On Tuesday, April 16, Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft (ret. USAF), former National Security Advisor for the Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush administrations, dedicated the new bronze statue of President Ford that now stands in the Great Hall at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. The statue is a scale model, created by sculptor J. Brett Grill, of the statue of President Ford that stands in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Grill, a U-M alumnus and Grand Rapids native, also attended the festive dedication ceremony, along with many members of the Ford School and U-M communities and speakers Ford School Dean Susan M. Collins; Mike Ford, son of President Ford; and Ingrid Tighe (MPA '13)—a U.S. Army veteran—who introduced Scowcroft.
At the ceremony, Gen. Scowcroft noted that the last time he had been at the Ford School was in 2006, for the dedication of Weill Hall, but that now he could "feel his [President Ford]'s aura here." He recalled several notable moments from Gerald Ford's presidency, including the evacuation of troops from Vietnam and the Helsinki Accords, both in 1975. Scowcroft spoke fondly of the late president, as he had earlier in a session discussing international security with a small group of current Ford School master's students and faculty member Robert Axelrod. "He was a genial, approachable person," Scowcroft recalled. "Very comfortable in his own skin."
This quality was echoed by sculptor Grill, who stated that "I tried to capture a sense of duty, of being dutiful. [The presidency] was not an office he sought originally, but that he was called to do." The statue also portrays Ford's "sense of humility," said Grill. "He was a really approachable and humble guy—that is unusual for a president."
The statue is a gift from Susan J. (AB '60) and Martin J. Allen, Jr. to the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.