MICHAEL S. STEELE
2014 Winter Commencement Speaker
Michael S. Steele made history in 2003 when he became the first African-American elected to statewide office in Maryland, serving four years as Lt. Governor, and again in 2009 when he was named chairman of the Republican National Committee.
During Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s administration, Steele’s priorities included reforming the state's Minority Business Enterprise program, improving the quality of Maryland's public education system (he championed the state’s historic Charter School law), expanding economic development in the state and fostering cooperation between government and faith-based organizations to help those in need.
After leaving elected office and taking over at the RNC, the self-described "Lincoln Republican" was charged with revitalizing the Grand Old Party after Americans elected a Democratic president. During his tenure as chair, the RNC broke fundraising records (over $198 million raised during the 2010 Congressional cycle) and Republicans won 63 House of Representative seats in Congress, the biggest pickup since 1938. His commitment to grassroots organization and party building at the state and local levels produced 12 governorships and the greatest share of state legislative seats since 1928 (over 600 seats).
Steele’s skills as a communicator have been showcased through his current role as a political analyst for MSNBC. He has also been a contributor on the Fox News Channel and was a regular host of the Salem Radio Network's nationally syndicated Morning in America show. He currently hosts Steele & Ungar on the POTUS Channel on SiriusXM. He has been a guest on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Comedy Central's The Colbert Report and The Daily Show.
Steele’s writings on law, business and politics have been published in The Wall Street Journal, Politico.com, The Grio.com, The Root.com, BET.com, The Washington Times, Townhall.com, The Journal of International Security Affairs and Catholic University Law Review.
He is the author of Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda, which is a call-to-arms for grassroots America and is co-author of The Recovering Politician’s Twelve Step Program to Survive Crisis.
Born at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George’s County, Md. Steele was raised in Washington, D.C. Upon graduating from Johns Hopkins University (‘81), he entered the Order of St. Augustine, where he studied for the priesthood for over two years. He is a graduate of Georgetown Law Center (’91), an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership and a University of Chicago Institute of Politics Fellow.