Homeland Security head to speak in Fulton

Thursday, October 11, 2007 | 5:43 p.m. CDT; updated 5:34 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

COLUMBIA — Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is slated to speak Wednesday afternoon at Westminster College in Fulton.

Chertoff was named to the post in February 2005, replacing Tom Ridge. The Homeland Security Department was created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Chertoff was a federal prosecutor and judge and the assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.

The lecture will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Champ Auditorium.

Westminster College, a private, liberal arts school, has a history of sponsoring renowned speakers and world leaders. In 1946, Winston Churchill famously spoke of “the iron curtain” in Europe during his historic “Sinews of Peace” speech.

Rob Crouse, Westminster’s director of college relations, said the school’s ability to attract national and international lecturers has been, in large part, due to Churchill’s appearance there. Crouse said Chertoff’s press secretary is a Westminster graduate and told Chertoff about the school’s connection to Churchill, whom Chertoff admires.

Crouse said that as of Thursday, they had not confirmed the topic of Chertoff’s lecture.

Other visiting speakers have included presidents Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and foreign leaders Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher and Lech Walesa.

Crouse said the school is pleased to offer students the opportunity to hear such speakers because “a part of our mission is to build leaders of character and to offer our students a broad range of perspectives.”

Although admission is free, reserved seat tickets will be required. Members of the public can request tickets by calling 573-592-5319 or e-mailing

For more information, go to the school's Web site.

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