Vandenberg Prize with General James N. Mattis


71st Anniversary Event: The Vandenberg Prize

Vandenberg Prize Recipient: General James N. Mattis, former U.S. Secretary of Defense

Hillman-Orr Award recipient: Ambassador (ret.) Peter F. Secchia (posthumous), former Ambassador to Italy

Moderator: The Honorable Peter Meijer, U.S. House of Representatives (MI-3)

Link to digital program:… General James N. Mattis is the recipient of this year’s annual Vandenberg Prize, honoring a national figure whose efforts to develop global understanding and collaboration has been influential on the world stage.

In addition, Ambassador (ret.) Peter F. Secchia, Grand Rapids philanthropist and former Ambassador to Italy, will receive the annual Hilman-Orr Award posthumously. Accepting the award will be Mark Secchia, son of Peter.

The Vandenberg Prize is named after Michigan Senator Arthur Vandenberg (1881-1951), the inspiration for founding the Council in 1949 by Grand Rapids attorney (and later Federal Judge) Douglas Hillman and businessman Edgar Orr.

The 2021 recipient of the Vandenberg Prize is General James N. Mattis. He served as the 26th Secretary of Defense in 2017 and 2018. In this role, he worked to strengthen America’s alliances and reorient the defense budget to face the rising challenges posed by emerging technologies and near-peer adversaries.

In his 43-year tenure in the U.S. Marine Corps, he was:
Commander, US Central Command (2010-2013)
Commander, US Joint Forces Command (2007-2010)
Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (2007-2009)

A public servant committed to the values of democracy and global coalition-building, we believe the General to be a fitting recipient of the Vandenberg Prize.… Peter F. Secchia is the recipient of this year’s Hillman-Orr Award. Born in New Jersey in 1937, Secchia went to work for Universal Forest Products and eventually owned the company, taking it international. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Italy for four years. He became a major philanthropist in Grand Rapids, Michigan, especially benefiting Millennium Park and the MSU College of Human Medicine in Grand Rapids. ​ Representative Peter Meijer is serving his first term as Congressman for Michigan’s 3rd District. Previously, he deployed to Iraq in the Army reserves, and after, joined Team Rubicon, a veteran-based disaster relief organization. He currently serves on the Committee on Homeland Security as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Management, & Accountability, Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Space Science & Technology Committee. ​ This program is made possible with the gracious support from: The Meijer Foundation Amway Bank of America