By SARAH GRAMMER
Fredericksburg native, Pamela E. Bridgewater was named as the commencement speaker for the University of Mary Washington’s 2015 graduating class.
After 34 years of service, Bridgewater retired in 2013 from the U.S. Diplomatic Service. During Bridgewater’s active duty at the rank of Career Ambassador, she was the U.S ambassador to three different countries, including Jamaica, the Republic of Benin and the Republic of Ghana. Bridgewater worked with President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama during her time as a U.S. Ambassador.
While working overseas, Bridgewater became the first African-American woman to be consul general in Durban, South Africa. Bridgewater’s service as consul general came during South Africa’s transition into a non-radical government.
Bridgewater has received many commendations for her service to international affairs and public policy. These include two Presidential Meritorious Service awards, the Charles Cobb award for Trade Promotion, Department of State Superior Honor Awards and the Secretary of State’s Career Achievement Award.
Bridgewater has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science. At American University School of International Service, Bridgewater completed coursework and was a candidate for a Ph.D. degree. Bridgewater holds two honorary Doctorates of Law degrees from the University of Cincinnati and Virginia State University as well as a Doctor of Public Service from Morgan State University.