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President Gerald R. Ford: Weill Hall Groundbreaking

November 12, 2004 0:49:56
Kaltura Video

These are excerpts from President Ford's comments made during the groundbreaking ceremony for Joan and Sanford Weill Hall. November, 2004.


[ Applause ]
>> Good morning. I want to welcome our regents, faculty, students, staff and alumni who are joining us for this groundbreaking of this wonderful new building.
I want to extend my own welcome to President Ford, Mrs. Ford and their children: Mike, Jack and Steve Ford and Susan Ford Bales.
We're delighted that all of you could join us today.
I also want to recognize the regents who are here with us today: Regents Rebecca McGowan our Chair, Andrea Fischer Newman, Vice Chair, Olivia Maynard, Andrew Richner and Katherine White.
I want also especially to thank Sanford and Joan Weill who have provided the generous gift that is allowing us to move forward with this new building for the Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy.
[ Applause ]
They are longtime admirers and friends of President and Mrs. Ford, and this building will be a wonderful tribute to the Fords' service to our country.
As we announced last year, this new building will be known as the Joan and Sanford Weill Hall. Let us take a moment to thank them again. It is just remarkable.
[ Applause ]
I also want to thank the many other supporters who will and have made this building possible. What an honor it is to have President Ford back on campus.
He has a 73 year relationship with the university, which represents almost half of the entire history of our institution. His legacy endows us with both tangible and intangible resources.
As an alumnus he's provided our university with considerable distinction through his own illustrious career.
More recently we've recognized him with the school of public policy that bears his name, and we enjoy the privilege of having his presidential library on the north campus.
I am very proud of the Michigan traditions that he has taken into public life. President Ford is a great example of the ideals of our university and of our Ford school.
He has simulated the theory and history of public policy and economics and translated his education into the reality of public life.
The example of President Ford, the excellence of our faculty, the generosity of our supporters has allowed public policy to flourish at this great public university, and surely the best place to study public policy is at a public university.
President Ford is a splendid example of the way a public university can nourish the ambitions of a hard-working student.
Last year I reminded us all that tuition was about $100 a year when he was a student here in the 1930s. That was a huge sum during the Depression, and I know that President Ford remembers how hard it was to scrape together those $100.
It reminds us that we need to make sure that every talented student can find a way to acquire a great education we offer at the University of Michigan.
Last year President Ford told us that the great education he received at Michigan allowed him to take his place as a leader of our country. Our nation is so very fortunate that he persevered and became one of our most illustrious graduates.
President Ford, we have so many reasons to be grateful to you, and I am delighted to welcome you and your family to the groundbreaking of Weill Hall, which will provide an ongoing legacy for your dedicated and inspirational contributions to the history of our country. Thank you.
[ Applause ]
Now I want to introduce Regent Rebecca McGowan. Regent McGowan.
[ Applause ]
>> Good morning. President Ford, Mrs. Ford, Mike, Jack, Steve, Susan, Mr. and Mrs. Weill, friends of the Ford family and of the University of Michigan, as President Coleman noted, 73 years ago this university began its storied relationship with the man who would become the 38th president of the United States. He is our most prominent graduate.
We have been, starting with his days on our gridiron, his devoted fans. He has continually contributed to the University of Michigan, bringing his presidential papers to live on our campus, bringing his family to share in our celebrations surrounding his career and values and accepting our invitation to have the School of Public Policy, that school that links scholarship and public service named for him. But for some while the Ford school has needed a space commensurate with its mission and the distinction of its namesake.
It was the university's great, good fortune when Joan and Sandy Weill stepped -- at a very important time -- stepped forward with a leadership gift, and many of you here today join them with your own generous gifts honoring President Ford and this school.
One of America's foremost architects, Robert Stern, brought the power of the Ford legacy and the potential of our Ford school together in a magnificent design, and soon we will have the building worthy of his -- of his design and worthy of President Ford and our program.
Weill Hall, housing the Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy, will rise at the corner of Hill and State streets, a gateway corner well traveled by students on route to class and to virtually every athletic competition that we host, and usually win, at Michigan.
The members of the board of regents together with the membership of this entire university community thank each of you for your display of -- excuse me -- of respect, affection and support for President Ford and for the school that will honor him and the traditions of excellence at the University of Michigan.
It is now my pleasure to introduce the dean of the Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy, Rebecca Blank.
