December 05, 2016

Fall commencement ceremony set for Dec. 17

by Pete Rosenbery

Howard Peters IIICARBONDALE, Ill. -- Howard A. Peters III will present the commencement address during ceremonies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. 

The fall commencement ceremony for undergraduate, graduate and professional students is at 2 p.m., Dec. 17, at the SIU Arena. The commencement ceremony is open to the public, and there is no ticket requirement. Peters will receive a Doctor of Humane Arts honorary degree.

Peters, who earned his master’s degree in guidance and educational psychology from SIU Carbondale in 1971, is president of HAP, INC., a consulting, strategy and advocacy service that assists clients in pursuit of their business goals primarily in the areas of criminal justice, human services, and health care. Peters also serves as a criminal justice consultant and expert witness. 

Peters received the university’s Distinguished Service Award during commencement ceremonies in May 2004. In 2001, Peters delivered the SIU School of Law commencement address, and his involvement with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute includes serving on the Board of Counselors. 

Peters’ nearly three-decade career in public service included two Cabinet positions under former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar. In 1991, he became the first African-American to head the Illinois Department of Corrections. Before being appointed director, he had more than 22 years of experience in the state’s Department of Corrections, serving as warden at Pontiac, Sheridan and Centralia correctional centers, and as superintendent of the Illinois Youth Center at St. Charles. 

From 1995 through June 1997, Peters served as deputy chief of staff to Edgar. In 1997, Edgar selected Peters as the first director of the Department of Human Services. A massive reorganization consolidated programs previously administered by a half-dozen agencies with about 20,000 employees under single management. 

From January 2000 until July 2012, Peters served as executive vice president of policy and advocacy for the Illinois Hospital Association. Peters worked at the state and federal levels to ensure hospitals received the kind of support they needed, particularly as it related to providing service to poor, disabled, elderly, and uninsured persons. 

Peters serves on several boards and commissions, including the Springfield Memorial Health System, the Illinois State Commission on Sentencing and Criminal Justice Reform, Illinois Medicaid Advisory Committee, and AARP.  Peters is also assistant pastor of the Fresh Visions Community Church in Springfield.