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Who We Are

2026 marks the 250th anniversary of our nation's founding. To observe this momentous occasion, the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission will encourage Americans to remember our past, celebrate the present, and look forward to a promising future. We are reaching out to individuals, communities, state and local governments, cultural institutions, national parks and proud partners across the country over the next six years — to inspire the American spirit in ways that are meaningful to all.

U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission

The U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission was established by Congress to inspire all Americans and each American to participate in our greatest milestone ever — the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States.  We're charged with orchestrating the largest and most inclusive anniversary observance in our nation's history. The Commission will work with public and private entities across the country to make America 250 a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all Americans.

America 250 Foundation

The America 250 Foundation is the nonprofit partner of the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, bringing private sector energy to the Commission’s work and providing the Commission with the financial and staff resources to bring its vision for America 250 to life.


Commission Members

Congressional Members


 

Casey

 

 Senator Robert Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania

U.S. Senator Bob Casey is Pennsylvania's senior senator. He works every day on behalf of Pennsylvania families, fighting to create jobs, advocating for the education and well-being of children, and pursuing a national security strategy that protects our interests and supports those who serve our country. He serves on four committees including the Senate Finance Committee and Senate HELP Committee. He is also the highest-ranking Democrat on the Special Committee on Aging. Senator Casey and his wife Terese have four daughters and live in Scranton.


Tom Cotton

 

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas

Tom Cotton is a United States Senator from Arkansas. Tom’s committees include the Banking Committee, the Intelligence Committee, and the Armed Services Committee, where he chairs the Air Land Power Subcommittee.

Tom grew up on his family’s cattle farm in Yell County. He graduated from Dardanelle High School, Harvard, and Harvard Law School. After a clerkship with the U.S. Court of Appeals and private law practice, Tom left the law because of the September 11th attacks.  Tom served nearly five years on active duty in the United States Army as an Infantry Officer.

 Tom served in Iraq with the 101st Airborne and in Afghanistan with a Provincial Reconstruction Team. Between his two combat tours, Tom served with The Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery. Tom’s military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, and Ranger Tab.

Between the Army and the Senate, Tom worked for McKinsey & Co. and served one term in the House of Representatives.

Tom and his wife Anna have two sons: Gabriel and Daniel. 

 

 

 Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire

 

 

Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire


 

 

Toomey

 

 

Senator Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania

Senator Pat Toomey joined the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania in 2011 on a platform of economic and job growth, restoring fiscal responsibility, and creating stronger, safer communities.

Sought out by his colleagues for his views on financial reform and budgetary issues, Senator Toomey was labeled by the Philadelphia Inquirer as "a leading voice on money matters."

During his time in the Senate, Senator Toomey has successfully led efforts to cut taxes for families, make our business tax code more competitive, end wasteful federal spending, and protect children from abusers.

The senator serves on the Senate’s Banking, Budget, and Finance committees.

Senator Toomey previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives for six years. Honoring his pledge to limit himself to three terms, he did not seek re-election to the House in 2004.

 In addition to his public service, the senator has also worked in the financial-services industry, served as president of the Club for Growth, and owned and operated a small restaurant chain in the Lehigh Valley with his brothers.

 A graduate of Harvard University, he lives in the Lehigh Valley with his wife, Kris, and their three children.

 

 Robert Aderholt of Alabama

 

 

Representative Robert Aderholt of Alabama


  Evans 
 

Representative Dwight Evans of Pennsylvania

Congressman Dwight Evans represents Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Northwest and West Philadelphia and parts of North, South, Southwest and Center City Philadelphia. He was first elected in a special election in November 2016. Before that, he served as a state representative for 36 years, and earned a reputation as a pragmatic leader who knows how to put public policy above politics and make ideas matter. He made history in 1990 when he became the first African-American chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, a position he held for two decades. He currently serves on the Ways and Means Committee and as vice chair of the Small Business Committee. He is also an at-large member of the executive committee of the Congressional Black Caucus. Congressman Evans is also a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. As a member of the new House majority, Congressman Evans is helping to advance priorities such as protecting health care and reducing health disparities, and advocating for gun reform, criminal justice reform and economic development, including supporting small businesses. A longtime resident of the West Oak Lane neighborhood, he is a graduate of Germantown High School, the Community College of Philadelphia and LaSalle University. Congressman Evans will keep working to rebuild Philadelphia, and America, block by block.

 

Holding

 

Representative George Holding of North Carolina

George Holding grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. He attended Wake Forest University and has degrees in Classics and Law. Holding clerked for U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle, practiced law with Kilpatrick Townsend and served as the United States Attorney for North Carolina.

As United States Attorney, his priorities included prosecution of violent felons, drug offenses, child pornography, and political corruption. Holding prosecuted a U.S. Congressman, the Speaker of the North Carolina House, a judge, a state senator, a state representative, and several sheriffs for political corruption, as well as a major terrorism case. When Holding left office, the average sentence in drug trafficking cases in eastern North Carolina was well above the national average.

