Middle East Expert Edward Walker is Juniata\'s Commencement Speaker
(Posted April 25, 2007)
HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Edward Walker, Christian Johnson Professor at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., a former ambassador to Israel and the former president and chief executive officer of the Middle East Institute, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree and deliver the commencement address at Juniata College at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 12 during Juniata\'s 129th commencement ceremony.
Walker, whose daughter, Kathryn, graduated from Juniata in 2003, will deliver the crowning address in a year of triumphs for the college. In addition to debuting a residential education program at the Raystown Field Station in fall 2006, the college\'s women\'s volleyball team was crowned NCAA Division III national champion while the College also refurbished an entire wing of the Brumbaugh Academic Center into Dale Hall, which houses the communication, information technology and business departments.
\"We are lucky to have Edward Walker as our commencement speaker at this time in our history,\" says Juniata President Thomas R. Kepple Jr. \"Our students are active observers of the international and national marketplace and will appreciate Ambassador Walker\'s perspective on the future.\"
In addition, Ron Wertz, president and executive director of Pittsburgh\'s Hillman Foundation, and Donald Mitchell, professor emeritus of chemistry and founder of Science in Motion, will each receive a doctor of humane letters degree at the ceremony.
Walker recently resigned as president of the Middle East Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank on Middle East policy, but he is still part of the institute as an adjunct scholar. He served as ambassador to both Israel and Egypt. He became the head of the Middle East Institute in 2001.
Before coming to the institute, Walker worked directly with Secretary of State Colin Powell as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, a position he also held during the second Clinton Administration, working directly for former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
As Assistant Secretary of State, he helped negotiate U.S. policy toward Iraq, including a revision of the U.S. sanctions policy, and helped fine-tune the nation\'s policies toward Iran and the peace process in the Middle East.
Walker served as the ambassador to Israel from 1997 to 1999. He also held the positions of ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt (1994-1997), Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations with ambassadorial rank (1993-1994), and ambassador to the United Arab Emirates through the period of the Gulf War (1989-1992).
He has worked closely with almost every major Israeli politician, including Golda Meir, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon. He also has worked with the late Anwar Sadat, former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarek, current president of Egypt, the late King Hussein of Jordan and King Fahd and Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. In his time as ambassador to Israel, he worked closely with then-Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu and then Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon. He is currently a member of the Aspen Institute Middle East Strategy Group and serves on several boards, including American Academy of Diplomacy and the U.S.-Egypt Friendship Society.
Since his entry into the Foreign Service in 1967, Walker has served extensively in the Middle East. Over the course of his career he has toured Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Egypt. He also held the position if Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia. His Washington, D.C. assignments include two years as Special Assistant to the President\'s Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Negotiations (1979-1981), and two years as executive assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State (1982-1984). In 1988, Walker was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
He earned his bachelor\'s degree at Hamilton College and his master\'s degree at Boston University. In 1962, he enlisted in the United States Army, serving three years in Heidelberg, Germany. Later, in 1985, he attended the Royal College of Defense Studies in London. He has spoken at Juniata previously. He delivered a lecture in 2003 on \"The Middle East: Area of Crisis\" two days before the United States initiated the war in Iraq on March 19.
Ron Wertz, a native of Lewistown, Pa., graduated from Juniata College in 1959, earning a bachelor\'s degree in business administration. His wife, the former Ann Larkin, a native of Pittsburgh, also graduated from Juniata in 1959, earning a bachelor\'s degree in home economics. Ann Wertz taught home economics after graduating from Juniata. She later became an active community volunteer and full-time homemaker. Ron started his career in higher education at Juniata in 1959 as assistant director of admissions. He was promoted to director of admissions in 1960. In 1963, he moved to Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., where he initially served as director of financial aid and placement and later as director of development. He left Franklin and Marshall in 1969 to join the Hillman Foundation as its first executive director.
Ron has been an active volunteer for Juniata College. He served on the college\'s board of trustees from 1987 to 1993 and served on the President\'s Development Council. In 1994, he received the Harold B. Brumbaugh Alumni Service Award. He served as chair of the College Task Force that planned Juniata\'s 1993 capital campaign. Ann has served as class fund agent for the college\'s annual fund.
Donald Mitchell joined the Juniata faculty in 1967 as assistant professor of chemistry and established himself as a teacher and researcher in physical chemistry. He expanded his research and teaching skills by serving as a visiting lecturer in chemical engineering and fuel technology at the University of Sheffield in Sheffield, England in 1976 and 1977 and by taking a sabbatical to work on the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Amherst in Massachusetts.
Certainly Mitchell\'s most celebrated contribution to Juniata\'s educational mission is Science in Motion, the chemistry and biology outreach program that brings professional scientific equipment and experiments into more than 25 middle and high schools in central Pennsylvania. The program, which he founded in 1986 with a $530,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, has since been expanded statewide through a consortium of 11 colleges and universities. The program has also been replicated by other states, most notably, Alabama and Delaware.
Mitchell received the Technology Educator of the Year Award by the Technology Council of Central Pennsylvania in 2003. He received the Beachley Distinguished Professor Award in 1986 and earned the Beachley Award for Distinguished Academic Service in 1991. He also received the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation Excellence in Education Initiative Award, and the Chemical Manufacturers Association Catalyst Award.
A native of New Castle, Pa., Mitchell earned a bachelor\'s degree in chemistry from Westminster College in 1960 and went on to earn a doctoral degree in physical chemistry from Vanderbilt University in 1965.
Contact April Feagley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (814) 641-3131 for more information.