U.N. Undersecretary General Jeffrey D. Feltman to speak at Commencement

Topic: Administrative

April 29, 2013

Ball State Commencement Spring 2013
Spring Commencement on the Fine Arts Terrace is among the university’s greatest traditions.

Jeffrey D. Feltman, undersecretary general for political affairs at the United Nations, will deliver the address at Ball State University's annual Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m. The university will confer 3,034 degrees on the Arts Terrace.

Feltman, a Ball State alumnus, Midwestern native and former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree. Retired from the Department of State after more than two decades of government service, he has promoted peace and prosperity in the Middle East and Europe, and in his current role, he oversees diplomatic efforts to prevent and mitigate conflict around the world.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Feltman with the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award in 2012. He received the President’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009 and the Senior Foreign Service Performance Award eight times. In 2003, then Secretary of State Colin Powell presented him with the Department of State’s James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence.

Feltman graduated from Ball State in 1981 with a bachelor of science degree in history and fine arts. In 1983, he earned a master of arts in law and diplomacy from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Also at commencement, Ball State alumni Michael P. Smith and Mark R. Holden will receive President’s Medals in honor of their accomplishments and their commitment to the university. 

Smith is an award-winning journalist, a leader in media research and education, and an expert in media trends. He is executive director emeritus of Northwestern University’s Media Management Center, which is affiliated with Kellogg School of Management and Medill School of Journalism.

Smith, who won a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting in 1982 while at The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind., spent more than 20 years as a journalist before joining Northwestern. He has written extensively about his media research. His books include “Values, Culture, Content” as well as “The Changing Reader” and “The Newsroom Brain.” 

He earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism from Ball State in 1973 and a master of business administration degree from Northwestern in 1998. Smith is a longtime supporter of — and advocate for — his alma mater. He joined the Ball State University Foundation Board in 2007. Smith is a member of the recently announced Cardinal Commitment: Developing Champions athletic capital campaign committee. 

In 1995, he was inducted into the university’s Journalism Hall of Fame, and he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Ball State Alumni Association in 2007. Recently, he established the Marilyn Weaver Faculty Fellowship.

Mark R. Holden is a visionary business leader, a successful entrepreneur, and a generous philanthropist. He graduated cum laude from Ball State in 1981 with a bachelor of arts degree in accounting and finance. 

He has generously given to Ball State to build the Holden Strategic Communications Center and launch the innovative Unified Media Lab. These facilities will support immersive learning, which fosters the development of collaborative thinking. It will serve students in the College of Communication, Information, and Media. They will provide an experience on the leading edge of how today’s journalists, public relations, and advertising professionals do their work.

Holden, a certified public accountant, was a senior officer of Wabash National Corp. for 12 years, then became the president and CEO of American Commercial Lines Inc. He led the company’s initial public offering, which Forbes cited as one of the top five IPOs that year.

After leading ACLI, Holden acquired Prime Distribution Services Inc., which was recognized in 2011 as one of the top 100 food logistics companies in the U.S. At the end of 2012, he and a partner obtained A&R Logistics, in Morris, Ill. He has served on the boards of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Spring Commencement on the Fine Arts Terrace is among the university’s greatest traditions. Past Ball State commencements have been graced by the presence of then U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar; Steve Kroft, senior correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes”; Angela Ahrendts, chief executive officer of Burberry; Richard Linnehan, four times an astronaut on NASA space shuttles; Steve Inskeep, co-host of National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition”; jazz musician Ellis Marsalis; editor, educator, and presidential adviser David Gergen; and Pulitzer Prize winner David Broder, among others. The speaker at last May’s commencement was Sutton Foster, winner of two Tony Awards.

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