Having previously served as the Representative for North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, Holding was sworn in to serve as the Representative for North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District on January 3, 2017. He serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, Budget Committee, and Ethics Committee.  

George and his wife Lucy have four children – three daughters and one son.

 

Watson Coleman

 

Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey

Bonnie Watson Coleman, a long-time public servant and advocate for New Jersey families, was elected in 2018 to her third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. The first African American woman to represent New Jersey in Congress, Watson Coleman is passionate about the issues affecting working families of all backgrounds, including criminal justice reform, building an economy that works for all families rather than a wealthy few, and rebuilding infrastructure to improve this country and support job creation. She focuses on these priorities and other critical issues as a member of the House Committees on Appropriations and Homeland Security 

The daughter of legendary state legislator John S. Watson, Watson Coleman has continued a family legacy of public service, fighting for women, economically and socially disadvantaged populations, and other vulnerable groups in our society. Prior to her election a Representative for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, Watson Coleman served eight consecutive terms in the New Jersey General Assembly and shattered racial and gender barriers to become the first Black woman to serve as Majority Leader, and as the Chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.

In 2016, Watson Coleman founded the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls alongside two of her colleagues, the first caucus aimed at bringing both the tremendous challenges and incredible successes of Black women to the fore in Congress’s policy debates. Watson Coleman is an active member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Watson Coleman is a graduate of Thomas Edison State College, and has received honorary doctorate degrees from the College of New Jersey, Rider University, and Stockton University. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and co-chair of the Girl Scouts of America Capitol Hill Honorary Troop. She resides with her husband, William, in Ewing Township. The two are blessed to have three sons: William, Troy and Jared; and three grandchildren: William, Ashanee and Kamryn.

Private Citizen Members


 

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Robert A. Brady of Pennsylvania



 

Cohen

 

David L. Cohen of Pennsylvania

David L. Cohen is a Senior Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation. Effective January 1, 2020, David has announced a transition from his leadership roles in the broad portfolio of responsibilities that he has overseen since his arrival at the Company, including corporate communications, legal affairs, government and regulatory affairs, diversity and inclusion, public affairs, corporate administration, corporate real estate and security, and community impact. He also serves as senior counselor to the CEO. Previously, David also served as the company’s Chief Diversity Officer. Before joining Comcast in July of 2002, David served as a partner in and Chairman of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, one of the 100 largest law firms in the country.

A native of New York, David graduated from Swarthmore College in 1977 with a B.A. and in 1981 with a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School (summa cum laude).  From January 1992 to April 1997, David served as Chief of Staff to the Honorable Edward G. Rendell, the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia.  As detailed in the book A Prayer for the City, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Buzz Bissinger, David played a critical coordinating role in significant budgetary and financial issues, in economic development activities, in collective bargaining negotiations, and in a wide variety of other policy and operational issues relating to the city.

David serves as Chairman of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and its Executive Committee.  He also serves as a member of the Trustee Board and the Executive Committee of Penn Medicine.  In addition, David serves on both the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the Chamber’s CEO Council for Growth.  He is also Honorary Chair of Campus Philly’s Board of Directors, is Chair of the Philadelphia Theatre Company, is a member of the United States Semiquincentennial Commission and is a member of its Executive Committee, and is Chair of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Philadelphia Bid Committee.  David also serves as Chair of the national board of City Year and its Executive Committee and Co-Chair of its Governance Committee.  He also serves on the national board of the National Urban League and is Chair of its Audit Committee, and is Chair of the Corporate Advisory Board of UnidosUS.  Additionally, David is a member of the Board of Directors of FS Global Credit Opportunities Fund and serves as Chair of its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. 

 David has received numerous awards for his civic and charitable activities, including the Americanism Award of the Anti-Defamation League (1993), the American Red Cross Citizen of the Year Award (1999), the National Cable Television Association Vanguard Award for Leadership and Impact in the Cable Industry (2005), the President’s Volunteer Service Award (2007), the MS Society Hope Award (2007), the Drexel University Business Leader of the Year Award (2008), the National Urban League of Philadelphia Business Leader of the Year Award (2008), The William Way Community Center Amicus in Res Award (2009), the William Penn Award from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (2012), the Spirit of Asian American Award (2012), the Jewish National Fund Tree of Life Award (2012), the Community Hero Award (2013), the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Champion of Youth Award (2015), the Peirce College Legacy of Leadership Award (2016), the Minority Corporate Counsel Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2017), the 4-H Brand Champion Award (2018), Kappa Alpha Psi’s “Distinguished Citizens Award” (2019),  and has consistently been named to Black Enterprise magazine’s list of top corporate diversity executives.  David also was awarded Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Drexel University (1997), Rider University (2010), and Rowan University (2017).

