Pitt to Hold 2007 Commencement Today in the Petersen Events Center

Issue Date: 
April 29, 2007

Tom Ridge, former Pennsylvania governor and the nation’s first Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, will give commencement address

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg will welcome graduating members of the Class of 2007, faculty, trustees, alumni, staff, and invited guests, family, and friends attending Pitt’s 2007 Commencement at 1 p.m. today in the Petersen Events Center.

Tom Ridge, the nation’s first Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and the Governor of Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2001, will deliver the University’s 2007 commencement address and receive the honorary Doctor of Public and International Affairs degree from Nordenberg and Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor James V. Maher.

Chief University Marshal John J. Baker will open the ceremony, leading a procession of faculty, staff, the Council of Deans, trustees, administrative officers, and graduating class members in full academic regalia; Baker is a professor of oral biology in the School of Dental Medicine and president of the University Senate. Music will be provided by the University Symphonic Band, under the direction of Pitt Director of Bands Jack R. Anderson.

After Ridge receives his honorary degree, Pitt alumnus Ralph J. Cappy (CAS ‘65, LAW ‘68), chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and chair of Pitt’s Board of Trustees, will present the University Citation honoring him. Ridge will then deliver the commencement address.

After the awarding of diplomas by Nordenberg, Maher, and the deans of the schools and colleges, Andrea E. Youngo will speak on behalf of the graduating class. Youngo, who is a recipient of the ODK Senior of the Year Award and a student in the School of Arts and Sciences and College of Business Administration, will receive the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees during the commencement ceremony. Her talk will be followed by an address by Brian Generalovich, (CAS ‘66, DEN ‘68), president of the University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association, who will welcome the graduates as Pitt’s newest alumni.

Pitt is conferring approximately 6,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees this year to students on the Pittsburgh campus and approximately 1,000 undergraduate degrees to students on the Bradford, Greensburg, Johnstown, and Titusville campuses, which hold their own commencement ceremonies.

President George W. Bush named Ridge Assistant to the President at the new Office of Homeland Security in the weeks following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. His charge was to develop and coordinate a national strategy to strengthen the United States against terrorist threats or attacks. When the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was formally created in 2003, Ridge became its first secretary. He worked with more than 180,000 employees from a combined 22 agencies to create a department 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; and integrated new technology and improved information-sharing worldwide.

Before 9/11, Ridge was twice elected governor of Pennsylvania. His aggressive technology strategy helped fuel the state’s advances in economic development, education, health, and the environment. Ridge also implemented a program that continues to provide a predictable flow of state support for capital projects at Pitt and Pennsylvania’s other state-related universities, and he committed the funds that made possible the construction of Pitt’s Petersen Events Center.