University System Regents Chair to speak at Columbus State Graduation

COLUMBUS, Ga. — University System of Georgia Board of Regents Chair Benjamin J. “Ben” Tarbutton III will be the keynote speaker when 564 Columbus State University graduates receive degrees in fall commencement at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16 at the Columbus Civic Center.

Columbus State will also present an honorary doctorate to Myriam L. Hallock of Columbus, whose gifts to the university have made possible a CSU speaker series and military history program.

Ben Tarbutton“It’s so rewarding to see a need and be in a position to fulfill it,” said Hallock, widow of Col. Richard R. Hallock, who enjoyed success in both military and business careers.

Tarbutton, assistant vice president of the Sandersville Railroad Company, was elected last June to lead the 18-member governing body for Georgia’s 35 public colleges and universities. The 1994 Georgia Tech management graduate also serves on the boards of Sandersville Technical College, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Georgia. Former Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed Tarbutton in 2006 to represent the 12th congressional district in east central Georgia.

Myriam L. Hallock was born and raised in Ohio but spent several years in Cannes, living with French grandparents. She worked as a flight attendant and executive assistant before learning about the U.S. Information Service, the cultural arm of American embassies. Her fluency in French led to USIS postings in South Vietnam, Paris, Ivory Coast, the Cameroons, Bangladesh and Washington.Myriam Hallock

In 1991, she married Hallock, a widowed Oberlin College classmate. A decorated World War II paratrooper, he had gone on to serve as the personal aide for intelligence to Gen. Lucius D. Clay, who oversaw the Berlin Airlift and the post-war reconstruction of Germany. He later led a successful 10-year campaign for the Army to adopt the M-16 as its standard rifle. Retiring from the Army in 1967, Hallock found success with his Intrec and Quaestor corporations. He also served Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger as his personal representative to the Shah of Iran during the Nixon and Ford administrations.

After esophageal cancer led to his death in 1999, the Richard R. Hallock Foundation was established. A foundation gift to CSU led to the 2007 launch of the Hallock Speaker Series, devoted to national security issues and guided by CSU’s Department of Political Science. In 2010, a $2.5 million gift from the foundation led to creation of a military history program and the Col. Richard R. Hallock Distinguished Chair in Military History in CSU’s Department of History and Geography, now held by Dan Crosswell.

Seating for commencement begins at 4:30 p.m., and guests are advised to arrive early at the 400 Fourth St. Civic Center as traffic will be heavy and parking may take longer than expected. A live webcast of the ceremony will also be offered. For more information, visit


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Photos: Benjamin J. “Ben” Tarbutton III, top; Myriam L. Hallock