Commencement SpeakerGAMBIER, Ohio (May 3, 2004) Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snow will speak at Kenyon's one hundred seventy-sixth Commencement ceremony on May 22.
When Snow was sworn in as the seventy-third secretary of the treasury on February 3, 2003, he became the second Kenyon alumnus to hold a cabinet position. The first? Edwin M. Stanton, a member of the Class of 1834, served as secretary of war under Abraham Lincoln.
Snow has held a number of prominent jobs since his days in Gambier. Before taking over as treasury secretary, he served as chairman and chief executive officer of CSX Corporation. Snow guided the transportation giant through a period of uncertainty and change, including a contentious railroad merger with Conrail that made headlines for several weeks in 1996. During the turbulent days leading up to an agreement between the two railroads, a reporter with the Philadelphia Enquirer wrote of Snow's "quick wit and ability to hold an audience with tales from behind the scenes at places such as the White House."
Snow began gathering those behind-the-scenes political tales during his days at the Department of Transportation where he worked at various posts from 1972 to 1976, including a stint as administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
As chairman of the Business Roundtable, a policy group comprised of two hundred and fifty chief executive officers of the largest U.S. companies, the staunch Republican formed a friendship with President Bill Clinton. Snow played a major role in support of 1993's North American Free Trade Agreement.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1939, Snow attended Kenyon from 1958 to 1959 before finishing his bachelor's degree at the University of Toledo in 1962. The College presented him with an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1993. He already held a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia and a law degree from the George Washington University.