BETHANY - Tom Ridge, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, will be the keynote speaker at Bethany College's 2014 commencement ceremony on May 17.
Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Ridge became the first Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and, on Jan. 24, 2003, became the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Ridge served as Pennsylvania's 43rd governor from 1995 to 2001. As governor, Ridge's technology strategy helped fuel the state's advances in economic development, education, health care and the environment.
"Bethany College and the class of 2014 are honored to have Mr. Ridge on campus as we celebrate commencement," said Scott D. Miller, president of the college. "As this class prepares to venture into the real world and create success of their own, Mr. Ridge's accomplishments are a shining example of what is possible."
Ridge is currently chief executive officer of Ridge Global, LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based security consulting firm. As the company's chief executive, Ridge leads a team of international experts that help businesses and governments address a range of needs throughout their organizations, including risk management, global trade security, emergency preparedness and response, strategic growth, infrastructure protection, technology integration, crisis management and other issues that encompass a diverse portfolio. He also serves as a partner at Ridge Schmidt Cyber, a cybersecurity firm, founded with former White House Cybersecurity Advisor Howard A. Schmidt.
Ridge served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1983 to 1995.
Ridge grew up in Erie, Pa., before attending Harvard University. After his first year at Penn State University's Dickinson School of Law, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served as an infantry staff sergeant in Vietnam. After returning to Pennsylvania and to Dickinson, he earned his law degree and was in private practice before becoming assistant district attorney in Erie County.