Convocation Address by Former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson
Served in Presidential Cabinet and as Governor of Wisconsin
August 19, 2010
Tommy G. Thompson, former Presidential Cabinet member and Governor of Wisconsin, will give Knox College's 2010 Opening Convocation address at 11 a.m., Friday, September 10, in Harbach Theatre, Ford Center for the Fine Arts, on the Knox campus in Galesburg, Illinois.
Also at the Convocation, Knox will present faculty, staff and student awards. The Lombard College-Philip Green Wright Prizes honor distinguished teaching by members of the Knox faculty; the Janet Hunter Prizes are given in recognition of volunteer service by college staff; the Faculty Scholarship Prize is awarded to an outstanding senior selected by the faculty; and the Elbridge Pierce Prize for Scholastic Improvement is given to the student who made the greatest academic progress between the first and fourth years on campus.
About Tommy Thompson
Thompson served as Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services from 2001 to 2005 and four terms as Governor of Wisconsin, from 1987 to 2001. Thompson is the only Governor of Wisconsin to be reelected to both a third term and a fourth term. He is currently a partner at the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. He also serves as Chairman of AGA Medical Corporation and Logistics Health Incorporated.
As Governor of Wisconsin, and later as Secretary of HHS, Thompson is credited with leading reform initiatives in welfare and health care, including the use of information technology in hospitals, clinics and doctors' offices; promoting healthier lifestyles; strengthening and modernizing Medicare and Medicaid; and expanding the use of medical diplomacy around the world.
As Secretary of HHS, Thompson spearheaded efforts to update the Department's ability to monitor and respond to major crises -- sparked by the 9-11 terrorist attacks and subsequent anthrax threats. He also expanded and strengthened the nation's strategic national stockpile and distribution system for vaccines against infectious agents such as smallpox.
Thompson began his career in public service in 1966 as a representative in Wisconsin's state Assembly. He was elected assistant Assembly minority leader in 1973 and Assembly minority leader in 1981.
Thompson has received numerous awards for his public service, including the Anti-Defamation League's Distinguished Public Service Award. He received Governing Magazine's Public Official of the Year Award in 1997, and the Horatio Alger Award in 1998. He has also served as chairman of the National Governors' Association, the Education Commission of the States and the Midwestern Governors' Conference. Thompson served in the Wisconsin National Guard and the Army Reserve.
Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 45 states and 48 countries. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.