U.S. Senator Fred Thompson to speak at TTU spring commencement

U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, an influential national figure from Tennessee who has helped shape the country's political landscape for almost 30 years, will speak to Tennessee Tech University graduates at spring commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 11.

Thompson will speak to the 887 students expected to receive undergraduate and graduate degrees at the ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. in the university's Hooper Eblen Center. 

Sen. Thompson is a member of the Senate Committee on Finance, which has jurisdiction over taxes, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare reform, and international trade. 

He also serves as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the National Security Working Group, which observes and monitors executive branch negotiations with foreign governments. In 2002, he was elected to the Council on Foreign Relations. 

Sen. Thompson, who recently announced he would not seek re-election, was elected by Tennesseans in 1994 to the remaining two years of an unexpired Senate term. When he was returned for a full term in 1996, he received more votes than any previous candidate for any office in state history. 

A Lawrenceburg, Tenn., native, he received his undergraduate degree in philosophy and political science from Memphis State University in 1964 and his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1967. Two years after law school, he was named an Assistant U.S. Attorney and, at age 30, was appointed Minority Counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee. He authored a Watergate memoir, At That Point in Time.

Students graduating from Tennessee Tech this spring hail from 22 states including Tennessee, 75 Tennessee counties and 12 foreign countries. They represent 40 undergraduate fields of study and 17 graduate fields. Following spring commencement, Tennessee Tech will have granted more than 50,000 degrees.