Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy Naming Ceremony includes remarks from Gerald R. Ford, Lee C. Bollinger, Henry Kissinger, John Engler, Rebecca Blank, Nancy Cantor, Omorotimi Lewis, and Rebecca McGowan. September, 2000.
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>> President Lee Bollinger: I would like to welcome President Ford. Mrs. Betty Ford in the audience. My wife, Jean. Dr. Kissinger. Governor Engler. Regent Becky, Rebecca McGowan on the stage. Today, the University of Michigan takes the historic step of naming the School of Public Policy for its alumnus, Gerald R. Ford, the thirty-eighth President of the United States.
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First, a few comments about the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy. The school traces its beginnings to 1914 with the founding of the Institute of Public Administration, one of the first programs of its kind in the United States. In 1968, the Institute was renamed the Institute of Public Policy Studies. Then, just five years ago, in 1995, the institute became a school within the university. With independent hiring and curricular authority. In August of 1999, just over one year ago, we welcomed the prominent economist Rebecca Blank as the new dean of the school. Under Dean Blank's leadership, we now have launched a major expansion of the school. We will expand its teaching and research mission, and its connections to the outside world of policy. Over the next decade, we will enjoy the pleasures of significant growth in this academic field. And the enrichment of the university that will come from the contacts the school will naturally foster with visitors and contacts in the important world of policy-making. Gerald R. Ford was born in 1913, poetically, one year before the founding of the Institute of Public Administration. Even more poetically, his family moved to Michigan to Grand Rapids one year later, in 1914, becoming a Michigan resident at the very moment that the School of Public Policy was, itself, born. President Ford's biography is well known, especially in this quarter of the world. Most significantly for this occasion, however, is the fact that he was a student at the University of Michigan from 1931 to 1935. A fine student and athlete, President Ford, as he always would, left an even finer impression for his character. A friend and fellow athlete said of the President, "Gerry was upright. Perhaps a little more reserved than the rest of us. He always had a good word for everyone and was a guy you couldn't help but like. He also worked very hard, waiting tables in the university hospital cafeteria. And he showed signs of being enterprising, selling blood every two months for $25 a pint." [Laughter] President Ford's connections with this university go well beyond his time here as a student. He has returned many, many times. He served as the honorary chair of the 1983 Capital Campaign, the first comprehensive university-wide campaign. And, of course, we are now proud to be the site and to have the associations, which will grow with the Ford Presidential Library. But the greatest of all connections is in the affection that he invariably manifests for this university. The naming of a school or college within the university is a rare event. Rare and historic events tend to invite lengthy responses. But they are best served by the fewest words. I want to say only this. What we accomplish and celebrate today is more than a naming. It is a blending, a relationshiop over decades and, hopefully, centuries. The University of Michigan, the School of Public Policy, and Gerald R. Ford now reflect on each other. We all are, in a sense, one. In this, we can take great pride and happiness and feel secure about the future. For President Ford is known for what is the most important element of public policy, and the hardest to study and to teach; namely, character. Policy-making, like any decision-making, has many components. We learn how to gather and understand information. We learn about history. About precedents. About the nature of the institutions in which decisions will be reached. We will forever debate the question, whether bad people can make good policy. Or good law. Or good decisions. But we would be foolish to believe that it never matters who the person is behind the policy. And we should never neglect the fact that the qualities of the policy-maker at work in the policy-making are, themselves, lessons and examples for all to see. And the fact that these qualities of characters are not amenable to analysis and exposition does not mean that they are unimportant. On the contrary, because of the significance of character to public policy and because of the difficulties of capturing character through rational analysis, we are all the more fortunate to be entering into this relationship with President Ford.
In our time, few match the spirit of civic engagement of President Ford. One of the greatest challenges of any society, of any relationship, is how to deal with belief and disagreement. Conflict is inherent to democracy, and the capacity to live through conflict is inherently difficult and art, in itself. From the debacles of the twentieth century, we are painfully aware of the extreme dangers on either side of belief. On the one side, dogmatism and authoritarianism, and, on the other, relativism and disengagement. But in the middle, the right course is far less clear. Party lines can so easily becomes points of estrangement, and the loss of a sense of collective purpose and well-being can just as easily slip away. Therefore, one of the greatest lessons a leader must teach is how to make public policy and be the kind of person who reinforces a sense of community. To my mind, this is President Ford's finest achievement, and the greatest strength for the university in the bond we now forge. Several months ago, President Ford spoke at the memorial service for Ed Levi, one of the most distinguished figures in law, and the President of the University of Chicago, whom President Ford appointed as his Attorney General. President Ford recounted how he invited Ed Levi to the White House to discuss the Justice Department, and how he offered him the position on the spot. President Ford needed, he said, and wanted integrity and distinction. And he didn't even know nor care what Ed Levi's party affiliation was. Imagine. I have said today that we create a relationship. And my favorite description of the meaning of friendship is from one of Montaigne's essays. "In the friendship I speak of," Montaigne says, "Our souls mingle and blend with each other so completely that they efface the seam that joined them." Mr. President, by naming the School of Public Policy in your honor, happily and proudly, our souls now mingle and blend, and we efface the seam that joined them. Thank you for this friendship.
