Southern Vermont College Honors Higher Education Leader and Former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force at Commencement

April 15, 2014

Southern Vermont College (SVC) awarded the Honorary Degree of Humane Letters to Dr. Jane Altes, former Vice President for Academic Affairs and Interim President of Empire State College, and Daniel B. Ginsberg, former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), Washington, DC, at its 87th Commencement on May 10.

SVC President Karen Gross said that the school wishes to honor leaders who have encouraged civic engagement through government service and through their own community service work. “Education’s mission, above all else, is to develop thoughtful and engaged citizens in our democratic process,” Gross said. “These two individuals are the embodiment of that mission, serving our nation with extraordinary talent, honor and pride.” 

Jane Altes now works as a private consultant in higher education developing and managing research and administrative projects, including recruiting and evaluating college presidents, serving as a fellow on the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and working with the National Commission for a Nation of Lifelong Learners. Dr. Altes has been recognized and won awards for her contributions to public and professional service. She is a current board member of the Arts Center of the Capital Region and of WMHT (public broadcasting) and earlier served on the boards of Northeast Health/St. Peter’s Health Partners, the Council for the Clearview Center, the Capital Repertory Theatre, Capital Culture, The Sage Colleges, the Retinal Research Foundation and the Albany Public Library.

Daniel B. Ginsberg, nominated to the position of Former Assistant Secretary to the Air Force by President Barack Obama in 2009, was the official responsible for the overall supervision of manpower and reserve component affairs of the Department of the Air Force, work that included oversight of the Community College of the Air Force and the Air Force Academy.

Ginsberg previously served in Washington, although he spent considerable time in Vermont, as the Senior Defense Policy Adviser and Legislative Assistant to Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont. Before that, he also served on the staff of U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services during the chairmanship of Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia. Ginsberg has held various positions at RAND Corp., the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, and the U.S. Mission to NATO. He has received several awards and honors for his work, including fellowships, one of which is for the National Endowments for the Arts at Columbia School of Journalism.

After the robing ceremony of Altes and Ginsberg, both briefly addressed the graduating class.

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For more information about Jane Altes:
Jane Altes also worked in Kosovo as a higher education specialist for the U.S. State Department.

As Interim President at Empire State College, the non-traditional State University of New York (SUNY) institution, Altes oversaw the College’s 40 plus locations in New York and abroad. For many years as the Vice President of Academic Affairs at that institution, she was responsible for academic quality and development. Previously, Altes held many other senior leadership positions in the SUNY system and at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and was a tenured professor.

Altes holds an A.B. in Sociology from Miami University in Ohio, a master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis and Administration from St. Louis University.

For more information about Daniel B. Ginsberg:
In addition to completing studies at the London School of Economics and a yearlong fellowship at the University of Chicago, Daniel B. Ginsberg holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan and a master's degree in Strategic Studies from Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. In 2010, he served as Co-Lead of the Policy Team for the Department of Defense's Comprehensive Review Working Group for the Repeal of "Don't Ask-Don't Tell."

He is the former freelance music and opera critic for The Washington Post. Ginsberg was born in Indiana, raised in Georgia and now resides in the Washington, DC, area.