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CNN political analyst and former presidential adviser to address Loyola's Class of 2014

Loyola press release - February 24, 2014

David Gergen, adviser to four presidents and senior political analyst for CNN, will address the Class of 2014 during Loyola University New Orleans' spring commencement ceremony Saturday, May 10. Gergen will receive an honorary degree during the ceremony along with former New Orleans Saints football player and ALS advocate Steve Gleason; alumnus Harold M. “Max” Messmer Jr. ‘67, CEO of Robert Half International, the world’s largest specialized staffing firm; Bethany Ewald Bultman, journalist, author and co-founder of the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic; and James E. “Jimmy” Fitzmorris Jr., prominent Louisiana and New Orleans politician and political adviser. Loyola's College of Law commencement speaker will be alumnus and chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, The Hon. Carl E. Stewart, J.D. ‘74, who will also receive an honorary degree.

Both commencement ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday, May 10 and will be held in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in downtown New Orleans. The undergraduate and graduate ceremony begins at 9:45 a.m., and the College of Law ceremony starts at 5:45 p.m.

David Gergens political expertise spans four presidents and both parties—experience he draws on as a senior political analyst for CNN. Gergen joined the Nixon White House in 1971 as a staff assistant on the speech writing team and later worked in the administration of President Gerald Ford. He was an adviser to the 1980 George H.W. Bush presidential campaign and went on to serve as director of communications for President Ronald Reagan. He also served as adviser to Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Warren Christopher on domestic and foreign affairs. In 2000, Gergen published his experiences in the best-selling book, “Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton.”

Gergen was born in Durham, N.C. He graduated with honors from both Yale College in 1963 and Harvard Law School in 1967 and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy for nearly three and a half years, posted to a ship in Japan. He is currently a professor of public service at the Harvard Kennedy School and the director of its Center for Public Leadership.

Steve Gleason played for the New Orleans Saints from 2000-2008. He will perhaps always be remembered for his blocked punt on the night the Superdome re-opened for the first time after Hurricane Katrina.

In January 2011, Gleason was diagnosed with ALS, considered a terminal neuromuscular disease. Gleason maintains faith in a solution to heal and has made it his personal mission to show that patients can not only live, but thrive after this diagnosis. With that in mind, Gleason and his wife, Michel, formed Team Gleason and its Gleason Initiative Foundation to help provide leading-edge technology, equipment and services to individuals with neuromuscular diseases or injuries. Team Gleason recently opened the Team Gleason House for Innovative Living in New Orleans, only the second of its kind in the world. The residence is equipped with the latest computer-operated technology to allow individuals with ALS the highest level of independence possible.

Loyola alumnus Harold M. “Max” Messmer Jr. ‘67 has spent 28 years as chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. Messmer has led the growth of the company from a small business with revenues of $7 million in 1986 to a global leader in professional staffing and consulting services with revenues of $4.25 billion today. Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., Robert Half is a member of Standard & Poor’s S&P 500 index and has been on Fortune magazine’s list of the “World’s Most Admired Companies” and Ethisphere’s “2013 World’s Most Ethical Companies” list.

During the Reagan administration, Messmer served for two years on the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Negotiations. Messmer graduated summa cum laude and was valedictorian at Loyola University New Orleans in 1967 and is a graduate of the New York University School of Law.

Bethany Ewald Bultman resurrected the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic following the devastating effects on the city’s health care system caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Originally co-founded with her husband in 1997, the clinic officially re-opened Thanksgiving 2005 with the help of the LSU Healthcare Network. Today, the Musicians’ Clinic and Assistance Foundation provides comprehensive health care and mental health/social services for New Orleans musicians.

Bultman's career as a journalist in New York took her from maharaja's palaces for The Times newspaper in London to a week in the Texas Hill country with Lady Bird Johnson for House & Garden magazine. From her four appearances on Oprah or her commentary on BBC radio, she is known for her vibrant insights and (often irreverent) historical commentary. Others know her as the author of “The Reflections of the South,” “Redneck Heaven,” “The Compass Guide to New Orleans” and “The Compass Guide to the Gulf South.”

James E. “Jimmy” Fitzmorris Jr. has been one of the most dominant figures in New Orleans and Louisiana politics since the 1950s. He served for 12 years on the New Orleans City Council as District C councilman and as councilman-at-large. Actively engaged in his district and citywide issues, Fitzmorris was one of the original pioneer thinkers behind the development of the Superdome.

In 1972, Fitzmorris left local government when he ran successfully to become Louisiana’s first full-time lieutenant governor. During his tenure, he became the recognized national spokesperson and authority on Louisiana economic development serving as coordinator of international trade and development and as chairman of the Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry. It was during his stewardship as lieutenant governor that the state’s economic development activities were rated first in the nation. Under Gov. David C. Treen, he served as executive assistant for economic development and international affairs and was re-elected chairman of the Commerce and Industry Board.

Loyola alumnus The Honorable Carl E. Stewart, J.D. 74, became the first African-American chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Shreveport, La., Oct. 1, 2012 following an illustrious career in law. After his service as a military lawyer, he served as a staff attorney with the Louisiana Attorney General's Office, assistant U.S. attorney, special assistant city and district attorney and private practitioner. In 1985, he was elected as a district judge for the First Judicial District Court of Caddo Parish in Louisiana and was re-elected without opposition six years later. In 1991, again without opposition, he was elected to the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal. In 1994, he was appointed by President William J. Clinton to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals which encompasses Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Stewart received his B.A. degree from Dillard University in 1971 and his J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law in 1974. Immediately following admission to the Louisiana Bar Association in October 1974, he entered the U.S. Army and served as a captain in the Judge Advocate General Corps until October 1977.