GLENVILLE STATE COLLEGE COMMENCEMENT SATURDAY - West Virginia Homeland Security Advisor Is Keynote Speaker

The 133rd Glenville State College Commencement is scheduled to begin Saturday, May 12, 2007 at 10 a.m. The ceremony will take place in the Jesse R. Lilly, Jr. Gymnasium.

Students completing requirements for degrees in August 2006, December 2006, and May 2007 are eligible to graduate. The 160 graduates hail from throughout West Virginia, 11 states and two foreign countries.

There will be a reception directly following the ceremony on Clark Hall Lawn.

James Westbrooke Spears, West Virginia Homeland Security Advisor, will be the keynote speaker at Saturday's ceremonies.

He was appointed to the position of Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety and West Virginia Homeland Security Advisor by Governor Joe Manchin III in 2005.

Secretary Spears is responsible for 11 divisions of approximately 10,500 employees with a budget of over half-billion dollars. Divisions include the Adjutant General/WV National Guard, Division of Corrections, Division of Criminal Justice Services, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Division of Juvenile Services, Division of Protective Services, Division of Veterans Affairs, Parole Board, Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority, WV State Fire Marshal, WV State Police, and the Homeland Security State Administrative Agency.

Spears is a graduate of Davidson College in North Carolina, where he earned a BA degree in History and graduated as an ROTC distinguished military graduate. While serving in the Army he also completed a master's degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California.

He also attended l'Ecole d'Etat-Major (French General Staff College) in Compeigne, France; the Strategic Intelligence Postgraduate Program in Washington, D.C. (Distinguished Graduate); the Postgraduate program for Foreign Area Specialists at the JFK Special Warfare Center (Distinguished Graduate); the Defense Language Institute for French language in Monterey, California (Distinguished Graduate); and the U.S. State Department's Foreign Service Institute for Slovak Language in Washington, D.C. Secretary Spears' languages are French, German, and Slovak.

He brings a wide range of experience to his new position. He has served as principal advisor to six United States ambassadors for various programs, including review, analysis and development of U.S. foreign and economic policy for two U.S. ambassadors in Luxemburg and two in Slovakia. In Slovakia he served as the U.S. Defense Attaché and acted on behalf of the U.S. Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to formulate and coordinate U.S. political-military policies in Slovakia.

In addition, he managed more than $8 million in sales and assistance programs to the Slovak Republic. His experience also includes the coordination of congressional and public affairs for the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Secretary Spears served for 22 years as a U.S. Army Officer before voluntarily retiring to serve as Director of Program Development and Training for the U.S. Department of State's African Crisis Response Initiative in Washington , D.C. Serving as a principal advisor to two U.S. ambassadors, he designed, coordinated and implemented one of our federal government's primary assistance programs in Africa.

He negotiated with the governments of Kenya, Botswana, Senegal, Malawi, Mali, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia, developing peacekeeping assistance and development programs totaling as much as $20 million annually.

A world traveler, he has criss-crossed the African continent multiple times and lived in various countries for almost 14 years. Mr. Spears is married and has four children.