Chestertown, MD, July 28, 2003 — On Thursday, August 21, 2003, Washington College will hold its annual convocation to welcome incoming students and to launch the new academic year. This year's guest of honor is Lt. Governor Michael S. Steele, who will address the Class of 2007 and receive an Honorary Doctor of Law. The ceremony will be held in the Cain Athletic Center Gymnasium starting at 2 p.m.
This fall, the College will enroll 360 first-time freshmen chosen from a record number of applicants, 2,114 in all. With an average high school GPA of 3.47 and the best class rank profile in the College's history (66 percent in the top 20 percent of their high school classes), this year's freshman class is one of the highest achieving on record.
The College is proud to honor Lt. Governor Michael S. Steele, the first African American in Maryland history to be elected to the position of lieutenant governor. Through his office, Steele works with the Maryland's congressional delegation and with state and local officials to promote and implement the administration's policies and initiatives.
The gubernatorial election of 2002 capped a lifetime of triumph against the odds and earning acceptance in places where many felt he did not belong. Born in Prince George's County, the son of a laundress, Steele attended Archbishop Carroll High School and Johns Hopkins University, where he earned a B.A. in international relations and served as student body president. Later he attended the Augustinian Friars Seminary at Villanova University, and he earned his J.D. in 1991 from Georgetown University Law School.
During the 1990s, Steele worked as a lawyer specializing in international law and financial transactions while rising through the ranks of the Republican Party in Prince George's County. In 2000 he was elected chair of the Maryland State Republican Party, becoming the first African American in the nation to head a state party. He also served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Republican National Committee.
Steele has distinguished himself in many areas of public service, including politics, education and social reform. In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Steele to serve on the Board of Visitors of the United State Naval Academy. Under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, he served as a commissioner on the National Federal Election Reform Commission, and in 2001 served on the NAACP's Blue Ribbon Panel on Election Reform. Other affiliations include the Board of Visitors of the Hospice of the National Capital Area (2001), the Archdiocese of Washington Pastoral Council (1996-1999), and the Board of Trustees of the Johns Hopkins University (1981-1985).
Steele is a member of the Prince George's County Chapter of the NAACP and the Johns Hopkins University Society of Black Alumni. He has received several awards for his outstanding contributions to Maryland, including the African American Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County Outstanding Speaker Award, the NAACP Meritorious Achievement Award, the Knights of Columbus Maryland State Council Citizen of the Year Award, and the Prince George's County Board of Trade Citizen of the Year Award. Steele lives in Landover Hills, MD, with his wife Andrea and their two sons, Michael and Drew.