Recently elected Illinois Congressman Bill Enyart has been selected as the commencement speaker for Lindenwood University-Belleville’s first graduation ceremony in campus history. The inaugural commencement will take place on Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m. in the Lynx Arena with the university expecting approximately 500 graduates.
“This is first ever commencement for the campus, and for me it’s a great honor to give the first commencement address,” said Enyart. “I hope to give a message that resonates with the vitality of southwestern Illinois and the vitality that the Lindenwood campus has brought on Belleville and the surrounding community.”
Dr. Jerry Bladdick, vice president and chief administrative officer for Lindenwood University-Belleville, also commented on the significance of this historic moment for the campus.
“The fact that the Belleville campus of the LU system is now hosting its first graduation ceremony speaks to the maturity of the campus and our growth within southwestern Illinois,” said Bladdick.
On Nov. 6, Major General Enyart was elected to represent the State of Illinois in the United States House of Representatives. He has served the state since 2007 as the director of military affairs for the Illinois National Guard and as a member of the Governor’s Cabinet; he is the Governor’s principal advisor on military matters. Enyart was previously a managing partner of a Belleville law firm for nearly 30 years.
Enyart’s past speaking roles include keynote speaker at the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and International Law Conference in Chicago, Ill. In addition, he has served on the City of Belleville Historic Preservation Commission and is a member of the Illinois, Missouri, and St. Clair County Bar Associations.
Enyart earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville, his Master of Science in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College, and his juris doctorate from Southern Illinois University.
“When President (Jim) Evans and the Lindenwood University Board of Directors approved the idea of the Belleville campus hosting its first graduation, my immediate thought was to have Major Bill Enyart as our commencement speaker,” Bladdick said. “As fortuitous as it may seem, Major Enyart was asked to be our speaker even before he was running for Congress. His impressive background as a retired major general and now a congressman only confirms that he was the right choice for us. Enyart’s leadership skills, community presence, and military service make him the ideal commencement speaker for any university.”