TOPEKA, Kan. – Washburn University announced today that John Tien, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will be the keynote speaker of the Rick Rescorla Homeland Security Lecture Series on Oct. 20, 2022, at 12 p.m. Central. The virtual lecture, free and open to the public, is hosted by Washburn alumnus France Hoang, mcj ’00, and presented by the Washburn University criminal justice and legal studies department.

Tien and Hoang will discuss cybersecurity, the current threat landscape, combating terrorism and disrupting human smuggling and illicit narcotics at the country’s southwest border.

“Deputy Secretary Tien will share a wealth of knowledge with our community that includes Washburn’s criminal justice and legal study students and other guests who join us for this free event,” said Melanie Worsley, jd ’07, associate professor of criminal justice, associate dean, School of Applied Studies. “Given the importance of homeland security issues, we are honored to host this discussion.”

Tien is the first Asian American to serve in this Senate-confirmed position. The cabinet-level agency has more than 240,000 employees and a budget of more than $90 billion. Their mission states they safeguard the nation’s people, homeland and values.

Tien received a bachelor of science from West Point and a master of arts from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He was also a National Security Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. Tien began his career at the United States Military Academy at West Point where he was the first Asian American to ever serve as first captain and brigade commander, West Point’s top ranked cadet position. Tien served in the Obama Administration as the National Security Council senior director for Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2009-11, the Bush Administration as the National Security Council director for Iraq from 2008-09 and the Clinton Administration as a White House fellow in the Office of the United States Trade Representative from 1998-99.

Hoang received a master of criminal justice from Washburn University in 2000. He graduated at the top 1% of his class at West Point and also graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center. He served in the President George W. Bush administration as associate White House counsel and special assistant to the president, and he’s worked in all three branches of the U.S. government.

Rick Rescorla, for whom the lecture series is named, was a Vietnam War veteran and was head of security for Morgan Stanley in the South Tower of the World Trade Center when it collapsed during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He saved hundreds of lives as he evacuated employees. Once outside, he went back in to continue helping with the evacuation. He died when the tower collapsed.

The Rick Rescorla Homeland Security Lecture Series presents a nationally-renowned individual with expertise in a topic of interest related to homeland security. For more information and to find the Zoom link, visit

About Washburn University

Washburn University is a public institution with nearly 7,000 students and 1,000 faculty and staff involved in more than 200 courses of study. Our programs lead to certification, associate, bachelor, master’s, doctor of nursing practice and juris doctor degrees. The choices for students include outstanding bachelor and master’s programs in criminal justice and a curriculum in forensics with five different concentrations.

Since its founding in 1865, Washburn has been providing students of all walks of life a place to realize their dreams. Today, our legacy of affordable, quality education for all continues.


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For further information, contact:

Sarah Towle
Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation
Telephone: 785.670.1744

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