Elizabeth Holzhall Richard credits one of her Dedman School of Law professors with urging her to take the Foreign Service exam, the first step in her long and lauded career in the United States diplomatic corps. In her 30 years of service, she has held posts in some of the world’s hot spots, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. She grew up in Hammond, Indiana, and was interviewed by the Northwest Indiana Times for a story published on June 21. Richard earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences before graduating from law school.
NORTHWEST INDIANA TIMES
Elizabeth Holzhall Richard, a former Hammond resident, is scheduled to be sworn in today as the new U.S. ambassador to Lebanon.
Richard served most recently as deputy assistant secretary and the coordinator for foreign assistance to the Near East in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. In that role, Richard oversaw a foreign assistance budget of more than $7 billion.
Richard, 56, said she was thrilled when she was told she would be named to the post in Lebanon. She called it both a huge honor and a huge responsibility.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years now, so I’m absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to serve with the folks that I’ll be working with and try to be able to make a little bit of a positive contribution,” Richard said.
When attending law school, Richard said she took some international law classes and one of her teachers suggested she take the foreign service officer test. Richard said she wasn’t really exposed to the fact that there was this line of work out there prior to that time and now urges young people to consider such a career. The government is seeking people from a wide variety of backgrounds and parts of the country to serve.