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Political commentator Michael Steele to speak at ceremony honoring high-achieving students

Michael Steele, a political commentator and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, will deliver the keynote address as Western Carolina University holds a ceremony to recognize the academic success of 1,651 students who were named to the university’s chancellor’s list for fall semester 2018.

The event will begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, in the performance hall of the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center and also include remarks by Alison Morrison-Shetlar, WCU interim chancellor, and Carol Burton, the university’s acting provost. Both the ceremony and a reception that will be held afterward in the Star Lobby of the Bardo Arts Center are free and open to the public.

Michael Steele

WCU students are named to the chancellor’s list if they achieve a 3.8 or higher GPA during the previous semester. The fall 2018 list includes 134 students who graduated at the end of the fall semester, plus 66 distance students.

In addition to serving as the first African-American chairman of the RNC, Steele was the first African-American elected to statewide office in Maryland, where he served as lieutenant governor from 2003 until 2007. Most recently, he was president and CEO of The Steele Group, a consulting firm working with institutional and individual clients to design business development, investor, networking and communications strategies.

Currently a political analyst for MSNBC, Steele has served as a contributor for the Fox News Channel and as a regular host for the Salem Radio Network’s nationally syndicated “Morning in America Show.” He also has appeared on talk shows such as HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” and Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.” A self-described “Lincoln Republican,” Steele writes a regular column for and and his writings on law, business and politics have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times and other publications. He also is the author of “Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda.”

Born on Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, Steele was raised in Washington, D.C., and spent three years in preparation for the priesthood in the Order of St. Augustine. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown Law Center.

Steele’s appearance at WCU is part of the university’s Distinguished Speaker Series. The Feb. 12 event will be live-streamed at this web page.

For more information, contact WCU’s Office of Student Transitions at 828-227-3017.

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