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We are honored to have with us here today Michigan's forty-sixth governor, the Honorable John Engler. Governor Engler has been a major force in Michigan government for more than three decades, since his election to the Michigan House of Representatives in 1970 at the age of 22. Elected governor in 1990 and reelected in 1994 and 1998, he is recognized nationally for his leadership in the areas of fiscal responsibility, educational reform, and innovative social services initiatives. He has been a strong supporter of public higher education and of this university. Governor Engler earned a Bachelor's degree in economics, agricultural economics, from Michigan State University, and a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. We are proud that he is also a Michigan alumnus, having received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1993. It is my pleasure to introduce our governor, Governor Engler.
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>> Governor John Engler: Good morning. Thank you, President Bollinger, for that kind introduction. President Ford, Mrs. Ford, all the members of the Ford family. Dr. Kissinger. General Scowcroft. Dean Blank. Fellow alumni. Ladies and gentlemen. It is a delight and privilege for me to be here today to provide greetings on this auspicious occasion. An event honoring the only President to hail from Michigan. President Ford, it is so fitting and proper that the University of Michigan School of Public Policy be named after you, a man whose life has been devoted to public service. You got your start here at the University of Michigan, coming here as a young man from Grand Rapids and starring as an outstanding athlete and a wonderful student and, as the President just indicated, a very hard worker, even in those days. That hard work continued as a Congressman, and, eventually, the House Republican Leader. From Grand Rapids, you distinguished yourself as a leader among leaders. Your integrity, your character shown through and was an example to all. As President, you guided this country during challenging times. Your tenure was, indeed, a time to heal. Your leadership made us proud. And, now, as a statesman, your advice is sought, heeded by many. How appropriate it is that this university, bestow upon you the honor of naming for you the school that will train tomorrow's leaders, inspiring them to the ideals your life, your career has embodied. The University of Michigan, already home to Gerald R. Ford Library, will add to its sterling reputation the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Preparing today's students to be tomorrow's policy shapers. I can't think of a better legacy for President Gerald R. Ford, and, on behalf of the people of Michigan, President Ford, we once again thank you for your public service, for your dedication to your home state, for your love of Michigan, the state and the university, and for the innumerable contributions which have marked your distinguished career. And we continue to wish you God speed and many more years of service to the people of this great nation that you love so much. Thank you.
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Policy-makers are always on call. [Laughter] You never know when -- could we recognize and applaud members of the Ford family? Of course, Mrs. Ford. Please, really grateful to have you here.
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We have Jack and Juliann Ford, who I believe, came in -- arrived some point here last night. Steven Ford is not attending. Susan and Vaden Bales, would you please stand up? We can welcome Mike Ford.
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And we also have President Ford's brother, Richard Addison Ford. Is he -- yeah.
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Dr. Henry Kissinger, Chairman of the international consulting firm, Kissinger Associates. Served as the nation's fifty-sixth Secretary of State, from 1973 to 1977. A National Security Advisor to Presidents Nixon and Ford, he played a major role in formulating U.S. foreign policy, including reestablishing relations with China.
He has received many honors, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Medal of Liberty. Dr. Kissinger is also a scholar, the author of a dozen books, and numerous articles on U.S. foreign policy, international affairs, and diplomatic history. He earned his Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral degrees from Harvard University, and taught there from 1954 to 1969. On behalf of the university community, we welcome you, Dr. Kissinger, and thank you very much for joining us on this occasion.
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>> Dr. Henry Kissinger: Thank you [inaudible].
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>> Dr. Henry Kissinger: President Bollinger. Governor Engler. Mr. President. I confess, I had a moment of panic there, when the President of the University and President Ford were consulting before my turn. [Laughter] I thought that perhaps the -- that President Ford had developed some second thought about our association. Now, for those of you who like to know about the inside story of how events like this unfold, those of us on the platform have been handed a schedule, and the schedule says that I should finish by 11:42 [laughter], exactly. First of all, that will enable all of you to say you were present at a historic occasion.
