WILSON LIVINGOOD:

SECURITY FOR THE U.S. HOUSE


When Newt Gingrich, the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, looked to hire a new Sargeant at Arms for the House, he did something that hadn't happened in recent memory. He made a nonpartisan pick. "They didn't ask me any political questions," says the resulting pick, Wilson "Bill" Livingood, '61, a distinguished veteran of the U.S. Secret Service who boasts three decades of experience in field operations, inspection and protective services. Livingood, the the last agent on active duty when President Kennedy was assassinated, most recently was executive assistant to the Secret Service director, his fellow Spartan Eljay Bowron, '73 (see Spring 1994, p. 13). "I met Newt after I was hired," recalls Bill. "He said, 'So you're the nonpartisan professional I was looking for.'" Bill is responsible for the security of the House and all its members. He also sits on a three-person board that controls the Capitol area security. "I have many other responsibilities," he notes, "including special events, tours, and protocol." Bill relishes his new job. "I'm very thankful, energized, imbued with a great sense of pride in our democratic system," he says. "Everyone here has been very, very helpful." Though he has received many merit awards, his personal highlight was advancing President Nixon's historic trip to China. "It was almost like being in another planet," he recalls. "China hadn't seen an American in 25 years. We couldn't walk anywhere (without getting mobbed)." While at MSU, Bill showed early signs of political skill when he was elected president of the student body. "I was quite outgoing," he explains. And many of his classmates recently saw him take the national center stage on Jan. 24, when he escorted President Clinton to the podium for the State of the Union address. When Livingood came up to Gingrich, he announced, "Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States." For the record, his intonation was authoritative and flawless.

photo caption: On Jan. 24, before national television cameras, Bill Livingood escorted President Clinton to the House podium for the State of the Union address.