Speaker and Honorary Degrees

U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne W. Patterson


U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne PattersonU.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne W. Patterson will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at Webster University’s 2012 commencement ceremony. In addition, Webster alumna Mary Ann Wyrsch (BA ’65) and Mike Woolston, mayor of Joplin, Mo., will receive honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees. During the ceremony, Mayor Woolston will deliver words of inspiration and Ms. Wyrsch will welcome graduates to the Webster University alumni network.

“We are honored to recognize these individuals who evidence a deep commitment to building community,” said Beth Stroble, president of Webster University. “They have distinguished themselves in their lives and careers by building cross-cultural understanding, acceptance and knowledge of others. Their commitment to sustaining communities and dedication to improving lives locally, regionally and internationally is consistent with our mission at Webster.”

“Time and time again, our intentional and purposeful selection of Webster’s commencement speakers is reflective of our commitment to achieving global academic and operational excellence,” said Julian Schuster, Webster University provost and senior vice president.

An American diplomat and career minister in the Foreign Service of the United States, Ambassador Patterson was appointed to her current position on June 30, 2011. She previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan from July 2007 to October 2010, and as acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in 2005. Prior to her assignment to Pakistan, Ambassador Patterson served as the Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. She also has served as Ambassador to Colombia and El Salvador.

Ambassador Patterson’s numerous awards include the State Department’s Superior Honor award in 1981 and 1988, its Meritorious Honor award in 1977 and 1983, and a Presidential Honor award in 1993. She also received the Order of the Congress from the Congress of Colombia, and the Order of Boyaca from the government of Colombia. Ambassador Patterson also was recognized by the government of El Salvador with the Order of Jose Matias Delgado.

A leader in cross-cultural connections, Webster alumna Wyrsch has more than 24 years of experience as a chief operating officer and executive in the public and non-profit sectors, serving at the national and international levels. She is the former president and executive director of the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund and the former United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees. Prior to her U.N. appointment, Wyrsch was a career U.S. government employee, culminating with her service as the acting commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and vice chair of Women in Community Service In., in Alexandria, Va.

Joplin, Mo., Mayor Mike Woolston became a leader in sustainable community development following the devastating tornadoes of May 2011. A Marine and realtor for PRO100, he was first appointed to the City Council in December 1997. Woolston served as Joplin’s Mayor Pro-Tem from 2008 to 2010, when he was elected Mayor. His extensive community involvement includes serving as Ex-Officio Director of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, and participation in the Rotary, Chamber, gtruman Coordinating Council, Exchange Club and numerous charities.