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The second, since my native language is German, I can easily go to 11:42 without placing a verb. [Laughter] It is a great privilege for me to come here, to pay tribute to one of the great human beings that I have been honored to know in my life. I treasure the years that I could serve as Secretary of State and National Security Advisor for a while under the leadership of President Ford. And it means an enormous amount, that so many of our associates of that period are here again, to pay tribute to our President. Washington is about power. And it is very rare; indeed, it is unheard of, that so many people who were associated in the Ford Administration, were friends then and have remained friends throughout the remainder of our lives. In Washington, competition among key persons is what keeps the newspapers going, and it is what public officials usually engage in. President Ford took over, had one of the most tragic periods of American history, at a time when the administration was demoralized. When, internationally, our adversaries were beginning to question whether we had the will or the ability to perform American's role as the defenders of freedom. Our allies did not know anymore where America was heading. There were crises in the Middle East. There was just beginning relationship with China. There was a still formidable Soviet Union. And President Ford took over at that period. The first non-elected President in our history. And because, I would say, of the goodness of his character, the integrity of his convictions, and the conciliatoriness of his nature, solved, helped overcome this crisis. And made it look as if no other cause were even possible. It -- I say this, moreover, as somebody who believed then and who believes now, that his predecessor, Richard Nixon, preformed outstanding services for the United States. And the crisis that President Ford inherited was the crisis of the nation and of our society. And it is no reflection on any other individual to say that President Ford saved this country from the worst crisis since the Civil War. And so I know I speak for all of my colleagues, who also happen to be my friends, to say that it means a great deal to us to be present at the opening of a school of public service that carries the name of Gerald Ford, whom history will treat even better than his contemporaries did. Who thought that his accomplishments were natural, and they thought that because we have never had a more self-effacing President, or a President who thought more of service and less of himself. Now, I'm supposed, and I will, make some remarks that may be relevant to the idea of public service. And I would like to stress one aspect, in which I perhaps have some competence, which is the perspective that is brought to public service by [inaudible]. As compared to the perspective of policy-makers. When you're on the outside, you can pick your subject. You can work on it for as long as you choose. You are responsible primarily to yourself. And you can afford to pick among the range of options made unavailable. Those that are most persuasive. Perhaps even the most elevated. And you have the great privilege of changing your mind and going back to the library [laughter] and say, "I'm going to write another book [laughter]."
And you'll even get some credit [laughter] for having adapted your views. As a policy maker you're always under pressure. You don't choose your subject. The subject presents itself. And anybody in high office will tell you the eerie feeling you have at the end of each day, when you have a list of telephone calls and a pile of documents and you have to decide which of them you're going to neglect. Whom you're going to add to the list of your enemies [laughter], which in my case was never short [laughter]. And which of the problems that's in these memoranda you're going to let go for a bit and hope that it doesn't flare up because -- before you can go to that pile again. The most difficult problem of a policy maker is to separate the urgent from the important. And the urgent always has a constituency. And the important maybe some years in the future. You don't have to deal with problems that are five years down the road because you may be out of office [laughter] when it becomes acute. So your priorities are always skewed. The policy maker is usually, I would say invariably as aware of the choices as the [inaudible]. Most policy makers are as intelligent as anchor men in the evening. Even though [laughter] you may not believe this. But there are some experiments that they cannot attempt. Not because they don't think the result would be great if the theory on which it were based were true. But because they cannot run the risk, there were many people during the cold war which of course most of the present undergraduate and graduate generation doesn't even remember, very well. There were many in the period of the cold war who used to think that some unilateral disarmament by the United States would morally impel the Soviet Union to follow suit. That argument had to be rejected. Not because a succession of American presidents didn't understand it. Not because they wouldn't have liked the outcome. But because they could not risk the policy of failure. So you have to understand what especially a president faces. And especially in the field I know best, which is foreign policy. Most American's think that foreigners are abstinent Americans. And that they react to events like American's would. But we are a uniquely blessed society. We have never had a powerful enemy until very recently. We have never had to conduct foreign policy with a sense of imminent catastrophe. We have had a history that is totally different and unique. And so when one looks at Russia, or China, or Europe, or anywhere in the world it is very hard for us to understand the cultural and historical context. When we deal with the Chinese we deal with a country that has had 5,000 years of interrupted