Tom Ridge to deliver law school commencement address

The first Secretary of Homeland Security, two-term governor of Pennsylvania and Dickinson School of Law alumnus Tom Ridge will speak at this year's Penn State Law graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 15. Commencement will be held outdoors in Carlisle, Pa. Receptions will be held for family and friends on Friday evening at University Park and Carlisle.

Ridge is president and CEO of Ridge Global LLC, which helps businesses and governments address issues such as risk management and global trade security, technology integration, event security and crisis management. Following the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, Ridge became the first assistant to the president for homeland security and in 2003 the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security until 2005. During his tenure, Ridge worked with more than 180,000 employees from a combined 22 agencies to create an agency that facilitated the flow of people and goods, instituted layered security at air, land and seaports, developed a unified national response and recovery plan, protected critical infrastructure, integrated new technology and improved information sharing worldwide.

Ridge was twice elected governor of Pennsylvania and served from 1995 to 2001. After graduating from Harvard, he attended the Dickinson School of Law, but was drafted into the Army, where he served as an infantry staff sergeant in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star for Valor, the Combat Infantry Badge and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He returned to Dickinson and earned his law degree in 1972. Ridge was elected to Congress in 1982 and was re-elected by Pennsylvania voters five times.

Throughout his public and private sector career, Ridge has received numerous honors, including the Woodrow Wilson Award, the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Dwight D. Eisenhower Award, the John F. Kennedy National Award, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the American Bar Association’s John Marshall Award.

"The Class of 2010 is extremely excited about the opportunity to hear from such a distinguished Dickinson alumnus. His words will be inspiring to all of the graduates as we enter the competitive field of practice and begin our careers," said Kelly Howard, president of the Student Bar Association.

For more information on commencement, visit http://law.psu.edu/office_for_student_services/penn_state_law_commencement_2010 online.

Wrapping up its 175th anniversary celebration, the Law School has graduated more than 13,350 students during the course of its distinguished history. Founded by John Reed in 1834, the Dickinson School of Law is the oldest law school in Pennsylvania and the fifth oldest in the nation. The Law School completed a merger with Penn State in 2000, and in 2006, added an award-winning facility at the University Park campus and has renovated and added to its facilities in Carlisle. It currently operates from University Park and Carlisle as the only American Bar Association-approved unified two-location law school.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010