[ Applause ]
>> Good morning. On behalf of the staff, faculty and students of the Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy, let me extend our warmest welcome to President and Mrs. Ford, to their children Susan, Steve, Jack and Mike. It's really special to have all of you here at this occasion. To Joan and Sanford Weill and to all of our distinguished guests including faculty, staff, students, alumni and many friends of the Ford school.
Many of you are also donors to this project, and for that I thank you as well.
I particularly want to thank and introduce Robert A M Stern who is sitting over here. Mr. Stern, as Becky noted, is an internationally known architect and the head of Robert A M Stern Associates, the architects of our beautiful new building.
There it is: a picture worth a thousand smiles. It's difficult to describe all the ways in which this magnificent new facility is going to benefit our school, but I'm more than willing to try this morning.
We are actually celebrating our 90th year here at the University of Michigan as a program dedicated to training public leaders for the future. With this building, which so many of you have supported, you have given us the promise of our first true home.
For nine decades space has actually been our final frontier as we've moved through the university in search of a place to call our own. I think I can best illustrate the magnitude of this gift by offering a very abridged history of our school.
In the decade from 1910 to 1919, the University of Michigan was still very much a work in progress. East University Street, now one of the busiest parts of campus, looked a little like this.
Degree granting divisions at the university were just beginning to be designated as schools or colleges, and letter grades were just introduced: A, B, C, D and the dreaded E, which thanks to grade inflation is now known as the dreaded F.
It's reported that the first and last time in recorded history students actually responded favorably to the idea of getting grades.
Of course, the most significant event in Michigan in that decade occurred in 1914 when the Institute of Public Administration was established, as the university created a curriculum in municipal government leading to a Master's in Public Administration, the first program of its kind at a state university.
Jesse S. Reeves, Chairman of the Political Science Department, was a key founder of this new institute.
Unfortunately, due to somewhat unforeseen international events the program got off to a slow start, and in one of the early years, every man who had actually registered for the program went to war instead.
In the 1920s Robert Frost came to campus, spent several years here as a fellow in residence, construction of the Law Quad began and under the heading "the more things change, the more they stay the same," university administrators were evidently increasingly vexed at what to do by the growing number of students who arrived with automobiles.
Now, of course, not all students relied on autos. Here you can see that even back in those days some students preferred high-speed and wireless communication.
At the institute, Thomas H Reed, a graduate of Harvard, a former city manager of San Jose and a professor at the University of California Berkeley became the new director. Thus starting a tradition of institute faculty with real-world experience in government. The institute's first recorded home was in room 21 of the general library, a building that no longer exists.
In the 1930s the Rackham Building was completed. Student Arthur Miller won two Hopwood writing awards and giving early evidence of the leadership skills that he would exhibit throughout his life, a young man from Grand Rapids was voted the most valuable player on the 1934 football team.
The Depression of the 1930s tightened budgets, and for two years the municipal program of the institute was discontinued, but in the latter half of the decade the program was revitalized and was expanded to include the larger field of public administration at all government levels with a greater emphasis on interdepartmental coursework, which remains one of our greatest strengths today.
This new larger entity was known as the Institute for Public and Social Administration, or IPSA, and was now located in the law building.
Even more than the Depression, however, World War II came along and transformed the campus.
According to one history of the university, in 1943 there were more than 4,000 men in uniform and in training on campus. 223 members of the faculty took leave for government service while many others remained on campus to conduct war related research.
After the war, in response to the growing need for trained public servants and increased enrollment, IPSA was divided and the Institute for Public Administration became a distinct entity within the university, now located in Haven Hall.
For many people this picture characterizes the 70s -- the 50s. I'm sorry, the 50s. The 50s.
We're going to get to the 70s.
Traditional, well mannered and quite slow.
That is, of course, an unfair and an inaccurate characterization. There were many changes taking place and many more in the offing.
In fact, if you look at this picture very closely, there's a student back there in the back who's thinking about rock 'n roll and trying to snap his fingers.
There was nothing dull about this decade for the institute, however.
In 1950 Haven Hall burned down taking with it the institute's library. For the next several decades, the institute would be centered in the Rackham Building, moving from floor to floor in response to changing space constraints and availability.
In 1952 the federal government contracted with the institute to set up a similar program at the University of the Philippines.
The project ran for four years with Michigan professors teaching in Manila and Filipino graduate students coming here for training.
It was and is considered a model program of its kind, and it's been emulated by many other policy schools since then.
