This Tuesday I had the distinct honor of interviewing former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke during the Economic Club of Grand Rapids’ 29th annual dinner. It was a terrific evening in the beautiful city where President Gerald R. Ford grew up, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to connect and reconnect with many of the president’s friends and family members, a number of whom have been very generous supporters of our school.
President Ford’s legacy is always alive at the Ford School, of course, where aspiring policy leaders proudly refer to themselves as Fordies, but I’m pleased to report that our namesake is receiving much broader recognition of late.
Next Monday, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, which has just finished a truly impressive renovation, will reopen to the public. The new exhibits are powerful, and tell important stories about President Ford’s legacy of service. And last week a new documentary, Gerald R. Ford: A test of character, premiered on the National Geographic Channel. Narrated by Michigan’s own Jeff Daniels, the documentary focuses on Ford’s leadership, courage, and character during some of our nation’s darkest hours.
At the Ford School, we’ll raise our glasses to Gerald and Betty Ford during our annual Worldwide Ford School Spirit Day festivities on Thursday, July 14. Spirit Day gatherings will be held in a dozen or more cities around the world, including Washington, DC; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; Detroit and Lansing, MI; and more. If you’re interested in hosting a Spirit Day gathering, or attending, please reach out; we would love to have you.
A number of new Fordies are likely to join these celebrations, as well. On Saturday, April 30, we held our 2016 commencement ceremonies. Alumnus Hardy Vieux (MPP/JD ’97), legal director of Human Rights First, delivered a moving commencement address and 174 new graduates crossed the stage to resounding applause from faculty, staff, friends, and family members. Our students and alumni continue to impress with their commitment to citizenship, service, and leadership—we look forward to sharing their many accomplishments in the years ahead.
The Ford School community is growing in other ways, too. While we are still deeply committed to training students for careers in local, state, and federal policy, we are increasingly building connections across sectors and around the globe. We have recently launched a new dual-degree partnership with INCAE Business School, one of the top business schools in Latin America, and are continuing to forge and to strengthen our connections in China.
Tell us what you think of these developments, and tell us where you are and what you’re working on these days. The Ford School is growing—in size, in visibility, and in reach—but we hope to always maintain the close-knit, collegial community that makes our school so special.
Susan M. Collins
Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy
View the entire June 2016 edition of "The Ford School Feed"