Williamson’s 131st Convocation

Col. Gary Steele, the first African American to play varsity football at West Point, opened the 2021-22 school year as the 131st Convocation keynote speaker in the Clara Schrenk Memorial Chapel on Sept. 8th. Read full recap article.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Program Schedule:

Reverend Mark A. Specht 7W7, Chaplain

Responsorial Psalm & Pledge of Allegiance
Sean Howat, Assistant Chaplain

Dr. Michelle T. Williams, VP of Academic Affairs/CAO

Scripture Reading
Joshua 1: 1-9

James McChesney 2W2, Senior Class President

Faculty Emeritus Presentation
Dan Hiltebeitel, Director of Construction Technology-Masonry, 1998-2016
presented by Dr. Michelle T. Williams, VP of Academic Affairs/CAO

Greeting & Remarks
President Michael J. Rounds

Guest Speaker
Col. Gary Steele

Alma Mater and Benediction
Reverend Mark A. Specht 7W7, Chaplain

About the Guest Speaker:

Gary Steele graduated from Woodrow Wilson HS in Levittown, PA and continued onto Manlius Military Academy. There, he was awarded Best All-Around Athlete, participating in football, basketball and track and field.

He then received an appointment to the United States Military Academy, West Point. Steele was West Point’s first African American to earn a varsity letter in the sport of football and garnered three in all. A second team Newspaper Enterprise Association All-American as a tight end, Steele was a 17th round draft choice of the National Football League’s Detroit Lions. Steele also earned four varsity letters in track and field, two indoors and two outdoors, and even set an academy record with a high jump of 6 feet, 9 inches. At graduation he was awarded the Army Athletic Association Special Award for outstanding achievement and exemplary leadership in athletic competition. This award is given only in years where an athlete is deemed worthy.

He graduated West Point in 1970. While initially commissioned in the Infantry upon graduation, for eighteen of his twenty-three years in the Army he served in various Human Resources leadership and operational support positions. His international assignments took him to the Panama Canal Zone, Greece and Belgium. After retiring at the rank of Colonel, Steele enjoyed an exceptional career in the private sector. He was the Associate Superintendent for Human Resources for the Kansas City, MO, Schools; followed by a position as the Director of Human Resources and Training with Citizens Communications in CT. In 1998 he joined Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in NYC as the Director Human Resources for Europe, North Africa and the Middle East for Pfizer’s Animal Health business unit. He capped his second career as Director of Organization Effectiveness in the Office of the Vice Chairman at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Headquarters. Gary earned a master’s degree in International Relations from Boston University and holds a number of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness related certifications.

He was inducted into West Point’s Army Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.

Steele lives with his wife Mona in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and has two sons, Chad (Vice President of Public Relations for the Baltimore Ravens) and Courtney (In Club Management in HOLLYWOOD, CA), and a daughter, Sage (SportsCenter anchor for ESPN).

2021-09-09T13:36:33-04:00 August 19th, 2021|