Many of you will actually remember the 60s. It was a time of great promise and great protest. This campus certainly saw both, but we at the institute fondly remember one occasion of great promise.
Here you see President Kennedy's speech on the steps of the Union in which he first proposed the Peace Corps, and over the years many of our very best students have served as Peace Corps volunteers before coming back to our school.
In 1964 the institute marked its 50th year, and the governor of Michigan designated a week in May as education for public service week in recognition of that anniversary.
In 1968 the institute expanded and was now renamed the Institute of Public Policy Studies, or IPPS, and I know I have a number of alums from IPPS sitting in the audience.
Courses in economic analysis, political science and quantitative methods were added.
The nation spent the early part of the 70s split over Vietnam and then over Watergate. 
The nation's healing was aided immeasurably by the integrity and the courage of our namesake President Ford.
The 70s were a time of excitement and a time of exile for the institute. An exceptional group of scholars and teachers joined our faculty. Thankfully, many of them are still part of the staff.
The first of their many accomplishments was to develop a core curriculum that would carry us into the 1990s. They accomplished this despite the beginning of our rental space era.
The institute left the Rackham Building and was distributed into rented office space on or near the campus.
At one point part of the institute resided in space above what is now Harry's Surplus store.
Another part occupied the floor above Einstein Bagels, which back then housed nothing quite so savory.
The institute was able to bring its main administrative offices back on campus in 1985, moving into a portion of the newly renovated Larch Hall.
It will come as no surprise to you to learn that we believe the 1990s in Michigan will be remembered for two key events, the creation of a new school and the renaming of that school.
In 1995 the Institute of Public Policy was renamed the School of Public Policy and granted independent status within the university.
In 1999 this new school was officially renamed the Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy.
In the years since then, we have acted to make our school worthy of its new name. We have doubled the size of our faculty, increased our expertise in many areas including economic policy, international policy, public and nonprofit management and domestic social policy.
We have new degree programs, new research centers and new ways to interact with the world of public policy including the Citigroup lecture, which brought Richard Holbrooke to campus here several years ago.
Despite these transformational changes, space however, still remains our final frontier. We currently have outposts across the university with offices in a house on the north side of the campus, to the Huron Street Annex, a 1970s apartment building south of campus, the Oakland Annex and that's the way it usually looks, and on the fourth floor of Larch Hall. Where we're still located, if you can find us, if you find the right signs.
Now, in addition to the aerobic fitness that is gained by claiming three flights of stairs every day -- our students know this well --^M00:17:54 our location on the fourth floor of Larch does have advantages. The often nonfunctioning heating and cooling system in the building builds a strong constitution among our students and our faculty.
Our leaky roof allows us to regularly enjoy spring showers without ever bothering to go outside.
Here, for instance, is a barely retouched photo of our students fording a corridor to get to class in room 473 of Larch Hall during a storm last spring.
We can afford to joke about these inconveniences because we know that soon we're going to be united in one wonderful building providing us with classroom space, public space for events, office space and, yes, even space for a faculty and student lounge.
In this new facility we will have the technology to bring the world to the Ford school and the Ford school to the world.
In Joan and Sanford Weill Hall we will have a facility whose quality reflects the stature of our namesake President Ford and the standing of our school.
Truly thankful to President Ford who in a life of exemplary public service was able to combine conviction with graciousness and accomplishment with humility, to Joan and Sanford Weill whose gift was an extraordinary example of friendship, generosity and faith in public education, to all the other donors who gave so generously to help us build this new home, to Robert Stern and to his architects as well as the architects and construction managers here at the University who have helped design this building and who will be overseeing the structure over the next two years, and finally and certainly last and not least, to our faculty, to our alumni for their commitment to the highest standards of scholarship and to their commitment to the ideals of public service.
Throughout our history they have given us a foundation every bit as strong as the one that we symbolically lay today; and one more word of thanks. Thank you all for coming today to share in our celebration. I hope that all of you will watch the new building rise at the corner of State and Hill streets over the next two years and you will all be back on campus in the fall of 2006 to celebrate the opening of Weill Hall.
[ Applause ]
We are very pleased and proud to have with us today that person who was voted the most valuable player on Michigan's 1934 football team. As you know, success in athletics was just the beginning for Gerald Ford. He went on to graduate from Yale Law School despite having to devote considerable time to his duties as assistant football coach. Among the athletes he coached at Yale were future Senators Robert Taft Junior and William Proxmire.
I would have loved to have been part of the strategy sessions on that team.
