A Born Leader

Max Lederer always knew he was destined for big things.

From a young age, he always wanted to do great things and help make a difference in the world.

And, to this point, he has done just that.

Growing up in western New York, Lederer came to Marshall University in the late 1970s, graduating in 1982 with a degree in Political Science. He would go on to complete law school and would immediately get into a career with the United States military, providing advice on the law of war while in combat during Operation Desert Shield and Storm and prosecuting military personnel accused of treason and desertion.

He then spent a few years providing legal counsel for the Stars and Stripes media organization, eventually becoming publisher.

Throughout his career, he has traveled the world, he has received a Bronze Star for his service in Desert Shield and Storm, and, more recently, was named the next president of the Marshall University Alumni Association national board.

So just who is Max Lederer? We will let him tell you in this edition of Alumni Spotlight.

HERD HEAVEN: First things first, tell us a little about your time at Marshall University?

MAX LEDERER: I am a 1982 graduate of Marshall where I received my BA in Political Science. I spent four years with the Marshall ROTC, earning my parachutists wings from the U.S. Army Airborne School and was a resident advisor at Holderby Hall. I was also on the student council for three years and was Chief Justice of the Student Council my senior year. I also was on the debate team and in the honors society for Political Science.

HH: What brought you to Marshall and what did you take away from your experience?

ML: Attending Marshall was the best decision of my life. I grew up in western New York. Attending Marshall not only introduced me to a different culture and lifestyle, but the number of international students here created a desire to experience more of the world. Marshall professors encouraged me to look beyond the campus to the world at large and the activities stressed leadership and conducting myself in an ethical and respectful manner. I formed lasting friendships with others who exemplify the Marshall spirit of service and caring for others. While I moved on to other circles of colleagues and friends, my Marshall family is an intricate part of the foundation of who I am. I will forever cherish my time at Marshall.

HH: Talk a little about life after Marshall and some of your career accomplishments?

ML: After leaving Marshall, I completed law school and then spent the next six years involved in the administration of justice, both as a defense counsel and prosecuting accused servicemen and women. Additionally, I provided advice on the law of war while in combat during Desert Shield and Storm and prosecuted personnel accused of treason and desertion. After completing my military service, I spent time practicing employment law for the federal government before transitioning to legal counsel for Stars and Stripes media organization practicing a number of legal disciplines, including media law and intellectual property. I learned the publishing industry as the legal counsel and moved to the management side of the business before being selected as the publisher.

HH: I would imagine your career has taken you all over the world. Where all have you lived and what advice do you have for others?

ML: I had the opportunity to live overseas for 14 years and was able to travel to many parts of the world. While I now live in the nation’s capital, I still travel to Europe, Asia and the Middle East frequently. The leadership skills I learned at Marshall, as well as the discipline to always prepare, have greatly contributed to my success. You do not need to be the smartest person in the room, but you should be the best prepared.

HH: What is your favorite memory from you time at Marshall?

ML: I had a number of great experiences during my time at Marshall, including rappelling with friends off the cliffs along Route 60, spending time exploring and learning about the Tri-State area with a special friend, but my most memorable event was the fall break backpacking trip I led my senior year as the outdoor recreation committee chair. We had a group of 10 with little-to-no experience camping. We had a great time researching trails, mapping out elevation, planning meals, sharing the weight of the equipment between the men and women on the trip, and shopping together for food. We had to carefully read the topographical maps, plan for streams and water purification for drinking and cooking and have basic first aid as common knowledge. We arrived the first day in cool weather and hiked about five miles with packs averaging 40 pounds. When we woke the next morning, it had started to snow. As a group, we decided to continue our four-day backcountry trail hikes wading through washed out bridges of cold mountain streams and up and down steep inclines and starting a fire for a warm evening meal. Everyone came home really dirty, tired and sore, but safe.

HH: Through it all, what do you consider your greatest life achievement so far?

ML: I have had a lot of unique experiences and successes, such as being a recipient of the Bronze Star for my service in Desert Storm and Shield; prosecuting murderers, rapists, and child abusers while a prosecutor for the U.S. military, but my greatest professional achievement was my selection as publisher of Stars and Stripes media organization, allowing me to continue to serve the men and women of the U.S. military risking their lives for all of our safety.


HH: Favorite Food?
ML: Orange sherbet and cream ice cream

HH: Favorite Music?
ML: Classic rock and Charlie Daniels (He did a bunch of free concerts in Iraq for soldiers and came to my office in D.C., where he agreed to use Stars and Stripes art on one of his CD covers)

HH: Favorite Movie?
ML: Patriot with Mel Gibson and, of course, We Are Marshall

HH: First Car?
ML: Nissan Pulsar T-Top upgraded for driving on the German autobahn

HH: Hobbies?
ML: Playing basketball, hiking, running with my dog, and hanging with the family

HH: Favorite Sports Team?
ML: New York Yankees and all Marshall teams

HH: Something About You People Might Not Know?
ML: I help run a dog rescue with as many as 22 puppies and adult dogs at my house at one time