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The College of Education has named Susan Dryden Whitson '91 as its fifth Keystone Leader-in-Residence. Whitson, who serves as press secretary to First Lady Laura Bush, will visit the Auburn University campus on Wednesday, Feb. 14.
During her campus-wide Keystone Leader lecture, Whitson will speak on how her academic foundation in education prepared her for her career progression from Birmingham high school English teacher to White House communicator. The lecture, which begins at 11 a.m. in 213 Foy Student Union, is open to everyone.
As the First Lady's press secretary, Whitson is the chief communications adviser to Mrs. Bush. She is the key spokesperson on issues Mrs. Bush helps advance, including education, literacy and international women's issues, and is involved with all social functions related to the White House.
"Mrs. Bush and I are both educators, so we share the common belief that education and literacy are the foundation of opportunity," she said. "Working for Mrs. Bush has afforded me the chance to talk about the issues important to her, but which are also important to me."
Whitson earned a bachelor's degree in secondary education language arts from Auburn in 1991. As an Auburn student, she was a member of the War Eagle Girls and Plainsmen and Student Government Association. A member of Kappa Delta sorority, she served as vice president of pledge education. Whitson currently serves on the Auburn Campaign Committee for the Washington metro area.
After graduating from Auburn, Whitson returned to her native Birmingham to teach ninth and tenth grade English for six years at Hoover High School. In 1997, at the end of a temporary summer appointment with then Rep. Bob Riley, current governor of Alabama, she was offered "an opportunity too good to pass up" to serve as his press secretary. In the eight years that followed, she served as press secretary on Capitol Hill for two U.S. representatives; deputy director of the Office of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Justice; chief of the FBI's National Press Office; and deputy communications director for the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign. She was appointed by Mrs. Bush as press secretary in 2005.
The College of Education's Keystone Leader-in-Residence program introduces students to proven leaders in education, human services, health services, community services and government. The program emphasizes that education—like the keystone of an arch— serves a central, supporting role in society. The college strives to develop competent, committed and reflective professionals who utilize education in building better futures for all.
View Susan Whitson's campus lecture online
Last Updated: Jun 16, 2011