Tom Ridge to speak at IST’s spring commencement

Tom Ridge, the nation’s first secretary of homeland security and 43rd governor of Pennsylvania, will serve as the keynote speaker at the spring commencement ceremony for the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 7, in Eisenhower Auditorium on Penn State's University Park campus.

“We are immensely honored to have Tom Ridge as this year’s commencement speaker,” said Andrew Sears, dean of the College of IST. “Not only has Governor Ridge made invaluable contributions to our nation through his involvement in building the Department of Homeland Security, but he also continues this work as a thought leader in technology, cyber security and risk management on an international level.”

Ridge is founder and chairman of Ridge Global, which provides clients with solutions to identify, prepare for and mitigate cyber risk. Holding the distinction of being the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 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.

“I am honored to have been asked to deliver the commencement address at Penn State’s College of IST,” Ridge said. “As a former governor of Pennsylvania, one of my favorite things is bragging about all the great stuff happening across the Commonwealth. The students that the College of IST sends out into the global workforce are among the very best trained and well prepared in the nation. It’s why IST graduates are in such high demand. I am looking forward to joining the Class of 2016 as they transition together into the workforce.”

Before the events of Sept. 11, Ridge was twice elected governor of Pennsylvania, serving as the state's 43rd governor from 1995 to 2001. Today, he serves on the boards of the Institute for Defense Analyses, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress and other private and public entities. He is also chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's National Security Task Force and co-chairs with Senator Joe Lieberman a Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense.

Ridge graduated from Harvard with honors and earned his law degree from Penn State University’s Dickinson School of Law after serving as a U.S. Army infantry staff sergeant in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor, the Combat Infantry Badge and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He later became one of the first Vietnam combat veterans elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served six terms.

More information about commencement can be found on the Commencement at Penn State website.

Last Updated February 25, 2016