Ralph S. Blackman

Ralph-BlackmanCurrent Location: Arlington, VA
Hometown: Evergreen Park, IL

UIS Degree: M.A. 1976 (Public Administration)
Other Degree: B.A. 1975, Western Illinois University

Current Position
President and CEO of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility

Career Highlights

Blackman has had two presidential appointments in his lifetime, the first in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan as the Associate Director of the White House Conference on Small Business; the second in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush, as the Assistant Administrator for Private Enterprise within the U.S. Agency for International Development. He has also sat on the Faberge Arts Foundation Advisory Board, was a member of the Dept. of Commerce’s Industry Sector Advisory Committee for Small Business and Trade Policy and served on the “Competing in the Global Marketplace” council on the National Policy Forum.

Memories of SSU/UIS
“In the mid-1970s SSU was just the library, parking, sidewalks and not much else. In fact, many of my public administration classes were held at an old hotel downtown near the Capitol,” said Blackman. Blackman also remembers walking into classes at SSU and seeing that it was full of adults. “True to its mission at that time, the university was a mecca for state government employees pursuing advanced degrees. I had never been in class with an adult before.”

How did UIS change or prepare you?
“Because full-time students shared the classroom with working students, you received an academic perspective and a real-world perspective. It was enormously helpful to learn about theories and then discuss the practical application of them. Understanding that bureaucracies and large organizations didn’t always behave according to what you read in your book gave me new insights into working in government later in my career.”

Interesting Fact

Blackman can add Mixology to his list of degrees and accomplishments. “I recently attended a professional bartender school. While it was a lot of fun, it’s also harder than it looks.”

Posted on November 6, 2014