David lives in Philadelphia with his wife.

 

 

 Crofts

 

 

 

 

Val Crofts of Wisconsin

Val began his teaching career in 2001 and is currently employed at Milton High School in Milton, Wisconsin and as a consultant for Wisconsin Virtual School where he shares his passion teaching AP Government and Politics, AP Human Geography, AP Comparative Government, AP US History, US History, and US Military History. 

Val received his teaching degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and his Master’s Degree from University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. In 2008, Val founded the Discovering Democracy program at Milton High School. Discovering Democracy immerses students into our government through public policy research and culminates with a weeklong field study in Washington D.C. Here the students are privileged to meet with top policy experts and national leaders such as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Antonin Scalia and Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. Val is extremely proud of the Discovery Democracy program and the hundreds of students that have been a part of it.

 Val was recognized for his teaching efforts in 2013 when he received the Crystal Apple Award for Teaching Excellence. His greatest rewards in his life are his four children; Jonathon, Ellen, Joseph, and Grace and his marriage of 21 years to his amazing and beautiful wife, Cathy.

Val considers it among the greatest honors of his life to be a part of the Semiquincentennial Commission and is looking forward to honoring the legacy of the Founding generation by helping to plan a celebration that will educate and inspire future generations!

 

 

DiLella

 

 

Daniel M. DiLella of Pennsylvania (Chairman)

Daniel M DiLella was designated as the Chairperson of the United States Semiquincentennial Commission in February 2018, following his prior appointment by Congress as one of the Commission’s 16 private citizens. Chairman DiLella is an accomplished business and civic leader both regionally and nationally. As President and CEO of Equus Capital Partners, he has grown the firm into a multifaceted national real estate investment company with more than $4 billion in assets in under management.

DiLella is a member of the Board of Trustees of Villanova University, and Chair of the Trustees’ Committee. He funded the establishment of the Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate at the Villanova University School for Business, where he is Chair of the Real Estate Advisory Council. DiLella also serves on the Stewardship, Executive and Executive Compensation Committees at Villanova University and is a Trustee of the Cahill Trust and Chair of the Advisory Board of Roman Catholic High School. He also serves on the boards of the Museum of the American Revolution, the Barnes Foundation, The Philly Pops, Central Philadelphia Development Corporation, and Drexel University Real Estate Advisory Council. He is a former President of the Union League of Philadelphia, where he is Chairman of the Scholarship Foundation.

 

Gillespie

 

 

Cathy Gillespie

Cathy Gillespie has held numerous positions in government and politics over the past 34 years including congressional chief of staff and member of the Presidents Commission on White House Fellows. Cathy was recently appointed to the United States Semiquincentennial Commission, the commission established by Congress to provide for the observance and commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States.

Cathy serves as co-chair of the nonpartisan educational 501 (c)(3) Constituting America with Actress Janine Turner (Northern Exposure, Friday Night Lights, Cliffhanger) – and has served in this capacity since Constituting Americas founding in 2010. Constituting America’s mission is to utilize the culture and multi-media outreach such as music, film, internet and social media, to educate, engage and inspire America’s adults and students about the importance of the U.S. Constitution and the foundation it sets forth regarding our freedoms and rights.

Cathy is active in a number of charitable organizations, having served on the Board of Visitors of Virginia State University, the board of Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services and the board of Bishop Ireton High School.

Cathy is a graduate of Texas A&M University, and is married to former Counselor to the President, Ed Gillespie. They live in Fairfax County, near George Washington’s Mt. Vernon and have three children. 

 

 

Griffin

 

Noah Griffin of California

Noah Griffin Jr. is a San Francisco native and has served local and national communities throughout his career in various capacities, including as a historian, writer, newspaper columnist, radio and television talk-show host, law editor, press secretary, campaign manager, lyricist and vocalist.

Griffin was a full-time, talk-show host on KGO Radio in San Francisco from 1980 to 1982, where he continued to work as weekend host until 1985. He was an op-ed columnist for the San Francisco Examiner, and served on the Examiner’s editorial board. He served as a nationally syndicated through Scripp–Howard, and the first San Francisco columnist to appear on “PBS NewsHour.” He served as Press Secretary to San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan from 1993 to 1996, and was appointed to the Mayor’s Council on Criminal Justice.

While spending nearly four decades in government and politics in and around San Francisco, Griffin continued to sing at the Venetian Room of the Fairmont Hotel, at the legendary Purple Onion, and at other venues.

 Following in the footsteps of his father, an early civil-rights pioneer, Griffin attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he sang with the famed Fisk Jubilee Singers. He received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Fisk in 1967 and a law degree from Harvard Law in 1970, and was a history fellow at Yale University. The CORO Foundation Fellowship in Public Affairs in San Francisco (1972–1973) and a Phelps-Stokes History Fellowship (1991) are among the many awards Griffin has received.