history. They've had 14 dynasties whose individual history is longer than the entire history of the United States. And they think maybe wrongly that they manage to get through most of that period without advice from the United States [laughter]. So it is not self-evident that lectures from Washington are the best way to persuade Chinese leaders that it requires respect and understanding. In our system it is the president who has to bridge the gap between our national experience and our vision of the future. The president has in a sense to work alone and to bear the burden of the gap between what the society has experienced and what they will require. Public opinion polls are not help because the public does not forgive its leaders for disasters even if the disasters reflect what the public was believed to have wanted. In 1938 Nevel Chamberlin was the most popular man in England, after Munich, and two years later he was finished. Those of us who served under President Ford will never forget the way in which he handled this role. In 1976 President Ford was in a primary fight for the president nomination and I was going on to Africa to promote majority rule for Southern Africa and I had a draft of a speech which would break entirely new ground for the United States. Which had never unambiguously supported it. And I was going off and in those days domestic politics was not fond of our foreign policy discussion. But I -- as I left I said, "Some of your advisors are telling me that this was not going -- will not help you in Texas. Do you want me to delay this trip?" President Ford said, "We can't change our foreign policy every time we have a primary [laughter] or we're not going to have a foreign policy." Of course he won only one delegate in Texas [laughter]. But people have long since forgotten who won the primary in Texas. But people will not forget who was the American president who supported majority rule in, Southern Africa
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And if I may say a word about the end of the Vietnam War. The tragic last few months without discussing the passions that animated the debate. But in those last two months when the collapse was certain there was only one issue that we in the White House were concerned about, which was to rescue as many Vietnamese who had staked their lives on American promises. We had the intelligence reports. We knew what was happening better than anyone else. And there were 5,000 Americans left and President Ford made the heroic decision to withdraw them so gradually that everyday we could together with some Americans take out a lot of Vietnamese. And we managed to rescue 150,000 lives. And I have the record of the telephone conversation when the airport of Saigon was already under artillery fire, and I was calling the president and telling him we've got to pull the plug. This is it. And he was resisting not because he wanted to keep a war going, because there were 2,000 people at the airport and he was trying to see whether there was some way we could still get them out at the airport. And in the event the last helicopter left last about an hour before the North Vietnamese entered Saigon and sent a million people to concentration camps. I mention all of this because policy disputes come and go, but the purposes and the values that animate an administration persist forever. And it is a particular challenge for us at this moment in our society when we have so many different generations overlapping. There's the generation of the president and to the extent myself, who were brought up in believing in the beneficent views of American power and of American policy in this world because of our experiences in World War II and in the construction of the recovery of Europe and Japan. Then there's the Vietnam generation that is more doubtful about the American role. And then there's the new computer generation which knows perhaps, not too much about either of the previous roles. And which has broad knowledge but very little incentive for historical depth. So it is a privilege to be here at a school dedicated to the name of our president and our friend at a crucial period in American history, as we move from the Cold War to a world less dangerous but more complicated. And from the simple verities of the previous generation to the more complex understandings of how to distill [inaudible] from knowledge. And I want -- would like to thank the president, the president of the university to give me this opportunity and to conclude with a proverb that a Chinese or rather Singaporean friend told me about the nature of policy in our period. I frankly am not sure there as many Chinese proverbs as they lay upon us [laughter]. And he may have made it up as he went along [laughter]. But it goes like this, "When there is turmoil under the heavens, little problems are dealt with as if they were big problems. And big problems are not dealt with at all. When there is order under the heavens big problems are reduced to little problems, and little problems should not upset us." President Ford identified the big problems and reduce them to litter problems and what more can you say about a national leader. Thank you very much.
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>> Nancy Cantor: It is the great pleasure as Provost of this university to honor President Ford and to celebrate the growth and maturation of the Ford School of Public Policy. The Ford School is exlimplary of the best that a great public research university can offer, both to students and to the broader society. It is built on the premise that universities serve society and on the promise that scholarly methods and training can improve the quality of public policy at all levels from local to international. Public policy is intrinsically interdisciplinary. Depending on the problem at hand policy makers and policy analysts must draw on insights and methods from political science, economics, law, mathematics, engineering, sociology even psychology.
