In recognition of his work in and around the community, Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor and Albright alumnus, John Fetterman ’91, will be awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities and offer remarks at Albright College’s 161st Commencement ceremony, at Santander Arena, Sunday, May 17, 2020.
The 34th lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, Fetterman is focused on commonsense reforms that benefit the middle class, people living in poverty and marginalized communities. He presides over the state senate and chairs Pennsylvania’s Board of Pardons, as well as the state’s Emergency Management Council. At the request of Gov. Tom Wolf, Fetterman also serves on special projects, such as a recently completed 67-county tour to hear constituents’ opinions on legalized adult-use marijuana. Most recently, he recommended new legislation to permanently turn over his taxpayer-provided housing in Fort Indiantown Gap to the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, in support of programming for veterans and survivors’ families.
“John’s integrity, resilience and focus on helping people succeed make him a perfect role model for students,” said Albright President Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D. ’82. “We are honored that he also intends to take time for conversations with our seniors and learn more about the students of today.”
“I’m looking forward to meeting with students and hearing their concerns for our future,” Fetterman said. “It has never been more important to involve young people in the political process.”
A member of the Albright College’s football team, Fetterman earned his Bachelor of Arts in business administration degree in 1991, and a Distinguished Alumnus award in 2016.
But a life-changing experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America motivated Fetterman to quit his job and join AmeriCorps at age 23, for which he helped set up a Pittsburgh neighborhood’s first computer labs and taught General Educational Development (GED) classes to young parents.
After earning a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Fetterman returned to Pennsylvania and started another GED program in Braddock, Pa., where he ran for mayor at the encouragement of his students. Motivated to do more to address the inequality that was plaguing his community, he won Braddock’s crowded primary by a single vote in 2005, and remained Mayor for 12 years, during which he rebuilt the steel industry town by attracting new businesses and residents and breaking the town’s cycle of violence. With the help of young people and artists, he transformed downtown creative spaces and turned abandoned properties into urban gardens.
“I’m honored and excited to return to my alma mater and share my experiences with this generation of graduates,” Fetterman said. “So much has changed about me and about the world since I last walked around this campus.”
Today, Fetterman continues to live with his family in Braddock, Pa., and is viewed as one of the state’s leading progressive voices for working people.