U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack meets students at Gettysburg College

Gettysburg College's Eisenhower Institute (EI) hosted U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on campus Jan. 25.

Vilsack met with students and faculty members as part of the EI's Women In Leadership program, which is led by Jennifer Donahue, the EI's Cardin Public Policy Fellow.

Vilsack credited his own liberal arts education with preparing him to lead a wide-ranging organization like the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and to communicate effectively with a broad range of audiences, including "the countries we do business with," he said. "My professors were instrumental in making sure I could write well and speak well - two important components of success in any occupation - and in creating a sense of opportunity."

"The country needs you to be involved and engaged," Vilsack told students during a campus gathering. "There are enormous opportunities in government service to profoundly influence people's lives in a positive way."
Women in Leadership provides students with a firsthand look at politics in Washington, D.C. under the guidance of an experienced professional like Donahue, who regularly provides live commentary for MSNBC's Hardball, CNN's American Morning and Anderson Cooper360.

View with captions

Donahue also spoke at the campus event. She appears frequently on ABC World News Tonight and Nightline, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News. She is regularly quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, USA Today, and Boston Globe, and is a contributor for the Huffington Post, and National Public Radio. and other networks.

Women in Leadership culminates in a symposium during which students present semester-long research projects.

Vilsack was appointed by President Barack Obama as the 30th secretary of the USDA and sworn into office in 2009. He previously served two terms as the governor of Iowa, where he was also as a state senator and mayor of Mt. Pleasant. A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Vilsack was born into an orphanage and adopted in 1951. He received a bachelor's degree from Hamilton College in 1972 and a law degree from Albany Law School in 1975. Following school, he and his wife Christie moved to Mt. Pleasant, her hometown, where he practiced law.

Honoring the legacy of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Eisenhower Institute is a distinctive program of Gettysburg College. With offices in the heart of the nation's capital and in the historic Gettysburg home once occupied by Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower, the Institute combines top-level dialogue among policy-makers with a premier firsthand learning experience for undergraduates.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college, which enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students, is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Jim Hale, associate director of editorial services

Posted: Thu, 26 Jan 2012

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