The University Record, September 5, 2000

Ford, Kissinger to speak at Ford School of Public Policy naming ceremony

By Bernie DeGroat
News and Information Services

Ford
Former President Gerald R. Ford and former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger will speak at the official naming ceremony of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at 11 a.m. Sept. 12 at Hill Auditorium. The Board of Regents approved the name change last fall.

The ceremony is open to the public and will feature a keynote address by Kissinger and remarks by Ford. Michigan Gov. John M. Engler, President Lee C. Bollinger, Provost Nancy E. Cantor, Ford School Dean Rebecca M. Blank, Regent Rebecca McGowan and recent U-M graduate Omorotimi T. Lewis also are scheduled to speak at the event.

Blank says that the name change is important for the School, which is working to expand its current programs and raise its visibility.

“It helps us honor Gerald Ford and affirm our commitment to training students who are as committed to public service as he has been,” she says. “It also raises the visibility of our School by associating it with one of the University’s most prominent alumni and one of the state’s most effective politicians.”

Ford, a 1935 graduate in economics and political science, served as the 38th president of the United States from 1974 to 1977. In December 1973, President Richard Nixon appointed Ford to the vice presidency following the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew. Ford then became president when Nixon resigned in August 1974.

Prior to occupying the White House, Ford was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1949–73, serving as House minority leader during the last eight years of his congressional tenure. While in Congress, he also was appointed to the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Before embarking on a career in public office, Ford—a collegiate football standout at Michigan—turned down offers to play professional football with the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions in order to attend Yale Law School. After earning a law degree in 1941, he practiced law in Grand Rapids and served with the U.S. Navy for four years, including two-and-a-half years in the South Pacific on a combat aircraft carrier during World War II.

“For over half a century, President Ford has reflected honor on this University and every office he has filled,” Bollinger says. “Whether carrying the banner for bipartisan foreign policy in the wake of World War II, seeking constructive solutions during his long and influential career in Congress, restoring faith in our nation’s highest office, or speaking out on issues of conscience as a much admired elder statesman, he has embodied the highest standards of individual integrity and public service. His life and example should serve as a great inspiration for students aspiring to careers in the public sphere.”

Kissinger, who now is chairman of his own international consulting firm, served as the nation’s 56th secretary of state September 1973 to January 1977. He also was assistant to the president for National Security Affairs January 1969 to November 1975. He later was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to chair the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America (1983–85) and served as a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (1984–90).

Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and the Medal of Liberty in 1986. Prior to his years in public service, he served in the U.S. Army (1943–46); earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard University in the early 1950s; and taught in the Department of Government and at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard in 1954–69.

Over the years, he has written a dozen books and published numerous articles on U.S. foreign policy, international affairs and diplomatic history. His syndicated column appears in leading U.S. newspapers and in more than 40 foreign countries.

In addition to the Ford School of Public Policy, the U-M is home to the Gerald R. Ford Library on North Campus, which houses Ford’s presidential papers and other historical materials of his years in public life. The Library contains more than 20 million documents and hosts an ambitious series of conferences and other programs.

The Ford School of Public Policy

The Ford School of Public Policy traces its beginnings to 1914, when the University founded the Institute of Public Administration—one of the first programs of its kind in the nation. In 1968, the Institute was broadened to increase its emphasis on national policy issues and was renamed the Institute of Public Policy Studies. In 1995, in recognition of its continuing growth in both domestic and international policy studies, it was granted school status and named the School of Public Policy.

It offers doctoral and master’s degrees in public policy, a master’s degree in public administration, and an accelerated bachelor’s/master’s in public policy degree program for undergraduates, as well as joint and dual graduate degree programs with the schools of business, law, information, natural resources and environment, public health, and social work.

The School’s programs are interdisciplinary and flexible, designed to prepare students to work in a complex world of policy analysis and public management. Students are trained in economic, political, organizational and quantitative analysis in both domestic and international policy. Faculty, most of whom have joint appointments with other academic departments, are nationally renowned for their research, teaching and the practice of public policy.