April 06, 2010

ALLIANCE, Ohio - A 1969 graduate of Mount Union College, Brian L. Stafford, Director of the United States Secret Service, will return to his alma mater Sunday, May 13 to present the 2001 Commencement Address

Stafford, a native of Sharpsville, PA, graduated from Mount Union with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration. While at the College, he excelled as a Purple Raider, earning letters in football all four years and being named Most Valuable Offensive Player and All Conference his senior year after breaking the school records for most receptions in a season (38) and most touchdown receptions in a game (4). However, Stafford's success had only begun while at Mount Union

Following his graduation in 1969, Stafford enlisted in the U.S. Army and served a tour of duty in Vietnam. He became a highly decorated war veteran, receiving the Bronze Star, Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal

Then in 1971, Stafford began his career with the United States Secret Service when he was assigned to the Cleveland field office. He later was appointed to the position of Special Agent in Charge (SAIC) of the Presidential Protective Division where he was responsible for safeguarding the President of the United States and his family

Upon completing his tenure as SAIC of the Presidential Protective Division, Stafford was appointed Assistant Director of the Office of Protective Operations. In this position, Stafford managed security operations for all Secret Service protectees, including the President and Vice President of the United States, their families, former Presidents and foreign dignitaries visiting the United States

Finally, Stafford was appointed Director of the United States Secret Service on March 4, 1999 and for the past two years of his term, has been very successful in increasing recruitment and promoting the agency's international law enforcement efforts, which have highlighted the technological impact of electronic and financial crimes worldwide. For instance, he authorized the opening of several new foreign Secret Service field offices in Bogota, Colombia; Lagos, Nigeria; Moscow, Russia; Pretoria, South Africa; and Mexico City, Mexico to address these problems

Under Stafford's leadership, the United States Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) has worked with the Department of Education to help law enforcement and school officials respond to, evaluate and prevent threats of school violence. Stafford also has encouraged the Secret Service's involvement in providing forensic assistance to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in cases involving missing and exploited children. The Secret Service provides support to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by rendering expertise in the areas of age enhancement, polygraph examinations, handwriting analysis, ink analysis and fingerprint research. In 2000, Stafford was appointed to the Board of Directors for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Stafford also has taken an active role in promoting the Secret Service's law enforcement interests through the media. He has appeared on a variety of televised programs including "Behind Closed Doors" with Joan Lunden, MSNBC with Brian Williams, the "Today Show," "60 Minutes II," and C-SPAN. In addition, he testifies regularly at Congressional hearings

Throughout his career, Stafford has received numerous awards, including the 1999 Presidential Distinguished Executive Rank Award and the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation's Most Distinguished American Award, the Colombian National Police's Meritorious Citizen Medal and the Distinctive Operative Medal

Stafford and his wife Martha, also a Mount Union College graduate, have two children, Ben and Maggie. Ben graduated from Wake Forest University where he earned both bachelor's and master's degrees. Maggie is in her first year at the University of Virginia.

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