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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Major General Alfred Valenzuela, USA (Ret) – Member, World War I Centennial Commission
  • Ike Skelton – Member, World War I Centennial Commission
  • Libby H. O'Connell – Member, World War I Centennial Commission
  • Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, USA (Ret) – Member, President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Anthony Marc Robles – Member, President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Matrice Ellis-Kirk – Member, President's Commission on White House Fellowships 

President Obama said, “I am proud to appoint such impressive men and women to these important roles, and I am grateful they have agreed to lend their considerable talents to this Administration. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Major General Alfred Valenzuela, USA (Ret), Appointee for Member, World War I Centennial Commission

Major General Alfred Valenzuela retired after 33 years of service in the U.S. Army.  He has served in three Combat Corps and six Infantry Divisions all over the world.  Previously, he was the President and CEO of the San Antonio Housing Authority.  Major General Valenzuela has served on the Boards of Directors of the Boy Scouts of America, the Family Service Association, the Boys and Girls Club, Communities in Schools, and Haven for Hope.  He is also a Member of the Board of Trustees for St. Mary’s University, the National Recreation Foundation Board, and USAA Federal Savings Bank.  He received the Army and Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Soldier’s Medal for Heroism.  Major General Valenzuela graduated from the U.S. Army Command and the General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College, the Air War College, and the Inter-American Defense College.  He received a B.A. and an M.A. from St. Mary's University in San Antonio.

Ike Skelton, Appointee for Member, World War I Centennial Commission

Ike Skelton is a partner at the law firm of Husch Blackwell LLP.  He represented Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1977 to 2011.  In Congress, Mr. Skelton chaired the House Armed Services Committee from 2007 to 2011.  Previously, Mr. Skelton was a Missouri State Senator from 1971 to 1976, and served as a Special Assistant Attorney General in Missouri from 1961 to 1963.  From 1961 to 1976, he was a partner at the law firm of Bradley, Skelton & Schelp, in his hometown of Lexington, Missouri.  In 2011, he was appointed to the American Battle Monuments Commission.  Mr. Skelton’s father, Ike Skelton, Sr., served in the United States Navy during World War I, where he was a fireman aboard the USS Missouri.  He received an A.A. from the Wentworth Military Academy and Junior College, and a B.A. and LL.B. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Dr. Libby H. O’Connell, Appointee for Member, World War I Centennial Commission

Dr. Libby H. O’Connell is Chief Historian and Senior Vice President of Corporate Outreach at A+E Television Networks.  In this role, she developed the History Channel’s multi-year veterans initiative and oversees educational outreach for A+E Networks.  Before joining A+E in 1993, Dr. O’Connell taught History at Long Island University and served as President of Raynham Hall Museum in New York.  Dr. O’Connell currently serves on the boards of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution's Traveling Exhibitions, and National History Day.  She is the former chair of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.  For her work, she has received two Governors Awards from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences as well as an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special.  Dr. O’Connell received a B.A. from Tufts University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in American History from the University of Virginia.

Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, USA (Ret), Appointee for Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition

Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, USA (Ret) recently retired from the U.S. Army after more than 37 years of service.  His last assignment was Commanding General for U.S. Army Europe.  Previously, Lieutenant General Hertling was Deputy Commanding General for Initial Military Training from 2009 to 2011, where he was responsible for the initial training of over 160,000 officers and enlisted soldiers annually.  During that period, he revamped the Army’s basic training program and implemented a modernized physical fitness and nutrition program to address the needs of today’s recruits.  He commanded the 1st Armored Division in Germany, Task Force Iron in Northern Iraq from 2007 to 2009, and served in combat from 2003 to 2004 as the Deputy Commander for U.S. forces in Iraq.  He has received the Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart.  Lieutenant General Hertling graduated from the Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies and the National War College.  He received a B.S. in International Relations from the United States Military Academy and an M.S. in Exercise Physiology from Indiana University.

Anthony Marc Robles, Appointee for Member, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition

Anthony Marc Robles is an NCAA Wrestling Analyst and Expert at ESPN.  Born with only one leg, Mr. Robles won the 2010-2011 NCAA individual wrestling championship in the 125-pound weight class, and is a three-time all-American.  His awards include NCAA Best Wrestler of the National Tournament in 2011, the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPN ESPYs, and the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award.  He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2012.  Mr. Robles received a B.A from Arizona State University.

Matrice Ellis-Kirk, Appointee for Member, President’s Commission on White House Fellowships

Matrice Ellis-Kirk is a partner at Heidrick & Struggles, a position she has held since 1999.  Earlier in her career, she was Vice President of Apex Securities from 1993 to 1995 and Director of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Office of Management and Budget from 1987 to 1993.  She serves on the boards of the North Texas Tollway Authority, the University of Texas Southwest Medical Foundation, and the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation.  She was a member of the University of Pennsylvania Board of Visitors and the World Economic Forum’s Global Council on Women’s Empowerment.  Ms. Ellis-Kirk received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.