From his hometown of Grand Rapids, President Ford ran successfully for the United States House of Representatives in 1948. Respected on both sides of the aisle, he rose to minority leader in 1965, serving in that post until he was chosen to be vice president in 1973.
In 1974, with the resignation of Richard Nixon, he became the 38th president of the United States.
For his service during those turbulent times he has received the nation's highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, as well as a John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award.
In October 1999 he and his wife Betty were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for, quote, dedicated public service and outstanding humanitarian contributions, unquote.
You can understand why we are so proud to have his name associated with our school. Ladies and gentlemen please join me in welcoming President Gerald Ford.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you. Thank you very much, Becky. Won't you all sit down, please?
^M00:22:05 I've learned a lot listening to Becky's description of the history of the Ford School. Let me add a little tinge to the history of the school.
When I came here 70 some years ago, there was a lot on the corner of Hill and State Street, and because of my place in the school I had to walk past that lot twice a day, ^M00:22:50 and I often wondered why was that so vacant.
Well, I did a little history, and the history showed that the lot had been used in many different ways.
It had been a fraternity location. It had been a school facility, and here it was going to become the Ford school and the beautiful Weill Building.
Let me just indicate very meaningfully how grateful Betty and I are to Sandy and Joan for their friendship and their generosity. I thank both of you from the bottom of our hearts.
[ Applause ]
When I came to the university in 1931, I brought a $100 check from the principal of my high school who wanted to be darn sure that I went to Ann Arbor.
It was a great experience for me to be here four years. I have always been proud, very, very proud of my association with the university.
When people ask me where I went to college I say, Go Blue!
[ Applause ]
They've got a great team. They've got a great coaching staff. They have a tremendous tradition of excellence academically as well as athletically.
I am very, very proud. You have no idea what a thrill it is to be in the playing field of that big house when 112,000 people are assembled on every home game Saturday.
So President Coleman, we thank you for your leadership. Becky, we are deeply grateful for your responsibilities as the head of the Ford School.
Betty and I hope to be around two years from now when we're going to dedicate the new building, and we thank Sandy and Joan again for their generosity, but most importantly we thank you, Sandy and Joan, for our long-standing friendship. We're proud of it. 
You're not only a great leader in the industrial world, but you're an outstanding example of generosity in the field of education.
So thank you again from the bottom of our heart.
[ Applause ]
I never would've thought when I plunked that $100 down 72 or 73 years ago that I would end up in a ceremony of this kind, ^M00:26:54 but strange things happen, and that's one of them.
Thank you very, very much.
[ Applause ]
>> It is entirely fitting -- I have to get this microphone around here. There we go.
It is entirely fitting that Joan and Sanford Weill should have their names on the home of the school dedicated to public service and named for President Ford.
Lifetime friends of the president, Joan and Sandy individually and together have made public service a very important part of their lives. Through their support of programs in the arts, medicine and education they've consistently contributed to the communities of which they're a part.
In her role as chairman of the board of Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation, Joan Weill has been a key organizer of the effort to raise funds for the construction for an extended and expanded dance facility in New York City, and I understand they're moving into that new facility today.
Joan is an advocate for women and the elderly. She's served on the board of the directors of Women in Need, an organization dedicated to helping homeless woman and their children; and on the board of City Meals on Wheels.
Joan joins Sandy in working on behalf of the Weill Cornell Medical College as well as Carnegie Hall.
Sandy Weill, of course, is best known for his long business career, particularly his past role as CEO and current role as chairman of Citigroup, but he's always combined his business interests with real interests in public service.
For instance, in 1980 he initiated a joint program with the New York City Board of Education that created the Academy of Finance, which trains high school students for careers in financial services.
I was chatting with him about this yesterday, and it's clear he's still very, very involved in this program, and its training hundreds of students around the country.
A graduate of Cornell, Sandy is a trustee emeritus of that university and currently serves as chair of the board of overseers for the Joan and Sanford Weill Medical College and Graduate School of Medical Sciences.
He's also a member of the advisory council of Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management.
I want to publicly thank Joan and Sandy for their role in helping to fund a new building for the Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy.
Please join me in thanking and in welcoming the Weills to Ann Arbor.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
>> Thank you.
>> Thank you.
This is a very emotional day for me, and I might -- can you all hear me?
>> Yeah.
>> Okay.
