News
Former United States Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen
to Speak at Maine Law’s Graduation on Saturday, May 22
, 2010

William CohenThe University of Maine School of Law is honored to announce that former United States Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen is set to speak at the law school’s upcoming 2010 Commencement Ceremony. The ceremony will take place at on Saturday, May 22, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. in the Merrill Auditorium in Portland. All family, friends, alumni, and members of the public are welcome to attend.
Secretary Cohen is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Cohen Group, a Washington, D.C. firm that provides business consulting services and advice on tactical and strategic opportunities throughout the world. He served as United States Secretary of Defense from 1997 to 2001, as U.S. Senator from 1979 to 1997, and as U.S. Congressman from 1973 to 1979.

Secretary Cohen attained national prominence as a freshman Republican Congressman tasked by the House Judiciary Committee to build the evidentiary base for impeachment of President Nixon. He then cast one of the critical votes to impeach. In 1978, he was elected to the Senate, defeating a highly respected incumbent. He chaired two powerful subcommittees, the Armed Services Committee’s Seapower and Force Projection Subcommittee and the Governmental Affairs Committee’s Government Oversight Subcommittee. Secretary Cohen was also a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence for a decade, serving half that time as Vice Chairman and overseeing some of the Nation’s most advanced technology.

In 1996, Secretary Cohen announced he would return to private life to promote international business and, through his writings and the media, a more thoughtful public discourse on national political issues. He also launched the William S. Cohen Center for International Policy and Commerce at the University of Maine. Later that year, however, President Clinton asked Secretary Cohen to lead the Department of Defense, the first time in modern U.S. history when a President has chosen an elected official from the other party to be a member of his cabinet. Since then he has chaired and served on numerous boards, committees, and delegations in international affairs and, in 2002, received the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service.

Secretary Cohen was born in Bangor, Maine. After graduating from Bangor High School, he attended Bowdoin College, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin in 1962. He graduated from the Boston University School of Law cum laude in 1965. Early in his career, Secretary Cohen practiced law in Bangor, served as assistant county attorney for Penobscot County, and taught courses at Husson College and the University of Maine. He served on the Bangor City Council, as Mayor of Bangor, and as a fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics. Secretary Cohen is the author of eleven works of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.