Only a large research university can bring together the best of minds and methods in all of these areas at sufficient scale to create superb training and research for the profession of public policy. Ford School faculty have appointments in most of the disciplines on this list and they work together to understand and to inform debate about the most pressing issues of our time. In coming together to create a curriculum of public policy -- actually two, one domestic and one international, they've created something more interesting and more enduring than mere collaboration across the disciplines. They and their student have created a place where professionals, students and academics, learn each other's languages. Learn to listen and to hear the different cadences. And then to translate from this medley to the arena of public policy, in which broad propositions must speak in unison to all citizens. The interdisciplinary potential of this great university is fully realized when we bring together diverse life experiences, and training, and create new knowledge, new ways of knowing. And ultimately new ways of doing. Public policy is an ideal area for this kind of intense collaboration and learning and Michigan is an ideal place. President Ford is an ideal model for the practice of public policy and public service. Again, from local to international. From his days representing Grand Rapids to his leadership on the world stage, he has always known how to listen to different voices in many languages. And then to find the corner of public policy that best speaks to our common fate. To pick just two examples, the approved the regulations that implemented Title IX, with their extraordinary consequences for women's participation in sports, and indeed in public life more generally. Consequences that we see and celebrate in Ann Arbor every day. He also negotiated the Helsinki Accords, a milestone in the relationship between the Soviet Union and the West. It is worth nothing the faculty and students at The Ford School are closely engaged in the study, of both social equality and international relations. President Ford has provided the school with far more than his name. And this university takes special pride in having cultivated the student Gerald R. Ford and thus perhaps launched the statesman President Ford. So too do we look to the roots of The Ford School with special affection. In the audience are two former directors of the institute of public policy studies. Edie Goldenberg and Paul Garant. As well as, the first dean of the school Meg Gramlet and John Chamberlain a past and current leader in the school. We miss deeply...
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...we miss deeply the late Jack Walker who was director of [inaudible] during the 1970s and who initiated the conversations with President Ford that led indeed to the naming these years later today. Jack loved this institution and he would be bursting with pride and joy in this moment. Although she has already accomplished an enormous amount, Rebecca Blank is actually only beginning her second year as dean of The Ford School. She has a compelling vision of the school, which speaks directly to the many voices and disciplines that come together to create good public policy. In addition to an astonishing level of energy her own experience makes her perfect to lead this collection of policy oriented interdisciplinary faculty, students and professionals. She has achieved international distinction as a scholar, as a policy analyst, and as a policy maker. Having served most recently as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisors. She has a PhD in economics from MIT, and has taught at both Princeton and Northwestern before going to Washington and then coming to Michigan. At Northwestern she lead a very strong group, an interdisciplinary group working on poverty policy and at Michigan she joins another such group, and is continuing to create an contribute to the areas of academic and policy related literature in economic distribution of income and in labor economics generally. I am proud and delighted to introduce to you Rebecca Blank, the Henry Carter Adams Collegiate Professor of Public Policy and Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
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>> Rebecca Blank: Thank you Provost Cantor. As dean of the newly named Ford School I'm absolutely delighted to part of this ceremony today. While we are Michigan's newest and smallest school, the public policy and public administration programs at Michigan date back to 1914 as President Bollinger mentioned. After 86 years of change and of growth the Ford School is poised at a unique moment of opportunity to grow as an academic program, and as a place, where first rate faculty address key issues of public importance. Through our students and our faculty and aided by the gifts of many donors we are building an increasingly well-known educational program in both the domestic and the international policy arenas. It is important that we enter this period of expansion with a name that reflects our mission. Today we celebrate being named in honor of a man whose lifelong commitment to public service represents what a policy school is all about. The name Ford School communicates to others that we are training students who will peruse careers focused on the common good. President Ford's 26 years in Congress and his years in the presidency provide an important lesson to our students. For instance, critical work is often conducted outside of the limelight. Careful study and analysis matters and there is no substitute for high standards of personal integrity. His work as president reconciling a divided country teaches us much about leadership and the value of working across partisan lines. With this name we have much to live up to. As the school grows we're working to more closely interact the world of the university with the world of policy. We are seeking new faculty whose careers demonstrate first-rate research as well as long-term interests in public interest issues. We're bringing policy makers to campus to teach and to write. We're developing a state and local policy center that helps to address critical issues facing the country. Sending student interns to Washington, Lansing and indeed around the world to work in ways that improve people's lives. And as part of this expansion we're beginning efforts to significant increase our endowment to a level where it can support this wide range of activity. I'm pleased to announce that we have received gifts totaling almost $7 million dollars from the following individuals, foundations and corporations. Mr. and Mrs. Martin J. Alan Jr. The Annenberg Foundation for the Walter H. Annenberg Professorship in Education Policy. Citi Group. Mr. and Mrs. Peter C. Cook. Mr. and Mrs. Richard M. DeVoss. The Honorable and Mrs. Gerald R. Ford. Mr. and Mrs. Jay Ira Harris for the Ira and Nicki Harris Professorship in Public Policy. Robert and Judith Hooker and Gil S. Oman, and Martha A. Darling.
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We are deeply grateful to these donors for giving us an excellent start on our $30 million endowment goal. These gifts will help us recruit outstanding faculty, provide support to students who come to the Ford School from all over the world, and develop new programs that will draw the academic world and the policy making world more closely together. Combined with other gifts from alumni and from friends, and with support from the State of Michigan, these gifts help make the school and important player in the policy-making world. But we have just begun this fun raising effort and I know there are many of you out there in the audience who also want to honor President Ford and are wondering why we haven't contacted you. I promise you, you can look forward to hearing from us [laughter]. In addition to recognizing our donors I also, want to acknowledge the important role that the alumni of the Ford School play, both in the school and in the policy-making world. We're pleased that many of our alumni remain involved with the school throughout their lives, serving as mentors, lecturers, counselors and financial supporters of the school.
