LSU Law Center Chancellor Jack M. Weiss has announced that former U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston has been selected as the commencement speaker for the 2012 graduation exercises. The commencement ceremonies will be held Friday, May 25, 2012, at 9:30 a.m. in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on the LSU campus.
“The Law Center is honored to have Senator J. Bennett Johnston as our 2012 Commencement speaker,” said Chancellor Weiss. “As a former graduate and 1997 LSU Law Center Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, we welcome him home to Baton Rouge for what we know will be an inspiring address to our graduates. His years of service to the state of Louisiana and our nation as a senior statesman in Congress have positioned him as one of the nation’s foremost authorities on energy law and regulation.”
In its efforts to expand and revitalize one of its traditional areas of focus, the LSU Law Center has built on its existing strength in oil and gas law to advance a new, broader energy law initiative.
“It is fitting that Senator Johnston ‘comes home to LSU Law’ to share his knowledge and ambitions for the Law Center’s expanded program in 21st Century Energy Law,” stated Weiss.
Ceremonies for The Order of the Coif will be held at 8:00 a.m. in the McKernan Auditorium at the Law Center. Election to The Order of the Coif is the highest honor a law student may receive. Each year, the local chapter elects to membership from the highest 10 percent of the senior class those students who are deemed qualified.
Senator J. Bennett Johnston’s political career spanned 32 years, including eight years in the Louisiana Legislature and 24 years in the United States Senate. As a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources from its creation and as its Chairman and Ranking Member for much of his time in office, Johnston was either directly or indirectly responsible for all energy legislation considered by the Congress between 1973 and 1996. He was a senior member of the Appropriations Committee where he served for twenty years as Chairman; Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Energy & Water Development; and on the Senate Budget Committee since its inception.
Following his Senate retirement in 1996, Senator Johnston formed Johnston & Associates LLC, a professional government relations consulting firm. Johnston is a member of the Board of Directors of CASL (Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors). He also serves on the Advisory Boards of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc., the Center for Strategic & International Studies, the Angeleno Group, Ambient Corporation, Ethanol Boosting Systems, LLC, and the MIT Energy Initiative Series where he served as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the Electric Grid and as a member of the Advisory Committee on Natural Gas. Johnston served as the Co-Chairman of the National Parks Second Century Commission that conducted a comprehensive examination of the state of the National Park System today and composed a report to chart a vision for the future. In addition, he is a member of the Energy Security Council, the Brookings Energy Security Roundtable and the US Asia Pacific Council. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of Chevron Corporation, URS Corporation and Columbia Energy Group.
Bennett and Mary Johnston live in McLean, Virginia. They have four adult children and ten grandchildren.