Peter F. Secchia

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Secchia visits with Gerald Ford in the Oval Office in 1975.

Peter F. Secchia, (born April 15, 1937 in Englewood, New Jersey) is an Italian-American diplomat and businessman. Secchia served as the United States Ambassador to Italy[1][2] from 1989 to 1993.

Career[edit]

Secchia served in the United States Marine Corps from 1956 to 1959 and graduated from Michigan State University in 1963 with a degree in economics.

Secchia is a fund-raiser in the Republican Party in Michigan. He started as chairman of the Kent County, Michigan Republican Committee and later became the chairman of the 5th Congressional District of Michigan committee. He was elected to be Michigan's Republican National Committeeman in 1980, 1984, and 1988. Secchia was a Vice Chairman of the Republican National Committee and headed its Midwest Region. He was host chairman of the 1985 RNC Midwest Leadership Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Secchia was on the national advisory committee of the 1988 George Bush for President Committee. Secchia also founded the Lake Michigan Conference, and was a National Co-Chair of the Dole for President Campaign.

From 1989 to 1993 Secchia served as the US Ambassador to Italy. He received the Cavaliere di Gran Croce (The Knight of the Great Cross). He also was awarded the Department of State Distinguished Honor Award during his service, an award given to serving ambassadors and to non-career ambassadors.

Secchia has served as the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Universal Forest Products, a company that manufactures engineered wood components and operates manufacturing plants and distribution centers in the United States (98), Mexico (2), and Canada (2). He has served as Chairman of the River City Food Company which has 29 restaurants, catering facilities, and banquet locations in the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

Secchia was honored in 1994 as the Master Entrepreneur of the Year for Michigan and in 1995 as the Businessman of the Year and has been involved with civic organizations promoting economics and assisting underprivileged youth. In 1994 he was appointed to chair the Secchia Commission I by Governor John Engler of Michigan which was focused on improving government services. Secchia Commission II focused on public sector pensions.

He received the America Award of the Italy-USA Foundation in 2012.

Memberships[edit]

Secchia is on the Executive Committee of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation and is the overseer of the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids and Gerald R. Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is the past chairman of the library's Endowment Committee and Strategic Planning Committee. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors of the Bush Presidential Library Foundation, the Baker Institute at Rice University, and served for twelve years on the board for John Cabot University in Rome.

Secchia is a member of the National Italian American Foundation Council of 1000. He was founding president of the West Michigan Lodge of the Order of Sons of Italy in America (OSIA); he inaugurated the Festa Italiana, the region’s largest annual ethnic festival and has participated in and sponsored many Italian-American events. He was awarded the NIAF Special Achievement Award for International Affairs, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Public Service Award, and lent his name to The Founding Values Initiative Award... the "Secchia Award for Heartfelt Commitment."

Attempted abduction incident[edit]

In February 2004 Secchia and his 3-year old granddaughter were visiting Seattle, Washington. While walking in a retail business area near the University of Washington, a 38-year old man attempted to abduct the girl. Secchia pursued the man on foot and forced him to the ground, then called out to passersby to call police.[citation needed]

Secchia Stadium[edit]

In September 2010, Secchia made a $1 million outright donation to his alma mater, Michigan State University, to be used to build a new stadium for the women's' softball team. In appreciation of his gift, the facility will be known as Secchia Stadium. It will be built at Old College Field and is planned to be ready in time for the 2011 season.

Secchia Center[edit]

The 8-story building of the MSU College of Human Medicine, Grand Rapids campus was named after Peter Secchia for his generous donation to the university. The building is part of the Grand Rapids Medical Mile.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Melady, Thomas Patrick (April 1994). The ambassador's story: the United States and the Vatican in world affairs. Our Sunday Visitor. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-87973-702-3. Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  2. ^ Rosati, Jerel A.; Scott, James M. (2010-01-15). The Politics of United States Foreign Policy. Cengage Learning. pp. 139–. ISBN 978-0-495-79724-1. Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Maxwell M. Rabb
United States Ambassador to Italy
1989–1993
Succeeded by
Reginald Bartholomew