Ripon College Inaugurates New President Messitte

Ann McClure's picture
Monday, October 1, 2012

Zach Messitte was sworn in as Ripon College's 13th president Saturday.

The 44-year-old college president (his name's pronounced muh-SET-ee) was formally introduced at his inauguration by his first boss, George Tenet, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and the 2004 winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award given to a civilian in the United States.

Tenet became Messitte's mentor in 1990, when Messitte was fresh out of college, and they both worked for the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as staffers for former U.S. Sen. David L. Boren (D-Okla.), who is now president of the University of Oklahoma. (Messitte never worked for the CIA.)

"(Tenet) went to Georgetown, so we used to go to basketball games after work, and then dinner," Messitte said in an interview Friday. "I was 22 or 23, just out of college, and my boss was taking me to basketball games and dinner. We'd talk work and sports and history and politics. He became a career mentor who gave me great advice about handling different things, and he and his wife also became my good friends."

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