Peter Neffenger in Baldwin Wallace classroom

Transportation Security Administration chief Peter Neffenger '77 is the keynote speaker for BW's Commencement ceremony on May 7.

TSA Chief Peter Neffenger '77 to Speak at Spring Commencement

March 24, 2016

Appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama last year to be administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger ’77 is being welcomed back to his alma mater as keynote speaker for the 166th Baldwin Wallace University Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 7, 2 pm.

Peter Neffenger headshotApproximately 496 undergraduate and 124 graduate students will participate in the celebratory event at Ursprung Gymnasium in the Lou Higgins Center. 


As TSA’s top official, Neffenger leads a workforce of nearly 60,000 employees, including the Federal Air Marshal Service, and is responsible for security operations at nearly 450 airports throughout the United States and shared security for highways, railroads, ports, mass transit systems and pipelines. 

Prior to the position, Neffenger climbed the ranks of the U.S. Coast Guard for over 30 years. His career includes extensive operational and command experience, including serving as deputy commandant for operations. In this role, he directed strategy, policy, resources and doctrine for the employment of Coast Guard forces globally. In 2014 he was named the 29th vice commandant, the number two post for the Coast Guard. 

Among his accolades, Neffenger is a recognized expert in crisis management and has served as the deputy national incident commander for the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the largest and most complex in U.S. history.


With adjectives like strategist, forward-thinker and a moral compass used to describe him, Neffenger is often seen as a role model for individuals committed to strong, effective leadership directed to making the world a better place. 

Peter Neffenger in Baldwin Wallace classroomHis extensive list of personal and professional contacts stretches across the globe as well as to Berea. Over the years, he has visited Baldwin Wallace to speak with students and has remained in contact with emeriti who mentored him while he was as a student majoring in English and working as editor of BW’s literary magazine, The Mill

In 2013 he provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to two BW students to attend the biennial International Maritime Organization meeting in London as his guests. More recently, he visited campus to talk to BW students about how the U.S. can contribute to helping build a peaceful world. 

Committed to education as a means of benefiting oneself personally and professionally, Neffenger has an impressive education track. After earning his bachelor’s degree at Baldwin Wallace, he went on to earn three master’s degrees. He holds a master of public administration from Harvard University, a master of arts in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College and a master of arts in business management from Central Michigan University. 

In 2010, he was the recipient of a Baldwin Wallace Alumni Merit Award. He is also the recipient of numerous military and civic awards.