GVSU President Terror Expert Honored

May 7, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — In times of war, leaders can come from all walks of life. And with recent events, two of those leaders were found at Grand Valley State University.

The FBI and Department of Justice honored Mark Murray, president of GVSU, and Jonathan White, executive director of the Homeland Defense Initiative at GVSU, for their service at a ceremony at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia.

White is one of the nation’s leading authorities on Middle Eastern terrorist groups. The former dean of social sciences at GVSU was tapped after Sept. 11 to increase his work with the Department of Justice’s State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training Program (SLATT).

SLATT has the challenge of providing every officer in more than 20,000 law enforcement agencies with anti-terrorism training. Murray, on behalf of GVSU, allowed White to serve in a full-time position there, while retaining his connection with the university.

Richard Ward III, deputy director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, recognized Murray’s individual contribution to making this cooperative arrangement possible.

“President Murray, in recognition of the possibility of additional attacks and the desperate need to help prepare our nation’s law enforcement officers to confront this threat, not only allowed, but also supported Dr. White in providing his valuable talents and expertise to our nation in a time of need,” said Ward.

The FBI, represented by Acting Assistant Director Patrick Peterson, also recognized Murray and White with special service awards. The one to White came as a complete shock to him, but not his colleagues.

Patterson said White deserved the honor “in recognition of his patriotism, appreciation for his dedication to law enforcement and in acknowledgement of his continued devotion and service to his country in the critical time following the terrorists attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”           

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