UIS Alumnus and Department of Defense Inspector General visits campus
The Honorable Gordon S. Heddell, Inspector General for the United States Department of Defense visited his alma mater on Thursday, November 5, 2009 to meet with students in the Capital Scholars Honors Program.
“I got absolutely a top notch graduate level education here,” said Heddell referring to his 1975 master’s degree in Legal Studies.
Heddell is visiting Springfield to accept the University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award for outstanding success and national or international distinction in one’s business, profession or life’s work.
“I feel humbled that the University Alumni Association is honoring me with this achievement award. I’m not sure that I probably deserve it, but I’m humbled that they think enough of me and I’m honored to be back here,” said Heddell.
Heddell was sworn in as DoD Inspector General on July 14, 2009, one year after being appointed as Acting Inspector General. Heddell began his Government service in 1966 as an Army Chief Warrant Officer, Helicopter Pilot, serving in both Korea and Taiwan during the Vietnam-era conflict. Following his military tours of duty, Mr. Heddell served for 29 years in the U.S. Secret Service, where he directed investigations of threats made against the President, Vice President, and other high-ranking government officials in Washington, D.C.
It was Heddell’s career with the Secret Service that brought him to Springfield to work in the field office. He finished his master’s degree after hours and admits it wasn’t easy, but it paid off.
“I’m a better Inspector general and a better public servant because of the things I learned here,” said Heddell.
Heddell says he’s pleased with the growth of the UIS campus over the years and the physical improvements that have been made since his time.
“I’m very proud of what Chancellor Richard Ringeisen has done here. He’s an example of exceptional leadership. I’m proud of what he’s accomplished. I’m proud of the entire University of Illinois system,” said Heddell.
Heddell just returned from a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan where he meet with troops and top commanders in the region. Its Heddell’s role as Inspector General to make sure that taxpayer money is being spent wisely and to help troops get the equipment they need.