The keynote speaker for St. Francis Borgia Regional High School’s commencement will be Susan “Susie” Eckelkamp.

Graduation will take place Thursday, May 17, at 7 p.m. in the Ray DeGreeff Gymnasium. Diplomas will be awarded to 131 seniors.

A 1977 graduate of St. Francis Borgia High School, Eckelkamp was the first female to run and be elected Student Council president at the co-ed Catholic high school.

She was active in many clubs and organizations at Borgia and served as class representative for Student Council for three years until being elected president her senior year.

Eckelkamp continued her involvement in student government in college, serving once again for three years as a class representative at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame. She was elected class president her junior year.

Following graduation in 1981, she remained active in politics, media affairs and volunteering in the community.

Eckelkamp served as a member of the Franklin County Republican Central Committee from 1981-86. In 1982, she also was elected as co-chair of the Missouri Young Republicans. She served in that capacity until 1984 when she was asked to continue to represent the Missouri Young Republicans as the national committeewoman to the national chapter.

In 1983, the 23rd senatorial committee nominated and elected Eckelkamp to serve as its state committeewoman as well.

While fulfilling her duties in each of these positions, Eckelkamp continued to move up in her career in several of the major St. Louis and Franklin County broadcasting outlets, working first as an intern at KMOX, and then as a researcher/assistant producer. She also served as the producer/host for a local radio station, produced and hosted her own cable television show, was a freelance writer for the St. Louis Business Journal and later was hired to be producer for Multimedia’s national syndicated “Sally Jessy Raphael” show.

In 1986, she became a volunteer advance representative for President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush. This became the first in a long history of experience as a volunteer advance rep for the White House and numerous national campaigns.

Eckelkamp also was an advance rep for Vice President Dan Quayle, First Lady Barbara Bush and Chief of Staff/Press Secretary for Joanne Kemp (Dole-Kemp 1996).

Most recently, Eckelkamp served as an advance rep for President George W. Bush. She is currently completing her second term as vice chairman of the Missouri Republican State Committee.

Eckelkamp is actively involved in her community. She serves on the East Central College Foundation Board, the Bank of Washington Advisory Board, Cardinal Glennon Guild and the CHARACTERplus advisory board. She retired this year from the Mercy Foundation Board, where she served for six years as a founding member.