LUNCHEON 11:30 a.m.; PROGRAM 12:00 p.m.
Following the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, Tom Ridge became the first Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and, on January 24, 2003, became the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, serving until February 2005. The creation of the countrys 15th Cabinet Department marked the largest reorganization of government since the Truman administration and another call to service for the former soldier, congressman and governor of Pennsylvania. During his DHS tenure, Secretary Ridge worked with more than 180,000-plus 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. Mr. Ridge previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives for six terms from 1983 to 1995, and was twice elected Governor of Pennsylvania, serving as the states 43rd governor from 1995 to 2001. Governor Ridge's aggressive technology strategy helped fuel the state's advances in economic development, education, health care and the environment.
Secretary Ridge is currently president and CEO of Ridge Global, an international security and risk management advisory firm, headquartered in Washington, DC. In March of this year, Secretary Ridge co-founded, with former White House cyber czar Howard Schmidt, the strategic advisory firm, Ridge Schmidt Cyber, an executive services firm that helps leaders in business and government navigate the increasing demands of cybersecurity.
An engaging and dynamic speaker, Secretary Ridge regularly addresses audiences on a range of issues, including international business, security and leadership. Additionally, 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 currently chairman of SSTIs Board of Trustees, the National Organization on Disability and the U.S. Chamber of Commerces National Security Task Force, and along with Gen. Tommy Franks (Ret.), serves as national co-chairman of the Flight 93 National Memorial Fundraising Campaign. Secretary Ridge earned a scholarship to Harvard, graduating with honors in 1967.After his first year at Penn State Universitys Dickinson School of Law, he was drafted into the U.S. 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. After returning to Pennsylvania and to Dickinson, he earned his law degree.
Secretary Tom Ridges Athenaeum lecture is sponsored by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government.