Ford School hosts private screening of documentary, Gerald R. Ford: A Test of Character

September 8, 2016

Some 120 students, faculty, and staff—along with a number of distinguished guests—attended Tuesday’s private screening of Gerald R. Ford: A Test of Character at the Ford School.

The documentary, which is narrated by Michigan’s own Jeff Daniels, provided an opportunity for Ford School students to learn more about the legacy of the University of Michigan’s favorite son, and the Ford School’s namesake president, Gerald R. Ford.

Gerald R. Ford: A Test of Character, which aired on National Geographic earlier this summer, features in-depth interviews with major figures from the era, including Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather, who covered the Ford presidency as young reporters; Ford’s cabinet members and staff including Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger, and Donald Rumsfeld; two of Ford’s children, Steven and Susan; the historian, Richard Norton-Smith; and others.

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Ambassador Peter Secchia

President Ford's friend and colleague Ambassador Peter Secchia, the film's executive producer, gave introductory remarks and took questions from the audience in an off-the-record Q&A following the screening. Other distinguished guests at the event included former U-M Athletic Director Jim Hackett, Ambassador Ron Weiser and Eileen Weiser, Marty Allen, Ford Presidential Library and Museum director Elaine Didier and Gordon Didier.

In her introductory remarks, Dean Collins noted that each year, the Ford School finds multiple ways to recognize and celebrate the legacy of its namesake President. "We know that the example he set," said Collins, "provides an excellent beacon for a school that prepares young people to tackle increasingly complex problems in an increasingly diverse world."

"President Ford’s life-long commitment to public service, his championship for inclusion, the integrity he displayed when America most needed to see that quality in its leader, and his gift for reaching across the aisle—for finding common ground even with political opponents: my hope is that each of our students finds inspiration in President Ford and his legacy."

Read the Washington Post article about the new documentary.