Former U.S. Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the State University of New York on May 14 at SUNY Oswego’s 155th Commencement ceremony before delivering his address to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences graduates.
Melanie Littlejohn, National Grid’s regional executive director for Upstate New York, was the featured speaker for the School of Business ceremony. Seth Mulligan, operations manager for TCG-Player, addressed graduates during the ceremony for the School of Education and the School of Communication, Media and the Arts. U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer also spoke to graduates and their families.
McHugh, the 21st secretary of the Army and former congressman and state senator in Upstate New York districts encompassing Oswego, was the second longest-serving Army secretary in history, serving from 2009 to 2015. As secretary, he was chief executive officer and was responsible for a budget of more than $243 billion at its height and a workforce of more than a million active duty, Army National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers as well as 250,000 civilian employees.
He had oversight on all matters relating to the Army. He earned a reputation as a hands-on problem solver.
Over four decades, McHugh worked in government at the local, state and national levels, succeeding H. Douglas Barclay as state senator.
He had served nine terms as congressman before his appointment as secretary of the Army by President Barack Obama.