Longtime public servant to speak at fall commencement

Daily Egyptian file photo

Daily Egyptian file photo

By Daily Egyptian staff

A 1971 alumnus and longtime public servant has been chosen to give the commencement speech for the university’s fall graduation ceremony for undergraduate, graduate and professional students.

Delivering the address is Howard A. Peters III, who graduated from SIUC with his master’s degree in guidance and educational psychology, according to a university news release. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Dec. 17 in the SIU Arena.

A criminal justice consultant, expert witness and president of HAP, INC., a consulting, strategy and advocacy service, Peters has spent nearly 30 years as a public servant whose career included two cabinet positions under former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar. 


In 1991, he was appointed as the first African-American head of the Illinois Department of Corrections by then-Gov. Edgar. Prior to becoming director, Peters had over two decades of service in the IDOC. 

This isn’t the first time Peters has given an address at the university. He gave the SIU School of Law address in 2001.

Peters also serves on several boards, including the Illinois State Commission on Sentencing and Criminal Justice Reform, the Springfield Memorial Health System, the Illinois Medicaid Advisory Committee and AARP. In addition, he is assistant pastor of the Fresh Visions Community Church in Springfield.

In a statement Monday, interim Chancellor Brad Colwell said he is delighted Peters agreed to be the speaker, adding that his “amazing personal journey” to high positions within state government began in public housing in Memphis, Tenn.

“His story serves as an inspiration to all of us — but I hope especially to our graduates,” Colwell said.

The Daily Egyptian news desk can be reached at 618-536-3326 or at [email protected].

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