Griffin and his wife, Meredith Browning Griffin, reside in California and share five grown children. 

 

 

Gutmann

 


Amy Gutmann, Ph.D.

Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania since 2004, is widely recognized for her transformative leadership. Her vision, Penn Compact 2022, commits the university to increasing inclusion, integrating knowledge and innovation across disciplines, and making a profound impact locally, nationally, and globally through research, teaching, and service.

First in her family to graduate college, Dr. Gutmann has made access to a Penn education a top priority. She has more than doubled the number of students from low-income, middle-income, and first-generation college families at Penn, which is now the largest university in the U.S. offering all-grant financial aid that meets the full need of undergraduate students.

She has overseen the creation of a robust innovation ecosystem on a vibrantly expanded campus. This includes the 23-acre Pennovation Works and its flagship Pennovation Center business incubator and laboratory, which have helped Penn rank No. 4 on Reuters’ World’s Most Innovative Universities for the past three years.

Dr. Gutmann leads a globally preeminent research university and health care system attracting more than $1 billion in sponsored research annually, helping to make Penn Philadelphia’s largest private employer and No. 1 health care provider.

Global engagement has been a centerpiece of Dr. Gutmann’s presidency, highlighted by the creation of the Perry World House on campus, Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing, and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C.  Each marks major university-wide initiatives designed to bring the world to Penn and Penn to the world.

Named one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune magazine in 2018, Dr. Gutmann continues her pathbreaking scholarship as Penn’s president. Her 17th book, Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven but Nobody Wants to Die: Bioethics and the Transformation of Health Care in America, co-authored with Penn faculty member Jonathan D. Moreno, was published in 2019. A trailblazer who has held prominent national and international leadership positions, Dr. Gutmann served from 2009-17 as chair of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, as chair of the Association of American Universities from 2014-15, and is a member of the Global University Leaders Forum of the World Economic Forum.

Dr. Gutmann graduated from Radcliffe College of Harvard University. She earned her master’s degree from the London School of Economics and her doctorate from Harvard. Before her appointment at Penn, she was the Provost and the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor at Princeton University, where she also served as founding director of the University Center for Human Values, dean of the faculty, and senior adviser to the president.

 

 Andrew Hohns_Headshot

 

Andrew Hohns, Ph.D.

Dr. Hohns serves as a Managing Director at Mariner Investment Group and as Lead Portfolio Manager for the International Infrastructure Finance Company Funds. Dr. Hohns joined Mariner in 2012 to launch the Mariner Infrastructure Investment Management platform, and has overseen the development of the firm’s bank regulatory capital investment strategy. Dr. Hohns conceptualized and founded the IIFC Strategy and has overseen transaction structuring and negotiation for approximately $20 billion of notional risk transfer. Leveraging relationships at dozens of global financial institutions, Dr. Hohns manages the originations network for the Funds. Prior to joining Mariner, Dr. Hohns was a Managing Director at Cohen & Company, which he joined at its inception in 2001. While at Cohen & Company, Institutional Investor named Dr. Hohns as a member of its 2008 “20 Rising Stars of Fixed Income.” Dr. Hohns also served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business from 2012 to 2015. Dr. Hohns holds a BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters in Liberal Arts from the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in Applied Economics and Managerial Sciences from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Hohns serves as Commissioner on the US Semiquincentennial Commission and as a member of the Board of Directors of UNICEF USA and the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks.

 

 

 Koch

 

Jim Koch of Massachusetts

American entrepreneur and business keynote speaker Jim Koch is best recognized as the founder and chairman of The Boston Beer Company, otherwise known as Samuel Adams. Koch’s marketing skills have been recognized as a force that made Samuel Adams into the best-selling craft beer in the United States.

A Harvard graduate, Koch spent five years with the Boston Consulting Group working on forestry and environmental projects before co-founding The Boston Beer Company in 1984. After market research, he invested his own savings and attracted investors and help from friends and family to get behind his dream to create a locally-focused brewing company. Due to Koch’s persistence, the brand caught on, growing into the second-largest craft brewery in the country. 

In the spring of 2016, Koch published his first book, titled Quench Your Own Thirst: Business Lessons Learned Over a Beer or Two. The book takes readers behind the scenes of the making of a successful company through the eyes of one of America’s greatest brewmasters. Since the release of his book, Koch has become a top keynote speaker for corporate events and business conferences.

 

 

 Morel

 

 

Lucas Morel, Ph.D.

Lucas Morel is Professor of Politics and Head of the Politics Department at Washington and Lee University, where he has taught since 1999, and holds a Ph.D. in political science from Claremont Graduate University. He also teaches in the Master’s Program in American History and Government at Ashland University in Ohio, summer programs for the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy, and high school teacher workshops sponsored by the Gilder-Lehrman Institute, the John M. Ashbrook Center, and the Liberty Fund.

