LBJ Museum of San Marcos Chautauqua

The 2023 LBJ Museum of San Marcos Summer Chautauqua* was held Thursday, June 15, 2023, from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm in the museum’s auditorium.

*Chautauqua was an institution that provided popular education courses and entertainment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. San Marcos was the site of a pretty famous Chautauqua around 1900. The Chautauqua’s summer camp format proved very popular with families. Old Main at Texas State sits on Chautauqua Hill.

The U.S. Secret Service: A Dual Mission Career

The LBJ Museum’s first Chautauqua featured Michael “Zark” Markowicz, a retired Special Agent. Markowicz was a Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service for 23+ years until retiring in 2019, relocating to Houston; and eventually to beautiful San Marcos in 2023.

The Lecture

Markowicz began the lecture with a trivia question about when the secret service was created (July 5, 1865, The last bill Lincoln signed before his assassination). After trivia, he transitioned to discussing the dual mission of the Secret Service; the protection responsibilities as well as the agency’s investigative responsibilities, and how he split his time with the agency almost evenly between these two missions.

Over the course of his Secret Service career, Markowicz served in the Houston Field Office, Clinton Protective Division, Vice Presidential Protective Division, Washington Field Office, and two positions at Secret Service Headquarters in the Information Assurance Branch and Critical Systems Protection Branch. In addition, Markowicz worked on six Presidential Campaigns and Inaugurations, over 20 United Nations Annual meetings, two Popes’ visits, and protected various world leaders visiting the United States during his career. He was also an active member of the Presidential Successor Program for 11 years.

Markowicz worked on protection assignments in 30 foreign countries and 49 U.S. states. He also conducted 35 cyber protection advances highlighted by Superbowl LI and the 2018 NCAA Final Four in San Antonio. Markowicz shared a story about one of the financial crimes he investigated stemming from a $100 counterfeit note that led to millions seized. He also discussed investigating other cases with a few having as large as $18 million fraudulently obtained.

We had a superb evening learning about the training and work experience of a Special Agent in the Secret Service. If you were there you had quite a treat. If you missed out, well… you just had to be there!