COMMENCEMENT: EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt to give 2004 Commencement Address

Published: March 16, 2004 | Author: Renee Ballenger | Read Time: 2 minutes

Michael O. Leavitt, Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, will deliver the keynote address to the 2004 graduates of Southern Utah University in the campus’ Centrum Arena, Saturday, May 8, 2004.

Leavitt was sworn in as the 10th Administrator of the EPA on November 6, 2003. Prior to leading the Agency, he served as Utah’s 14th governor for nearly 11 years. In that position he proved to be a national leader on homeland security, welfare reform and environmental management. Six times during his gubernatorial administration, independent public policy analysts ranked Utah among the best-managed states in the nation. Federal government leaders called on Leavitt regularly to help resolve national issues that directly affected the states, and sometimes beyond. Leavitt led Utah through the preparation for and days of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. These were recognized as the most environmentally-sensitive Games ever. Organizers achieved net zero air emissions, zero waste and full compliance with all safety and environmental regulations. One-hundred-thousand trees were planted as a lasting legacy of the environmental accomplishments.

Born and raised in Cedar City, Utah, Leavitt is a son of southern Utah, and Southern Utah University, as he earned his bachelor’s degree from then-Southern Utah State College (SUSC) in economics and business in 1978. Nineteen years later, SUU was happy to bestow upon Leavitt, an honorary doctorate degree of Humanities during the 1997 Commencement ceremony. Leavitt is an ongoing and enthusiastic supporter of SUU programs; he makes frequent visits to campus to endorse and participate in events like the Utah Summer Games, the Utah Shakespearean Festival and the Utah Rural Economic Summit.

SUU appreciated and benefited from Leavitt’s causes as a state leader, including his drive to create better schools and empower states. A tireless advocate of his state’s economic growth, he cut taxes 16 times in five years. Armored with foresight in planning for future development, Leavitt took advantage of the tools of advanced technology in programs like, “21st Century Communities,” “Envision Utah,” and “Utah: Where Ideas Connect.”

Now, as a thoughtful leader on national environmental management, Leavitt implements his Enlibra philosophy that he co-authored with former Oregon governor, John Kitzhaber. Enlibra, derived from Latin roots meaning to move toward balance, operates on the basis of eight principles which form the prism through which Leavitt conducts his management of the EPA.

In addition to Enlibra, Leavitt has held to pursuing and maintaining three goals throughout his public service: to leave things better than he found them; to plant seeds for the next generation; and to give it all he has. The 2004 graduates of SUU, their friends, family, professors and mentors anticipate receiving no less than these from Leavitt during his next visit to his alma mater as the 2004 Commencement speaker.

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