Prof. Morel is the author of Lincoln’s Sacred Effort: Defining Religion’s Role in American Self-Government and editor of Lincoln and Liberty: Wisdom for the Ages.  He is also editor of Ralph Ellison and the Raft of Hope: A Political Companion to “Invisible Man” and co-editor of The New Territory: Ralph Ellison and the Twenty-First Century. His most recent book, Lincoln and the American Founding, will be published June 2020. He is a trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society, former president of the Abraham Lincoln Institute, a consultant on the Library of Congress exhibits on Lincoln and the Civil War, was a member of the scholarly board of advisors for the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, and a member of the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, which will plan activities to commemorate the founding of the United States of America.

 

 

 McClay

 

 

Wilfred M. McClay, Ph.D.

Wilfred M. McClay is the G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty at the University of Oklahoma, and the Director of the Center for the History of Liberty.

 His book The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America was awarded the Merle Curti Award of the Organization of American Historians for the best book in American intellectual history. Among his other books are The Student’s Guide to U.S. History, Religion Returns to the Public Square: Faith and Policy in America, Figures in the Carpet: Finding the Human Person in the American Past, Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Public Life in Modern America, and A Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story.

McClay was appointed in 2002 to membership on the National Council on the Humanities, the advisory board for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and served in that capacity for 11 years. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Academy of Education.

He is a graduate of St. John’s College (Annapolis) and received his Ph.D. in History from The Johns Hopkins University.

 

Rios

 

 

Rosie Rios of California

Rosie Rios was the 43rd Treasurer of the United States and just completed her term as a Visiting Scholar at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is most recently known for initiating and leading the efforts to place a portrait of a woman on the front of U.S. currency for the first time in over a century. Upon her resignation in 2016, she received the Hamilton Award, the highest honor bestowed in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Rosie was the longest serving Senate-confirmed Treasury official beginning with her time on the Treasury/Federal Reserve Transition Team in November 2008 at the height of the financial crisis.

 Rosie is a graduate of Harvard University and was selected as the first Latina in Harvard’s 384-year history to have a portrait commissioned in her honor. She currently serves on the board of American Family Insurance, Fidelity Charitable Trust, the Schlesinger Council at Harvard, the Advisory Committee for Artemis Real Estate Partners and was previously a Trustee with the Alameda County Employees Retirement Association (ACERA). Her personal passion includes EMPOWERMENT 2020, an initiative that facilitates the physical recognition of historical American women and recently launched Notable Women, a project with some folks at Google’s Creative Lab that uses Augmented Reality to teach kids about historic American women.  She remains active in real estate finance and is consulting on several transformational projects in the Bay Area under her “RESCUE” initiative: Real Estate for Socially Conscious Urban Empowerment

 

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James L. Swanson


 

 

Trumka

 

 

Richard Trumka of Maryland

Richard Trumka is President of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). He has served as President since 2009 and was previously Secretary Treasurer from 1995 to 2009. Prior to joining the AFL-CIO, Mr. Trumka was President of United Mine Workers from 1982 to 1995, though he first joined the organization in 1974 as a Staff Attorney. His first job was working in a coal mine in 1968. 

An outspoken advocate for social and economic justice, Mr. Trumka gives voice to the critical need to ensure that all workers have a good job and the power to determine their wages and working conditions. He heads the labor movement’s efforts to create an economy based on broadly shared prosperity and to hold elected officials and employers accountable to working families.

Mr. Trumka received a Bachelor of Science degree from Pennsylvania State University in 1971, and subsequently earned a law degree from Villanova University in 1974.

Mr. Trumka is married to Barbara Vidovich, with whom he has one son. He has served on the boards of the National Labor College, the Solidarity Center, Ullico, World Justice Project, Economic Policy Institute, United Way Worldwide, and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. He has served on presidential councils under the Obama and Trump administrations.

 

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Thomas Walker, Jr. of Alabama

 

 

Young

 


Lynn Forney Young of Texas

Lynn Young has been engaged in preserving and promoting our nation’s history for decades. She has been an active member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) for more than 40 years, recently serving as the organization’s first President General from Texas.

The DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children. As one of the most inclusive genealogical societies in the country, the DAR boasts 185,000 members in almost 3,000 chapters across the United States and internationally. Encompassing an entire downtown city block, DAR National Headquarters houses one of the nation’s premier genealogical libraries, one of the foremost collections of pre-industrial American decorative arts, Washington’s largest concert hall, and an extensive collection of early American manuscripts and imprints.

Continuing her interest in historic preservation, Lynn serves as Chair of the Milam County Historical Commission and on the Board of the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association.  Lynn was appointed by Speaker Paul Ryan as one of 16 non-governmental Commissioners of the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission to begin planning for our nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026.

