On April 9, Goucher president Sanford Ungar emailed the senior class to announce that Susan
Eisenhower will be the keynote speaker at the 123rd Commencement on Friday, May 23. She will also be receiving an honorary degree from the college.
Eisenhower, who is the granddaughter of former President Dwight Eisenhower, is a foreign policy and international affairs expert, with a specialty with United States-Russian relations. She is also the president of the Eisenhower Group, Inc., which, as stated by her website “provides strategic counsel on political, business, and public affairs projects.”
Some of Eisenhower’s past accomplishments include: being appointed by United States Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, to serve on the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, testifying before the Senate Armed Forces and Senate Budget Committees on policy relating to the former Soviet Union, and serving in an eight-year appointed position on the National Academy of Sciences’ Standing Committee on the International Security and Arms Control. Additionally, her website states that she “has served on many government task forces” centering around issues including nuclear terrorism, the cost evaluation of space exploration, and international peace and security.
Eisenhower currently sits on the Nuclear Threat Initiative board, a global security organization, which is co-chaired by Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA) and philanthropist Ted Turner. Eisenhower also sits on the Energy Future Coalition, a non-partisan environmental organization that works to bridge differences between business, labor, and environmental groups.
Eisenhower is an advisor to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, another environmental organization that works “to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense energy strategy,” according to its website. She is also an advisor to the Air Force Academy’s Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies, which is named for her grandfather, and works to “foster a national dialogue on space issues among all sectors of the space community.”
Writing was Eisenhower’s first career. In the 1970s, she lived in Europe for six years, first in Paris and then in London, where she was a resident and stringer for The Saturday Evening Post. Back in the United States, she wrote a column for Wolfe Newspapers. She has written three books: “Breaking Free,” “Mrs. Ike,” and “Partners in Space: US-Russian Cooperation After the Cold War.” The former two are best sellers. Eisenhower has also written chapters for several collected volumes, op-eds and articles for a variety of newspapers, and provided analysis for many news stations and programs.
There are many seniors who are looking forward to having Eisenhower as the commencement speaker.
“I am so excited to hear from Susan Eisenhower as the Class of 2014’s commencement speaker,” said Elana Perilstein ‘14. “As a political science major, I value her work and expertise in foreign affairs. The U.S.-Russia relationship is very important to American. I know all guests at commencement will benefit from her insight.”
In addition to Eisenhower, Margot Perot, a Goucher alumna, who graduated in 1955, will receive an honorary degree. Ungar said in his email to the senior class, “she and her husband, Ross Perot, the former independent candidate for president of the United States, are among America’s most outstanding philanthropists … and they have also been generous to Goucher.” The Margot Perot Center for Women and Infants at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas was voted “Best Place to Have a Baby” by DallasChild magazine. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, also in Dallas, opened December of 2012.
This year’s commencement will be honoring two accomplished American women, and for those who are unable to make it, the ceremony will stream live from Goucher’s website.