Sandy Weill, Harold Ford Jr. spend a day with Ford School students and faculty

June 11, 2010

Ford School students got the chance to rub elbows with two influential figures as the winter semester wound down, Sanford (Sandy) Weill and Harold Ford Jr.

The two, who became friends several years ago through their philanthropic work with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, traveled together from New York for the day. They met with students and faculty in a number of small-group conversations on topics ranging from the regulation of financial markets to the impact of the recently-enacted federal health reform legislation.

The day was capped by a public lecture by Harold Ford Jr. A full crowd in the Annenberg Auditorium heard Ford's thoughts on the prospects for bipartisan dialogue in the current political climate.

Sandy Weill, who along with his wife Joan Weill has been a generous supporter of the Ford School, is the Chairman Emeritus of Citigroup Inc. In addition to a distinguished career in the financial sector, Sandy has for decades demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to public service and philanthropy. Among many other posts, he served as director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He continues to serve on the boards of some of the world's top institutions in a wide range of sectors, including education, health care, and the arts.

Ford served Tennessee in the United States Congress for 10 years. Described by President Bill Clinton as "the walking, living embodiment of where America ought to go in the 21st century." Ford is now executive vice president of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, a news analyst for NBC and MSNBC, and a distinguished practitioner in residence at the Wagner School of Public Service at NYU.

Ford is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his B.A. in American History, and the University of Michigan Law School. Ford lives and works in New York with his wife Emily.

Funding support for the public lecture was provided by the Jean Fairfax Initiative at the University of Michigan.