And we are proud of their commitment to work on public issues and of the integrity with which they approach the work that they do. It is my pleasure to introduce a representative of our alumni body, Timmy Lewis. A member of the Ford School Class of 2000, who joins us today. Recently back from a summer in South Africa and about to begin a job in international trade in New York City. She is the kind of person who comes to the Ford School as a student. A graduate of Duke University, Timi worked in Washington before coming to Michigan for her policy degree. As a student here she exceled academically, served in leadership positions in campus organizations, taught a course and managed to complete two internships in a single summer. Representing our students and our alumni, I'm very pleased to welcome Timi Lewis.
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>> Omorotimi Lewis: Good morning all. I hope this day finds you well and thinking vigorously about public policy. What it means -- what it means for you personally and why we should care at all. These are some of the thoughts I will briefly share with you today. But before I get started I would first like to thank Dean Blank. For a number of reasons I wish to thank Dean Rebecca Blank and not just for that gracious introduction and the opportunity to represent my classmates past and present. Rather, this thank you is for Dean Blank's swift commitment to helping the School of Public Policy, now the Ford School, realize the next stages of it's potential. Many others and I appreciate the time she has taken to get to know us and to get to know our school. She has worked hard to raise a profile of the school, both externally and internally, and we are all much obliged. Thank you Dean Blank.
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Well, what can I say about public policy? It's such a nebulous term with vastly different meanings for different people including all of us associated with the Ford School. I suspect some think of it as an individual responsibility to do public service. To care about various communities, and do something to effect positive change in them. Others may think of public policy and associate the term with government's responsibility to attend to the needs of people. My definition tends to be more of a hybrid of these two modes of thinking. I believe that it is a collective responsibility of people and government to care and make a difference. And I suppose this has been the motivating factor for me in pursing this line of work over the years. But I did not come to this conclusion all on my own. I had help along the way from mentors, professors, extended family, my parents. These are people who not only took an interest in me, but also in their communities. They have made time to help others and to do their part for the collective good. So largely through example I have learned that you should care, what it means to care, and that it's okay to care. I look around at my classmates past and present and I see what public policy means to them. From the halls of Congress, to community organizations, to boardrooms of Corporate America and all points in between, I see people practicing public policy in their everyday lives. They take time to care and their commitment is expressed in a variety of ways. An evening set aside to tutor a child, work in community and religious groups, work abroad for international organizations and countries, or an investment of time and energy in deciding the next administration of our country. This is the beauty of public policy in my eyes. It is as diverse as the people who choose to engage in the process. We are here today to celebrate the historical naming of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. In doing so we have occasion to think about what public policy is and what people -- and the people who choose the engage in the process. President Ford as a member of Congress, as Vice-President, as President, understood and practiced the fine art of public policy making. He knew when to push hard, when to compromise, and when to stand on principle. Since leaving public office President Ford has continued to speak and write about the pressing policy concerns of our time. In this way he is a model for all of us at the Ford School as we begin our careers in public policy. Today's ceremonies also offer a chance to really think about public policy and what it means for us personally and again, why we should care. This is a turning point for the school, the Ford School. Many of the people that you will hear from today and scores more behind the scene, have invested much time and effort into this moment. But it's also students past and present who have brought us to this point in time. Their willingness to engage in the policies of our public, and their decision to care. In the classroom and out in the real world, students of the Ford School are demonstrating their commitment to making a positive contribution in a variety of settings and venues. Events of today should also give of pause to examine our own contributions, and if need be create or renew our commitment to making a difference in this world. However, small or unnoticed. What can you do that you're not doing? How can you return the favor? These are some of the questions that have crossed my mind as I prepared to return to the work force. As I am thankful for the experience I had at the Ford School where I've had a change to retool and renew myself for the work ahead. I just want to say again how excited I am to be a part of the naming ceremony, and how I'm very much looking forward to the movement of the Ford School into the future which I know will be very bright. Thank you for your time today.
