PRINCESS ANNE, MD – Dr. Gregory L. Parham, an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will deliver the commencement address May 15 at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's 128th spring graduation ceremony.
An estimated 415 degree candidates will hear from a man who has worked for the federal agency since 1982 in a variety of capacities, including administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
The APHIS post made Parham the highest ranking official in the federal regulatory agency charged with protecting animal and plant health in the United States, including animal care and biotechnology issues.
His role as this spring's commencement speaker is a recognition of the 125thanniversary of the second Morrill Act of 1890, which established a commitment by Congress to support 19 historically black land-grant institutions, including UMES.
A native of Ohio, Parham has been in his current post of Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Administration since June 2013. Prior to this appointment, he was the acting assistant secretary.
Before serving as the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service administrator, he was its associate administrator and deputy administrator for Marketing and Regulatory Programs - Business Services.
He also has worked for several other USDA agencies, including; the Food Safety and Inspection Service, the Extension Service, the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service and the Office of the Chief Information Officer.
According to his USDA biography, Parham began his career as federal employee at the Centers for Disease Control where he was an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Public Health Service.
Parham holds a doctorate and bachelor degrees from The Ohio State University in veterinary medicine and microbiology, and earned a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University in administrative science.