Former U.S. Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh will speak at the 9 a.m. ceremony for graduating seniors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Before delivering his address, he will receive an honorary doctoral degree from the State University of New York.
Speaking at the 1 p.m. ceremony for the School of Business will be Melanie Littlejohn, National Grid's regional executive director for Upstate New York. And at the 4 p.m. ceremony for the School of Education and the School of Communication, Media and the Arts, Seth Mulligan, operations manager for TCGPlayer, will speak.
Capping a distinguished career of public service, McHugh served as the 21st Secretary of the Army from 2009 to 2015, the second longest-serving Army secretary in history.
Over four decades, the Watertown native worked in government at the local, state and national levels, starting as an assistant to the city manager in his hometown. He is a former congressman and state senator for Upstate New York districts encompassing Oswego. The Republican became New York's 23rd Congressional District representative in 1995 and served nine terms before President Barack Obama appointed him as the top civilian leader of the U.S. Army.
Among his awards and honors are a Lifetime Achievement Award from the SUNY University at Albany's Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, Lifetime Service Award from the American Red Cross of the National Capital Region, Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Award for Legislative Excellence from the National Association of Manufacturers, and Mary G. Roebling Distinguished Service Award from the Association of the United States Army.
Littlejohn joined National Grid in 1994 during the electricity and national gas delivery company's previous incarnation as Niagara Mohawk and advanced to her current post directing the company's largest division. Her earlier positions include executive director of the Urban League of Onondaga County and manager of international client services for Banker's Trust Company in the Wall Street District.
She serves as a member of the board of directors of Pathfinder Bank, CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity and the Manufacturers Association of Central New York, and as a trustee or officer of Onondaga Community College and the Business Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, among other organizations. Littlejohn also has been honored with many awards for her community involvement and leadership in the region.
Mulligan is a member of the leadership team at TCGPlayer, an online marketplace for collectible gaming cards. The Post-Standard described the fast-growing 8-year-old company as "both the eBay and Amazon.com of the $1 billion trading card industry."
Before joining TCGplayer, Mulligan was vice president for innovation services at CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity, where he served as executive director for the Clean Tech Center at the Syracuse Technology Garden. Among his professional roles in the past were leading Apple Store operations as a part of retail management. He was also an entrepreneur and founded and grew a biofuels firm focusing on creating renewable heating fuels.