When Roger Cressey ’87 was a student at UMass Lowell, he learned a valuable lesson about international affairs.
“The Berlin Wall fell when I was taking a course on communism,” he said, during his presentation of the F. Bradford Morse Distinguished Lecture in 2011. “All the books and syllabi went out the window. We read newspapers and we talked, because no one knew how it was going to break.”
Cressey’s ability to deal with unfolding events got a whole lot more valuable on Sept. 11, 2001. On that day, he was serving as director for Transitional Threats on the White House National Security Council staff and was a key player in forming and carrying out counterterrorism policy.
As an expert in counterterrorism and security who has worked for the Clinton and Bush administrations, the departments of Defense and State and with U.N. peacekeeping missions, Cressey is in demand for news commentary. He serves as the on-air expert on counterterrorism and security for NBC News.
Cressey was one of the first student members of UMass Lowell’s renowned International Relations Club, founded by History Prof. Dean Bergeron. The club continues to compete internationally in model U.N. and Arab League competitions, immersing students in world issues of the day and connecting them with other students from diverse cultures.
On campus for the Morse lecture, Cressey said, “We have a question to answer. What is our role here and what will we do with it? That’s for us to figure out, especially the students. Give back. It’s an obligation. Find the most satisfying and fitting way for you and start giving.”
After earning his Bachelor of Arts in political science from UMass Lowell, Cressey earned his master’s in security policy studies from George Washington University in 1991. He is an adjunct professor at Georgetown.
He is the founder and past president of Good Harbor Consulting, a leading cyber security firm. He is a cyber security expert, specializing in software and Internet security. In 2011, Cressey was named a senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, a top consulting firm and defense contractor based in Virginia.