Public Invited to USU Convocation by former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis

Former Secretary of Defense and retired four-star Marine Corps General James Mattis will visit Utah State University on Tuesday, Jan. 21. 

A guest of USU's Center for Anticipatory Intelligence, Mattis was commander of the U.S. Central Command from 2010-13 and served as defense secretary from January 2017 to December 2018. Mattis’ most recent book, “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead,” went to No. 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list following its release last September.

The full university community, as well as the public, will have an opportunity to hear Mattis speak at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, in the Evan N. Stevenson Ballroom in the Taggart Student Center on the USU campus. The title of his speech is “U.S. Leadership on the World Stage: Getting It Right, and Healing Rifts at Home.” Doors open one hour before, and tickets are not required. 

A native of Washington state, Mattis graduated from Central Washington State College in 1971 with a bachelor’s in history before embarking on a career in the military. He also graduated from the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the National War College, and served in the Persian Gulf War and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Mattis is the recipient of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, among many other military recognitions, and served as the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO from 2007-09 and as commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command from 2007-10.     

Mattis previously visited USU in April 2014, speaking on national security issues just over a year after retiring as the commander of CENTCOM following 44 years of service in the Marine Corps. In May 2019, Mattis received an appointment as the Davies Family Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, a public policy research center at Stanford University. 

USU’s Center for Anticipatory Intelligence is housed in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and draws its faculty from across campus. Its founding leadership team includes: CAI Director Jeannie Johnson, an associate professor of political science and former intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency; Briana Bowen, a Harry S. Truman Scholar and former leader in the Oxford University Strategic Studies Group; and Matthew Berrett, who came to USU’s Space Dynamics Laboratory after a career with the Central Intelligence Agency, including as a CIA assistant director and chief of the Global Issues Mission Center.

The center delivers interdisciplinary academic programs, research and professional training focused on emergent security challenges deriving from advancing technology. As the first of its kind in the nation, it combines top-tier expertise from across disciplines to train university students, government and business professionals with the skills and analytic sophistication necessary to anticipate and confront today’s challenges.