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At this time I'd like to introduce another Rebecca. Regent Rebecca McGowan, a Regent of the University of Michigan. Regent Rebecca McGowan of Ann Arbor, a graduate of Lake Forrest College has served on the Board of Regents since 1992. Prior to moving to Ann Arbor in 1985, Regent McGowan worked for Senators Adele Stevenson and Frank Church, and as a senior staff member and Deputy National Campaign Director for the Vice-President Walter F. Mondale, during his run for presidency. Regent McGowan is a member of the past -- excuse me -- is a member and past chair of The Center for the Education of Women's Leadership Council. She also served on the board of directors of the university musical society. And I'm very pleased to introduce to you Regent Rebecca McGowan.
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>> Rebecca McGowan: Thank you Timi for that magnificent effort. President Ford, Mrs. Ford, friends of the Ford family and of the University of Michigan. It has been a joy for me as a Regent to have the opportunity to work closely with the Ford School and the people of the Ford school. From its early days as the Institute of Public Administration, the program has prepared its students for a public life. In eight years alone the school has grown from the Institute of Public Policy Studies, to the School of Public Policy, to the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. This growth has been driven by a rigorous academic program, an excellent faculty drawn from across this university and a highly diverse student body marked by its intelligence, energy and concern for the public good. Together they speak brilliantly to the character and the purpose of the University of Michigan. The school is again entering, a pivotal period of growth adding new academic programs, recruiting distinguished new faculty members and greatly expanding the reach and breadth of its research. As it becomes increasingly active and respected in policymaking and in the policy making world, the school reinvigorates this great public universities commitment to linking scholarship and public service. I am pleased to have the honor of introducing the Universities most prominent graduate. His accomplishments are manifold. 13 terms as a member of Congress representing the people of the Grand Rapids area. Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. Vice-President of the United States. President of the United States. Signer of the Helsinki Awards and of Title IX. Throughout his long and vibrant public life President Ford has brought honor and excellence to the title public servant. It is an honor for the University of Michigan to entrust this noble school to his name. It is my great privilege to welcome a member of the Class of 1935 and the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford.
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>> President Gerald R. Ford: [Applause] Thank you. Thank you. Won't you all sit down please. Thank you very, very much. Thank you. Thank you.
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[Applause] Please sit down, won't you, please. Governor Engler, Secretary Kissinger, President Bollinger, students, faculty, friends of the university, it's a very high honor and a very great privilege for me to be here on this wonderful occasion in my life and an important part of this great university. I thank you very much, Regent McGowan, for that much too generous and far too kind introduction. No higher honor can come to a man than to have a school bear his name. That is especially true when the school is devoted to public service. I am profoundly grateful to you, President Bollinger, and to the Board of Regents for this recognition. I'm excited about Dean Blank's imaginative plans for the future, and I'm thrilled to see new partnerships taking place between the university and the Ford Library and Museum. Since leaving the White House I've had the great, great privilege of appearing, lecturing, teaching at over 200 American colleges and universities. I can't imagine a better place to hang around [laughter]. From this grassroots exposure to students at big schools, small schools, public schools, private schools, and four black colleges I learned firsthand the high quality of this current generation of young people. I'm totally convinced when the reigns of government are turned over to them for them to manage and dictate our future at the local, state or national level, our nation will be very, very well served. I congratulate them as a generation. Returning to this I say historic place which has meant so much to me for so, so long is an experience difficult to describe. Please don't worry. Betty made me promise I wouldn't come here to escort you down memory lane [laughter]. But I can hardly come to Ann Arbor without acknowledging all that I owe to this great, great university. As much as I learned in the classroom, I learned even more on the outside. Including on the gridiron. Hopefully I'm learning still. Believe it or not at the age of 87 I'm taking my first steps into the internet [laughter]. Until recently I couldn't describe or -- couldn't distinguish I should say, a gigabyte from a happy meal [laughter]. And I thought -- and I thought surfing was something you did with a board in our oceans. Now next the professors. I've found that my grandchildren are the best instructors around [laughter] and I thank them for their help with granddad [laughter]. Henry, in listening to your remarks I was reminded of the scene in ^ITTom Sawyer^normal in which Tom runs away, and then creeps back into town to attend his own funeral. Now I know how Tom felt [laughter]. I almost had to pinch myself to make sure that I was alive and here [laughter]. Seriously Henry, let me thank you. Not for what you just said today, but what you have done for me over the years in some very difficult and controversial times. But what you have done for our country over the last many decades. You are a true architect of peace and history. Not to mention future generations. And all of us especially Betty and me, will be forever grateful for our long and wonderful friendship. And may I add a footnote; during my recent little problem in Philadelphia Henry called every day and was concerned about what was happening at the hospital and for that very important assurance from you I thank you again.
