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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


James Will Receive Honorary Doctorate at Winter Commencement

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Dec. 8, 2008) - After dedicating nearly 30 years to protecting Missourians, Mark S. James, Jefferson City, is being recognized by his alma mater. James, who was appointed director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety in March 2005, will receive the honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, during winter 2008 commencement exercises this weekend at UCM. The presentation of the honorary degree is a highlight of the undergraduate ceremony planned for 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, in the Multipurpose Building Arena.

The honorary doctorate is bestowed by the authority of the UCM Board of Governors upon individuals who have distinguished themselves through outstanding service and exemplary achievements within their fields of endeavor. James is a state official who exemplifies these qualities.

Mark James
Mark S. James

As a member of Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt’s Cabinet, James is responsible for the oversight of a department, which consists of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri State Water Patrol, Capitol Police, Division of Fire Safety Service, Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, State Emergency and Management Agency, Adjutant General’s Office, Gaming Commission, Veteran’s Commission, and the Director of Homeland Security.

James graduated from UCM in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration degree. The same year he earned his diploma, he began his professional career working for the Missouri State Highway Patrol as a uniformed trooper. He went on to become a narcotics investigator, then served as an assistant supervisor in the Narcotics Investigations Unit, where he supervised statewide undercover narcotics investigations conducted by an elite unit of troopers. In 1985, he became the first supervisor of the MSHP Intelligence Unit, which he designed.

After leaving the patrol in 1987, he spent 17 years with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He was a special agent in ATF’s Kansas City Field Office, resident agent in charge at the Omaha Field Office, chief of the Intelligence Division, and special agent in charge for the Kansas City Field Division, which encompassed a four-state area. James is credited with overhauling ATF’s intelligence function. In 1996, he developed and implemented ATF’s first strategic intelligence five-year plan and authored ATF’s first Intelligence General Order.

In addition to attending UCM, James received a Master of Science of Strategic Intelligence from the national Joint Military Intelligence College, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense. He has received numerous commendations during his career, including recognition for “bravery under fire,” MSHP, 1983; and as ATF Incident Commander overseeing the capture of the Washington, D.C. snipers in 2002.

Nearly 1,000 graduates are eligible to participate in commencement exercises, beginning with the graduate commencement at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12. Graduates of the colleges of Business Administration, Education, and Science and Technology will be honored during the ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday. The Saturday afternoon ceremony is for graduates of the College of Health and Human Services and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

President Aaron Podolefsky will present the graduation addresses on Saturday. Jennifer Meisberger, candidate for a Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree, and Aaron Westlake, candidate for a Master of Arts in Theatre degree, will share commencement remarks during the graduate exercises.