Yellen—who later became chair of the Federal Reserve System—on a comprehensive reform of the Federal Reserve System’s benefit programs, along with issues related to labor markets and monetary policy.
A strong advocate for diversity in leadership roles at the Federal Reserve and in economics, Daly is former chair of the bank’s Diversity Council and has focused on building the pipeline of women and minorities entering the economics profession. “Diversity is essential both as a value and a practice. It ensures that new ideas surface, guards against echo-chambered agreement, and allows all people to have a voice at the table,” Daly wrote in a December 2016 post on Medium, “Stop Leaving Talent on the Table: Achieving Diversity with No Excuses.”
At the bank, she helped increase the percentage of women in the bank’s research assistant program for college graduates through personal outreach to colleges and accepted applicants. In other areas of public service, Daly has served on the advisory boards of the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security Administration, the Office of Rehabilitation Research and Training, the Institute of Medicine and the Library of Congress. She is a research fellow at the IZA Institute in Bonn, Germany, and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis and Industrial Relations.
Daly lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her wife, Shelly.