Distinguished Alumni

About  :    Distinguished Alumni

Among the many distinguished alumni are: Senator Susan Collins, the first alumnus to be elected U.S. Senator currently serving in her fifth term; current Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, the first alumnus to be elected cabinet secretary, Jaime Harrison, current Chairman of the Democratic National Committee; former Senator Cory Gardner, the second alumnus to be elected to the U.S. Senate and the first to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; former Chief Judge Robert Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the first alumnus to be elected governor; former Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt, and former presidential advisors Thomas “Mack” McLarty and Karl Rove. Additional notables include Rogan Kersh, Provost of Wake Forest University; former Lt. Governor of Idaho David LeRoy; former President of the Progressive Policy Institute Robert Shapiro; and many military officers, members of state legislatures, Foreign Service officers, top congressional staff, healthcare providers and university educators.

Susan Collins

Senator Susan Collins (USSYP – ME 1971)

Senator Susan M. Collins was elected to the United States Senate in 1996 from the state of Maine. She has earned a national reputation as a thoughtful, effective legislator, who works across party lines to seek consensus on our nation’s most important issues. Senator Collins is the 15th woman in history to be elected to the Senate in her own right. Senator Collins is the chair of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and also serves on the Appropriations, Intelligence and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committees.

Letter from Senator Susan Collins (PDF, 36 KB) Get Adobe Reader

Pete Buttigieg

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg (USSYP – IN 2000)

Pete Buttigieg currently serves as the 19th Secretary of Transportation, becoming the first USSYP alumnus to serve in a Cabinet position. Prior to joining the Biden-Harris Administration, Secretary Buttigieg served two terms as mayor of his hometown of South Bend, Indiana. He is a graduate of Harvard University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and served for seven years as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He took a leave of absence from the mayor’s office for a deployment to Afghanistan in 2014. Running for president in the democratic primaries in 2019, he became the first openly LGBT person to launch a major presidential campaign. Throughout 2020, he campaigned for the election of the Biden-Harris ticket and served on the advisory board for the presidential transition. In December 2020, President-elect Biden named Buttigieg as his nominee to be Secretary of Transportation, and he was confirmed on February 2, 2021 by a vote of 86–13, making him the first openly LGBT Cabinet member in U.S. history. Nominated at age 38, he is also the youngest Cabinet secretary in the Biden administration and the youngest person ever to serve as Secretary of Transportation.

Cory Gardner

Former Senator Cory Gardner (USSYP – CO 1993)

Senator Cory Gardner was elected the United States Senate in 2015, becoming the second USSYP alumnus to serve in the United States Senate. He served as a USSYP Senate Co-Chair for the first time in 2016. Prior to coming to the Senate, he became the first USSYP alumnus to serve in the United States House of Representatives when he was sworn in in 2010. He has served in the Colorado state legislature where he created the Colorado Clean Energy Authority and was selected by his colleagues as the Colorado House minority whip. In the Senate, he continues to pursue common sense energy policy as a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee. In addition, Senator Gardner serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, and the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. He serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.  Senator Gardner is a fifth-generation Coloradoan with family roots dating back to 1886.

Letter from Senator Cory Gardner (PDF, 126 KB) Get Adobe Reader

Robert H. Henry

Former Chief Judge Robert H. Henry (USSYP – OK 1971)

Judge Henry was nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate in May 1994 to serve as a judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He served as chief judge from 2008 – 2010 when he was named as the 17th president and CEO of Oklahoma City University, a role he held until his retirement in 2018. His career also includes being elected a state representative in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the appointment of State Attorney General for Oklahoma. Judge Henry’s undergraduate and law degree both were received from the University of Oklahoma. He is a regular speaker during the United States Senate Youth Program, usually launching the official speaking roster at the Monday morning session, giving the students special insight to the judicial branch on the day they visit the Supreme Court.

Chris Christie

Former Governor Chris Christie (USSYP – NJ 1980)

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was sworn in as his state’s 55th governor on January 19, 2010. Previously Governor Christie was named U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey in 2002. As the chief federal law enforcement officer in New Jersey , Governor Christie earned praise from leaders in both parties and drew national attention for his efforts in battling political corruption, corporate crime, human trafficking, gangs, terrorism and polluters. His office amassed an impressive record – winning convictions or guilty pleas from over 130 public officials, both Republican and Democrat – without losing a single case. Governor Christie holds an undergraduate degree from University of Delaware and attended Seton Hall University School of Law and is the first USSYP alumnus to be elected a governor.

Letter from Governor Chris Christie (PDF, 319 KB) Get Adobe Reader

Richard Burt

Former Ambassador Richard Burt (USSYP – UT 1965)

Ambassador Richard Burt is a managing partner at McLarty Associates. Before joining Kissinger McLarty Associates in April 2007, Ambassador Burt was Chairman of Diligence LLC, a commercial information and security services firm based in Washington, D.C., London, and Miami. He was United States ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany from 1985-1989 and was stationed in Germany while working for the State Department as assistant secretary. While at the State Department, Ambassador Burt was director of Politico-Military Affairs, assistant secretary for European and Canadian Affairs, and chief negotiator for the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) with the former Soviet Union from 1989-1991.

Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty, III

Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty, III (USSYP – AR 1964)

Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty, III (born June 14, 1946) is a prominent Arkansas business and political leader and former White House chief of staff for U.S. President Bill Clinton. He is the chairman of McLarty Associates, as well as chief executive officer of the McLarty Companies. McLarty was born in Hope, Arkansas and graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1969. He has a distinguished record of business leadership and public service, including various roles advising three presidents: Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. McLarty worked with President Carter as a member of the Democratic National Committee and was appointed to the National Petroleum Council and the Council on Environmental Quality. He served as White House chief of staff to President Bill Clinton from 1993 until 1994 and as Clinton’s special envoy for the Americas. He also served for five years on the National Economic Council.

Letter from Mack McLarty (PDF, 66 KB) Get Adobe Reader

Karl Rove

Karl Christian Rove (USSYP – UT 1969)

Karl Christian Rove (born December 25, 1950) was deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush until August 31, 2007. He headed the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Public Liaison, and the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives. Since leaving the White House, Rove has worked as a political analyst and contributor for Fox News, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal. For most of his career prior to his employment at the White House, Rove was a political consultant almost exclusively for Republican candidates. Rove’s election campaign clients have included George W. Bush (2000 and 2004 presidential elections, 1994 and 1998 Texas gubernatorial elections), Senator John Ashcroft (1994 U.S. Senate election), Bill Clements (1986 Texas gubernatorial election), Senator John Cornyn (2002 U.S. Senate election), Governor Rick Perry (1990 Texas Agriculture Commission election), and Phil Gramm (1982 U.S. House and 1984 U.S. Senate elections).

Letter from Karl Rove (PDF, 17 KB) Get Adobe Reader