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Heath Tarbert Named 2020 Commencement Speaker

Tarbert feature

Heath Tarbert gave Mount Fellows, including Director of the Office of Competitive Fellowships Jamie Gianoutsos and President Timothy E. Trainor, a tour of the Treasury Department in 2018.

Mount St. Mary’s University will welcome Heath Tarbert, C’98, as the speaker for the 212th commencement exercises on Saturday, May 16. Tarbert, a public servant who currently is the chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), will be honored with a Doctorate of Humane Letters in recognition of his distinguished leadership.

tarbert1.jpg“Heath's leadership and commitment to protecting consumer rights and serving as a guardian of our free enterprise system will inspire our graduates,” said President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D. “His story of success—built on the life lessons he learned, in part, at the Mount—will serve as a beacon of inspiration to our graduates who will sit where he did 22 years ago.”  

“The Mount taught me that our lives are largely the product of our choices, which must be aligned with our faith and values in order for us to live lives of significance,” Tarbert said in an interview in the Fall 2018 issue of Mount Magazine.

Before being named to his current position in 2019, Tarbert was assistant secretary for international markets and subsequently acting undersecretary for international affairs at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Earlier in his career, he was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, associate counsel to the president and U.S. executive director of World Bank Group.

In his role as associate counsel to the president, he provided legal advice to and advised senior White House and Cabinet officials on issues related to the U.S. government’s response to the financial crisis. While serving as special counsel to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Tarbert participated in negotiations that eventually led to passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

In 2019, Tarbert was awarded the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Alexander Hamilton Award and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Outstanding Public Service Award. He is a certified public accountant and a chartered financial analyst.

Tarbert graduated from the Mount with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting, international business and economics. He then attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School and received a Juris Doctor in 2001 and a Doctor of Juridical Science in 2002. He earned his Master of Studies and a Doctor of Philosophy in comparative law from Oxford University in 2005, where he was a Thouron Scholar.

As a Mount student, Tarbert won the Bishop Edward P. Allen Memorial Prize for the highest scholastic average after four years. He was awarded the Edward T. Hogan Memorial Prize for Pre-Law Studies and the Msgr. Bernard J. Bradley Memorial Prizes for Accounting and Business Administration. Tarbert also won the Wall Street Journal Student Leadership Award. As an alumnus, he was recognized in 2010 with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award and in 2013 was inducted into the Academic Circle of Excellence Alumni Hall of Fame.

Tarbert and his wife Kate have two sons. They met when they both clerked for Chief Justice Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.