 Lynn and her husband, Steve, reside on their cattle ranch in Milam County, Texas, and enjoy spending time with their two children and three grandchildren.

 

Ex-Officio Members


 

David_Bernhardt_official_photo_(cropped) 


Secretary of the Interior, Honorable David Bernhardt 


 

 


Pompeo

 

Secretary of State, Honorable Mike Pompeo

Michael R. Pompeo was sworn in as Secretary of State on April 26, 2018. He previously served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from January 2017 to April 2018.

Prior to joining the Trump Administration, Mr. Pompeo was serving in his fourth term as congressman from Kansas’ 4th District. He served on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as the Energy and Commerce Committee and House Select Benghazi Committee.

Prior to his service in Congress, Mr. Pompeo founded Thayer Aerospace, where he served as CEO for more than a decade. He later became President of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment manufacturing, distribution, and service company.

Mr. Pompeo graduated first in his class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1986 and served as a cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also served with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the US Army’s Fourth Infantry Division.

After leaving active duty, Mr. Pompeo graduated from Harvard Law School, having been an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Mr. Pompeo was born on December 30, 1963, in Orange, California. He is married to Susan Pompeo and has one son, Nick.

 

 

800px-William_Barr 



Attorney General, Honorable William P. Barr

 

 

 

 Dr._Mark_T._Esper_–_Secretary_of_Defense_(cropped)

 

 

Secretary of Defense, Honorable Mark T. Esper, Ph.D.

Dr. Mark T. Esper was born on April 26, 1964, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He is a 1986 graduate of the United States Military Academy and received his commission in the Infantry. Upon completion of Ranger and Pathfinder training, he served in the 101st Airborne Division and participated in the 1990-91 Gulf War with the “Screaming Eagles.” He later commanded a Rifle Company in the 3-325 Airborne Battalion Combat Team in Vicenza, Italy. He retired from the U.S. Army in 2007 after spending 10 years on active duty and 11 years in the National Guard and Army Reserve.

After leaving active duty, he served as Chief of Staff at The Heritage Foundation think tank, followed by service as legislative director and senior policy advisor to former Senator Chuck Hagel. He was a senior professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Government Affairs committees, policy director for the House Armed Services Committee, and national security advisor for former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. During the President George W. Bush administration, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy at the Pentagon.

From 2006-2007, Dr. Esper was the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Defense and International Affairs at Aerospace Industries Association. He was the national policy director to Senator Fred Thompson for his 2008 presidential campaign, and was a Senate-appointed commissioner on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Dr. Esper later served concurrently as the Executive Vice President for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center and as Vice President for Europe and Eurasian Affairs from 2008-2010. Before being nominated as the Secretary of the Army in 2017, Dr. Esper was the Vice President for Government Relations at the Raytheon Company.

Dr. Esper is a recipient of the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Among his many military awards and decorations are the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal-Saudi Arabia, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Dr. Esper holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a doctorate in Public Policy from George Washington University. Dr. Esper and his wife, Leah, have been married for 30 years and have 3 adult children.

The Honorable Mark T. Esper was sworn in as the 27th Secretary of Defense July 23, 2019. He served as Acting Secretary of Defense from June 24, 2019, to July 15, 2019. Dr. Esper served as the Secretary of the Army from Nov. 20, 2017, to June 24, 2019, and from July 15, 2019, to July 23, 2019.

 

 

 DeVos

 

 

Secretary of Education, Honorable Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos serves as the 11th U.S. Secretary of Education. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 7, 2017 after being nominated by President Donald J. Trump.

Secretary DeVos has been involved in education policy for nearly three decades as an advocate for children and a voice for parents. She is especially passionate about reforms that help underserved children gain access to a quality education.

For 15 years, DeVos served as an in-school mentor for at-risk children in the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Public Schools. Her interactions there with students, families and teachers, according to DeVos, "changed my life and my perspective about education forever."

A leader in the movement to empower parents, DeVos has worked to support the creation of new educational choices for students in 25 states and the District of Columbia.

Prior to her confirmation, DeVos served as chairman of The Windquest Group, an enterprise and investment management firm. In addition to her leadership in the education arena, DeVos has also served on the boards of numerous national and local charitable and civic organizations, including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Kids Hope USA, ArtPrize, Mars Hill Bible Church and the Kendall College of Art and Design. 

DeVos is a graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. She is married to entrepreneur, philanthropist and community activist Dick DeVos, and together they have four children and seven grandchildren.

   Hayden
 

Librarian of Congress, Honorable Carla Hayden, Ph.D.

Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress on September 14, 2016. Hayden, the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library, was nominated to the position by President Barack Obama on February 24, 2016, and her nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 13.

