Type: Public event

A conversation with Secretary James A. Baker, III

2020 William E. Simon Lecture in Public Affairs, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation


Due to the COVID-19 situation, this event has been canceled.  We are working to reschedule for a future date or deliver this content in a different format. Check this page or follow @fordschool on Twitter for updates. Learn more here about the University of Michigan's new university-wide measures regarding classes and events.

Date & time

Mar 23, 2020-Jun 17, 2024, 4:00 pm-3:24 am EDT


Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library
1000 Beal Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Free and open to the public. Reception to follow.

Please note: this event will take place at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.

Join us for an armchair conversation between former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III, and Michael S. Barr, Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. The discusison will focus on Secretary Baker's distinguished career serving in senior government positions under three United States presidents—as Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, and twice as White House Chief of Staff. The conversation will cover pivotal moments from Secretary Baker's distinguished career and his reflections on current issues of international diplomacy and domestic policy. 

Co-sponsors: the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and Library, The Gerald R. Ford Institute at Albion College, and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. 

From the speaker's bio:

James A. Baker, III, has served in senior government positions under three United States presidents. He served as the nation's 61st secretary of state from January 1989 through August 1992 under President George H.W. Bush. During his tenure at the State Department, Baker traveled to 90 foreign countries as the United States confronted the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the post–Cold War era. From 1985 to 1988, Baker served as the 67th secretary of the treasury under President Ronald Reagan, and from 1981 to 1985, he served as White House chief of staff to President Reagan. Baker's record of public service began in 1975 as under secretary of commerce to President Gerald R. Ford and concluded with his service as White House chief of staff and senior counselor to President Bush from August 1992 to January 1993.

Long active in American presidential politics, Baker also led presidential campaigns for Presidents Ford, Reagan, and Bush over the course of five consecutive presidential elections from 1976 to 1992.

A native Houstonian, Baker graduated from Princeton University in 1952. After two years of active duty as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, he entered The University of Texas School of Law at Austin. He received his J.D. with honors in 1957 and practiced law with the Houston firm of Andrews and Kurth from 1957 to 1975. Baker’s memoir — “Work Hard, Study . . . and Keep Out of Politics! Adventures and Lessons from an Unexpected Public Life” — was published in October 2006.