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Senator Jim Webb of Virginia to Address 2009 Graduates

The Honorable James H. Webb, United States Senator for Virginia, will deliver a commencement address to the law school's 2009 graduating class on Saturday, May 16, 2009, as part of the scheduled commencement activities.

Currently serving as the senior senator from Virginia, Webb serves on the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations, Armed Services, Veterans' Affairs, and the Joint Economic Committee. His legislative priorities have been guided by three themes: reorienting America's national security posture, promoting economic fairness, and increasing government accountability.

Webb was named one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century by Esquire, "Rising Star" by The Washingtonian, and "Rookie of the Year" by Politico newspaper. Webb also was honored for his leadership in sponsoring the Post-9/11 GI Bill signed into law on June 30, 2008. He was awarded the Gold Medal and Citation of Merit by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Award of Merit by the Military Coalition.

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Webb is a descendent of the Scots-Irish settlers who came to this country in the 18th century and became pioneers in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. Both sides of Webb's family have a strong citizen-soldier military tradition.

Webb graduated from the Naval Academy in l968. First in his class of 243 at the Marine Corps Officers' Basic School in Quantico, Webb served with the Fifth Marine Regiment in Vietnam, where as a rifle platoon and company commander in the infamous An Hoa Basin he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star Medal, two Bronze Star Medals, and two Purple Hearts.

Webb received his JD at Georgetown Law Center in 1975. He served as counsel to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs from 1977 to 1981. In 1984, he was appointed the inaugural Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, and in 1987 he served as Secretary of the Navy.

In addition to Webb's public service, he is the author of nine books, including six best-selling novels. He has worked extensively as a screenwriter in Hollywood, taught literature at the Naval Academy, traveled worldwide as a journalist, and earned an Emmy Award for his PBS coverage of the U.S. Marines in Beirut. In 2004, Webb went into Afghanistan as a journalist, embedded with the U.S. military.

Along with George Mason University's Administration of Justice Department, Webb hosted an October 2008 symposium, Drugs in America: Trafficking, Policy and Sentencing, at Mason Law. On March 26, 2009, Webb introduced The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 in the Senate. The act calls for a blue-ribbon commission to look at every aspect of the country's criminal justice system with an eye toward reshaping the process from top to bottom.