Prior to her latest post she served, since 1993, as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland. Hayden was nominated by President Obama to be a member of the National Museum and Library Services Board in January 2010 and was confirmed to that post by the Senate in June 2010. Prior to joining the Pratt Library, Hayden was deputy commissioner and chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library from 1991 to 1993. She was an assistant professor for Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh from 1987 to 1991. Hayden was library services coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago from 1982 to 1987. She began her career with the Chicago Public Library as the young adult services coordinator from 1979 to 1982 and as a library associate and children’s librarian from 1973 to 1979.

Hayden was president of the American Library Association from 2003 to 2004. In 1995, she was the first African American to receive Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award in recognition of her outreach services at the Pratt Library, which included an after-school center for Baltimore teens offering homework assistance and college and career counseling. Hayden received a B.A. from Roosevelt University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago.

 

Bunch

 


Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Honorable Lonnie G. Bunch, III

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian. He assumed his position June 16, 2019. As Secretary, he oversees 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers, and several education units and centers.

Previously, Bunch was the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. When he started as director in July 2005, he had one staff member, no collections, no funding and no site for a museum. Driven by optimism, determination and a commitment to build “a place that would make America better,” Bunch transformed a vision into a bold reality. The museum has welcomed more than 6 million visitors since it opened in September 2016 and compiled a collection of 40,000 objects that are housed in the first “green building” on the National Mall.

Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument, the nearly 400,000-square-foot National Museum of African American History and Culture is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history.

Before his appointment as director of the museum, Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society (2001–2005). There, he led a successful capital campaign to transform the Historical Society in celebration of its 150th anniversary, managed an institutional reorganization, initiated an unprecedented outreach initiative to diverse communities and launched a much-lauded exhibition and program on teenage life titled “Teen Chicago.”

A widely published author, Bunch has written on topics ranging from the black military experience, the American presidency and all-black towns in the American West to diversity in museum management and the impact of funding and politics on American museums. His most recent book, A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump, which chronicles the making of the museum that would become one of the most popular destinations in Washington.

Bunch has worked at the Smithsonian in the past, holding several positions at its National Museum of American History from 1989 through 2000. As the museum’s associate director for curatorial affairs for six years (1994–2000), he oversaw the curatorial and collections management staff and led the team that developed a major permanent exhibition on the American presidency. He also developed “Smithsonian’s America” for the American Festival Japan 1994; this exhibition, which was presented in Japan, explored the history, culture and diversity of the United States.

Bunch served as the curator of history and program manager for the California
African American Museum in Los Angeles from 1983 to 1989. While there, he organized several award-winning exhibitions, including “The Black Olympians, 1904–1950” and “Black Angelenos: The Afro-American in Los Angeles, 1850–1950.” He also produced several historical documentaries for public television.

Born in Belleville, New Jersey, Bunch has held numerous teaching positions at universities across the country, including American University in Washington, D.C., the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth and George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

In service to the historical and cultural community, Bunch has served on the advisory boards of the American Association of Museums and the American Association for State and Local History. In 2005, Bunch was named one of the 100 most influential museum professionals of the 20th century by the American Association of Museums.

Among his many awards, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 and reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2010. In 2019, he was awarded the Freedom Medal, one of the Four Freedom Awards from the Roosevelt Institute, for his contribution to American culture as a historian and storyteller; the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal from the Hutchins Center at Harvard University; and the National Equal Justice Award from the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund.

Bunch received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the American University in Washington, D.C.

 

 Ferriero

 

Archivist of the United States, Honorable David Ferriero

David S. Ferriero, a native of Beverly, Massachusetts, was confirmed as 10th Archivist of the United States on November 6, 2009. Created in 1934, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is responsible for preserving and providing access to the records of the U.S. Government. NARA has 44 facilities across the country, including 14 Presidential Libraries, containing approximately 15 billion pages of textual records; 43 million photographs; miles and miles of film and video, and more than 6 billion electronic records.

Previously, Mr. Ferriero served as the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries and held top library positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Duke University.

Mr. Ferriero earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature from Northeastern University and a master’s degree from the Simmons College of Library and Information Science. Mr. Ferriero served as a Navy hospital corpsman in Vietnam.

 

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Crosby Kemper III, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Crosby Kemper is the sixth director of Institute of Museum and Library Services. He was commissioned by the White House on January 24, 2020, following his confirmation by the United States Senate. IMLS, an independent government agency, is the primary source of federal support for the nation's museums and libraries.

Kemper is a dedicated advocate for education and learning for people of all ages and backgrounds. He comes to IMLS from the Kansas City Public Library, where as director, he established the library as one of the city’s leading cultural destinations and a hub of community engagement.

Under his direction, the library made special event programming a high-profile focus, with more than half a million people attending its evening programs or visiting exhibits in the art galleries. During his tenure, the Kansas City Public Library received multiple awards, including IMLS’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service in 2008.

