Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki to deliver May 23 commencement address

United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki will address graduates at the commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 23.”The secretary is a true American hero,” President Daniel Mark Fogel said. “His presence on our commencement platform, and the inspiring speech he is sure to deliver, will provide a true capstone experience for graduates and their families.”U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders helped facilitate the invitation when UVM expressed an interest in inviting Shinseki, Huck Gutman, chief of staff to Sen. Sanders, said.”We would say he’s an emblem in the kind of truthfulness and responsibility that characterizes so much of Vermont,” Gutman said.Shinseki responsibly served his country and played a highly admirable role in the Veterans Administration and in the armed forces, he said.”He’s a man who reached great heights,” Gutman said. “He rose to the highest level in the armed forces.”Secretary Shinseki was nominated by President Obama to serve as the seventh secretary of Veterans Affairs on Jan. 21, 2009, Jeff Wakefield, associate director of University Communications, said.A retired U.S. Army four-star general, Secretary Shinseki served as vice chief of staff of the United States Army from 1998 to 1999. From 1999 to 2003 he advanced to chief of staff of the U.S. Army when he retired from active duty, he said.Secretary Shinseki served two tours in Vietnam and was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Air Medal, Wakefield said.Secretary Shinseki holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and is a graduate of the National War College. He also earned Master of Arts degree in English literature from Duke University, Wakefield said.Secretary Shinseki will also receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the ceremony, he said.Graduation will be held on the University Green on Sunday, May 23. The student and faculty line up will begin at 7:30 a.m. and the ceremony will officially begin at 9 a.m.Students can find specific details about the ceremony on the Commencement 2010 website: http://www.uvm.edu/commencement