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Deputy Secretary of Defense to Address SPP Graduates at Commencement

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Kathleen Hicks

School of Public Policy alumna, Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks (MPP ’93), has agreed to be the school’s spring commencement speaker on May 20. The ceremony falls on the School’s 40th Anniversary, a time to both celebrate the contributions of our community over the past decade, but most importantly, to define a shared vision for responsive and responsible public policy for the next forty years.

Hicks was sworn into her role as deputy secretary of defense in February 2021, becoming the first Senate-confirmed female to hold the position and putting her among the ranks of SPP’s impressive roster of alumnae in groundbreaking security roles.

Prior to becoming deputy secretary, Hicks held the position of senior vice president, Henry A. Kissinger Chair, and director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. From 2009 to 2013, she served as a senior civilian official in the Department of Defense. Confirmed by the United States Senate in 2012 as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, she was responsible for advising the secretary of defense on global and regional defense policy and strategy. She also served as deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans and forces, leading the development of the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance and the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and crafting guidance for future force capabilities, overseas military posture, and contingency and theater campaign plans.

“As a graduate of the School who has served the public good with distinction at the highest levels, and who has demonstrated the type of ethical and principled leadership we teach our students, I can think of no one better to send our graduates off instilled with the values and responsibilities of public service,” said Robert C. Orr, dean of the School of Public Policy.

The School’s ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. The University’s main commencement will take place earlier on May 20 at 12 p.m.

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