Kemper also recently served as chair of the board of directors of the Schools, Health, & Libraries Broadband Coalition, which supports open, affordable broadband connections for local community organizations. 

Kemper’s career began in banking; he most recently served as CEO of UMB Financial Corporation. Kemper has received the Difference Maker Award from the Urban League of Kansas City, the William F. Yates Medallion for Distinguished Service from William Jewell College, and the 2010 Harmony Humanitarian Hoffman Legacy Award. His board service has included the Kansas City Symphony, the Black Archives of Mid-America, Union Station Kansas City, and the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.

 Kemper is the editor of and a contributor to Winston Churchill: Resolution, Defiance, Magnanimity, Good Will, published by the University of Missouri Press. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University.

 

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Mary Anne Carter, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

Mary Anne Carter was confirmed as the 12th chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts on August 1, 2019, receiving unanimous consent from the United States Senate. Carter served as acting chairman of the Arts Endowment beginning on June 5, 2018 and following 18 months as the agency’s senior deputy chairman.

Since arriving at the agency, Carter has pushed to make the National Endowment for the Arts more accessible to the American people, directing an expansion of Creative Forces (an arts therapy program for U.S. service members and veterans recovering from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and other psychological health conditions) and bolstering many of its national initiatives, including Shakespeare in American Communities, NEA Big Read, Poetry Out Loud, and the Jazz Masters and National Heritage Fellowships. 

To further expand the reach of the Arts Endowment, Carter has held the past several public meetings of the National Council on the Arts at locations outside the agency’s offices. These include a June 2018 meeting in Charleston, West Virginia—the first such meeting outside of Washington, DC in 27 years—and in June 2019, in Detroit, Michigan.

Carter brings a unique perspective to the Arts Endowment. Prior to her appointment, she was engaged in public policy analysis, issue tracking, and corporate and campaign communications through her work as a public affairs consultant. During her time at the Arts Endowment, she has demonstrated that lessons learned in her prior professional life are effective tools in directing the work of an agency dependent upon the support and confidence of Congress.

Her knowledge and genuine love for the arts are rooted at the most personal of levels—through the learning differences initially observed in her daughter at age seven. This challenge led Carter to schools that employ the arts as a teaching method in every class, making the learning process both productive and enjoyable for her daughter. Carter understands the power of the arts, as she witnesses that power every day.

 

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Jon Parrish Peede, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities

Jon Parrish Peede is Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. His previous positions include publisher of the Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR) at the University of Virginia, literature grants director at the National Endowment for the Arts, counselor to NEA Chairman Dana Gioia, director of the NEA Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience program, director of the NEA Big Read program, director of communications at Millsaps College, and editor at Mercer University Press with a focus on the humanities. He has written speeches for a U.S. president, a first lady, and a librarian of Congress.

From 2007 to 2011, Peede oversaw the NEA’s funding of literary organizations and fellowships to creative writers and translators. For seven years, he led writing workshops for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Bahrain, England, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, the Persian Gulf, and on domestic bases.

Under his leadership,VQR expanded its paid readership to 51 countries. He acquired work from seven Pulitzer Prize winners and edited interviews with two Nobel laureates.

He has served on several nonprofit boards, including the national council of the Margaret Walker Center for the Study of the African-American Experience at Jackson State University. 

Peede holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Vanderbilt University, and a master’s in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi.

He is the coeditor of Inside the Church of Flannery O’Connor: Sacrament, Sacramental, and the Sacred in Her Fiction (Mercer, 2007) and editor of a bilingual anthology of contemporary American fiction (Lo que cuenta el vecino: cuentos contemporáneos de los Estados Unidos [UNUM: Mexico City, 2008].) 

 


Executive Director


 

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Frank Giordano

Frank Giordano is President and CEO of The Philly POPS, America’s largest stand-alone Pops orchestra, and President and CEO of Atlantic Trailer Leasing Corp., a transportation and storage company that has remained in the Giordano family since 1949.

Frank has recently been appointed Executive Director of the United States Semiquincentennial Commission. In this capacity, Frank oversees the initiatives honoring the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States. 

Frank has received numerous honors and awards for his philanthropic and professional work, including the prestigious Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, the Philadelphia Business Hall of Fame Award, the Philadelphia Music Alliance’s inaugural Platinum Award, and a City Council of Philadelphia Citation. He was appointed by the White House to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts of the John F. Kennedy Center.

Additionally, Frank is the Honorary Consul of Malta for Pennsylvania, promoting commercial, cultural, educational, medical and governmental relationships between the Philadelphia region and Malta.

As a graduate of Rutgers University, Frank and his wife, Dottie, founded the Frank and Dorothy Giordano Endowed Scholarship at the Rutgers School of Business. The scholarship was created for full-time working students to gain financial assistance.

Frank and Dottie reside in Moorestown, New Jersey.