Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge will give the Cutchins Distinguished Lecture, at Virginia Tech on Thursday, March 22, 7:30 p.m., in Burruss Auditorium. His lecture, “Leadership in Times of Crisis,” will discuss leadership and such issues as security, terrorism, global engagement, and technology.
The event is free and open to the public, no tickets needed. Free parking is available at the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. Find more parking information online, or call 540-231-3200.
Ridge is the president and CEO of Ridge Global, a Washington, D.C., consulting firm that offers risk management, energy, and trade and economic advisory services. A twice-elected governor of Pennsylvania, Ridge became the first assistant to the president for homeland security in the wake of 9/11. In 2003, he was appointed as the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which he led until 2005.
Ridge earned a scholarship to Harvard, graduating with honors in 1967. After his first year at Penn State’s 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. Returning to Pennsylvania and to Dickinson, he earned his law degree. He later became one of the first Vietnam combat veterans elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served six terms.
Ridge serves on several public and private boards, including the Institute for Defense Analyses and the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, and is the chairman of the National Organization on Disability and national co-chairman of the Flight 93 Memorial Fundraising Campaign. He is the author of The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege and How We Can Be Safe Again.
The Cutchins Distinguished Lecture is sponsored by the Pamplin College of Business and the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Rice Center for Leader Development and is also held in celebration of Founders Day. The center aims to educate students about leadership and prepare them to be leaders of integrity and ability. It is named in honor of the late W. Thomas Rice, a retired railroad industry executive and former rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. Rice received a degree in civil engineering in 1934. The lecture series is named for the late Clifford A. Cutchins III, a former bank chairman and rector of the Board of Visitors. Cutchins received a degree in accounting in 1944.