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It's customary for speakers to tell an audience how pleased they are to be where they are. Believe me in my case it's no new mere formality. For with all due respects to W.C. Fields on the whole, I'd rather be anywhere than Philadelphia [laughter] under recent circumstances. The hospital and the staff were terrific and for that I am deeply grateful. You may recall some confusion surrounding my recent hospitalization there. That little disturbance aside, my week in Philadelphia was a nostalgic one. You see it was exactly 60 years ago that I attended my first Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. The year was 1940 and I was in the gallery along with several thousand other Republican Young Turks enthusiastically shouting, "We want Willkie [laughter]." Well, in this era of spin-doctors, focus groups, and media advisors, I'm not sure we could get Willkie as our presidential candidate. If smoke filled rooms are a thing of the past so it appears is spontaneity. Still -- and I say this most sincerely, I'm an optimist about our future -- about our political processes in the future. There is something that I earned -- or learned at an early age. Something that I would hardly recommend to anyone who contemplates a life in public service or politics. I learned that most people are mostly good, most of the time. I learned that an advisory is not the same thing as an enemy. I learned to fight hard for whatever my views might be, without even questioning the motives or patriotism of those who believed otherwise. Wherever I go these days I sense a longing for community and a desire on the part of citizens of all ages to be an integral part of something bigger and nobler than themselves. This attitude is especially strong among our younger generation. History tells us that if it is only a matter of time before this generation is being -- or will be tested. Just as mine was tested by a tragic economic depression, and a foreign tyranny, and a hateful regime of Jim Crow. Outwardly I say to this new generation your America may not look the same as mine. New technologies, new industries, new forms of communication, new medical breakthroughs, promise to expand the frontiers of life in our years ahead. But amidst so much that is new, I hope this new generation will never lose the old faith in America, whose greatest weapons are moral not military. It is this fact that enabled us I firmly believe to defeat Nazi tyranny, outlast the evil empire, past civil rights laws, tearing down age old barriers to human potential, and begin however belatedly to recognize and reward women for their tremendous contributions to our society.
The bigger issue, the greater need for your active involvement is when truth is entered into politics as an advocate of America's global obligations half a century ago. It is just as true for today's young people who will be called upon to reform entitlement programs and make Washington something more than a gigantic sound byte factory. For years we were told that Social Security was the third rail of American politics. Well, one candidate in the current campaign is openly advocating a measure of privatization while the other candidate recognizes the need for reform and hopes that can be put off not too far in the distant future. Such a dialog at the highest campaign level can be a critical performance and a big, big constructive change for our debates whenever they are held. Likewise, with the issue of prescription drugs, given the graying of America. Healthcare has become a budgetary and human priority. Both candidates profess dissatisfaction with the status quo. One candidate would rely upon the expansion of the federal government to provide universal coverage while, his opponent would enlist the states and the private sector to do the same job. Fair minded people can and will disagree over which course is the better one to follow. That's what campaigns are all about. We can take heart in my judgment that real issues affecting real people have gained a center stage in the year 2000. It may be an accident of timing, or it may be the unavoidable response to demographic and cultural changes, beyond the control of any politician. But whatever the cause, debates in a generation we are being treated, I think, this year to more substantive issues than at any previous time. Now this is not withstanding the attempts of some to dwell on Al Gore's kissing habits or George Bush's frankness at an open mic [laughter]. I happen to think both are irrelevant. And I think it's about time that we treat them that way. The world has turned over...
[ Applause ]
...the world has turned over many times since the September 1931 class ventured out into what commencement speakers then and now euphemistically called "the real world". Elsewhere that year, 1931, Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardosa said -- and I give you his words -- he spoke of what he called three great mysteries in the lives of mortal being. The mystery of birth at the beginning. The mystery of death at the end. And greater than either, the mystery of love. Everything that is most precious in life is one way or another a form of love. Art form is a form of love if it be noble. Labor is a form of love if it be worthy. Thought is a form of love if it be inspired. Theirs is no mystery however regarding the commitment of today's students in this school and others like it to be a part of something bigger than themselves. My fondest hope is that you students never lose that love, that you realize politics is an art as well as a science. That all your labor and all your thoughts advance us toward the day, when no one drags a chain and no one wields a sword. For then you will have given back to this university which has given so much to you and so many before you. May God bless all who teach and study within this wall and may we God bless America. Thank you very much.
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>> President Lee Bollinger: Thank you. That concludes the ceremony today. Thank you all for sitting through this wonderful event in this warm auditorium. If you think this is hot you should have been here two weeks ago for student convocation as the new students came. Mrs. Ford, members of the Ford family, Governor Engler, Dr. Kissinger, cabinet members, and the audience. Members the Ford Library, For Museum, Ford Foundation, all the connections that we have. Mr. President, thank you for this act of friendship. That concludes the ceremony.
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[ Inaudible Conversations ]