Webster alumnus Gen. Lloyd Austin confirmed as Secretary of Defense
January 22, 2021
Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin III, a Webster University alumnus, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the nation’s Secretary of Defense on January 22, 2021. Nominated by United States President Joseph Biden, Austin is the first Webster graduate to serve in a White House cabinet position, as well as the first Black man to serve as Secretary of Defense in the United States.
Austin earned a master’s degree from Webster in 1989 and has twice been honored by the University as an outstanding alumnus — once on April 30, 2010, and again on June 19, 2012. Raised in Thomasville, Georgia, he graduated from the United States Military Academy (West Point) with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1975. He earned a Master of Arts degree in counselor education from Auburn University in 1986 and a Master of Arts in Management and Leadership from Webster University’s Platte City location in 1989.
“Austin also knows that the secretary of defense has a different set of responsibilities than a general officer and that the civil-military dynamic has been under great stress these past four years,” President-elect Biden said. “He and I share a commitment to empowering our diplomats and development experts to lead our foreign policy, using force only as our last resort.”
The Senate confirmed Austin Friday morning by a vote of 93-2.
Austin is not the only Webster graduate with connections to the Biden administration. On Wednesday, Jan. 21, Jessie Lawder ’03 was sworn in as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Public Affairs. For the past year, Dalmyra Price Caesar ’06 served as the director of Human Resources for the Biden for President campaign.