You know, President Ford was talking about our friendship, and I can't tell you how much your friendship has added onto our lives. However, we had a very rocky start because 1980 Sandy called me one day and he said, guess what, President Ford and Mrs. Ford have just moved into their new house in Beaver Creek, and they've invited us for the weekend.
So what do I do? I call my mother. I said, Mother, what do I do? I'm going to the President's house for a weekend. 
She said, make your bed.
True. Absolutely true.
So we got there, and Mrs. Ford and President Ford greeted us so graciously and made us feel at home, and I went into our room to blow out my hair for dinner, not knowing that you need a special hairdryer for that altitude and managed to blow all the fuses in the whole house.
So I figure we're off to an auspicious beginning. You remember that, Betty?
What happened? What happened, the Secret Service were all over it, and it was just me.
From then on, you know, I couldn't go down hill anymore than that, but President Ford, to his credit, said to me, Joan, I know you like to swim. How about coming for a swim with me in my swimming lane, which started me on a whole new practice of swimming now too thanks to you.
Cost Sandy a little bit because he had to build me a swimming lane like yours, but it was great.
The best part though -- really the best part was when we went out for the evening and we came home and President Ford took off his shoes, invited us into the living room. Betty went into the freezer, got out the butter pecan ice cream, and we all sat around and talked about how we all started, how important it was to work together.
So all I can say is thank you for your gift of friendship. I can't tell you what it's meant to us, and helping to make this building is just a very small way that we can say thank you for everything, everything you've done for us. Thank you very much.
[ Applause ]
>> Now you can see the secret to my success, whatever it is.
I would just like to echo what Joanie has said. That it's been really special for us to have developed a relationship with Betty and President Ford over the last 25 years and to have his support and common sense and help in our company over that period of time.
I asked President Ford to join the board of our company in 1980 after he decided not to run anymore in politics against President Reagan or anybody, and he didn't know me at all.
So he called up Alan Greenspan and said, what do you know about this person?
Greenspan said to the President, I think you should go ahead with this. 
It's been really a fantastic relationship.
We created term limits on our board and age limits on our board that I think at that point in time every director had to retire at age 75 unless you had been President of the United States.
[Laughter and applause]
That has worked really till this day. In this wonderful world of corporate governance it still sort of works.
The President really either comes in person or is on the phone to every one of our board meetings. He is always there with a common sense approach of cutting to the chase and thinking about what really are the important issues and you've made a great difference in our company but I think most importantly to the lives of Joanie and I, and for us really to have witnessed what Betty has done in making the world aware of the problems of substance abuse and how difficult and challenging that really is, and you know, most of us in this world are deniers.
Yet, most of us in the world, one way or another, has this terrible thing hit us, and watched the courage of Betty over the years and watched the start of the Betty Ford Center.
Then a little over a year ago have the opportunity to go back out to Palm Springs for the 20th anniversary of this center which is doing so much to create an awareness of what really is a disease, like other diseases, and coming up with ways to make it better is really something that we are so proud that you do what you do, and you've made a real difference also.
You know, for Joanie and I -- and we've traveled around the world with you all and to many places in the United States -- to have a chance to be part of the creation of a legacy of people that we think are one of the greatest couples that we ever met, or the greatest couple, supportive of each other through all kinds of things.
I mean, I remember when the President made that great sacrifice of giving up martinis.
At that time it was.
You know, we are really thrilled that there will be this legacy in this wonderful university that is your alma mater and that this school will train people that will be really the people that will help lead this world of ours over the next generations to be a better place by finding and following the example that you have created, and I am so thrilled that it was finally recognized, many years later, that your pardon of Nixon was something that really was very important to healing the country, and God bless that you did that because I think the country became a better place.
God bless the both of you, and thank you both for being our friends, and we're thrilled to be here. Thank you.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you Sandy and Joan. Your gift is making an extraordinary difference to our university and will result in even greater distinction to our Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy.
Yours is a most generous tribute to a great leader.
Good morning to all of you. I am Andrea Fischer Newman, a member of the class of 1980 and a regent of the university. I'm delighted to be with you today, not only because groundbreakings are always causes for celebration, but also because today we honor one of our most distinguished alumni, President Gerald Ford.
At a critical time in our nation's history President Ford demonstrated the vital importance of working in a nonpartisan manner for the betterment of all and the ability to do so without abandoning the principles and ideals to which he dedicated his life of public service.
As exemplified by his legacy, our Ford School is also dedicated to nonpartisan intelligent exploration of public policy.
Because of this sustaining principle: the better policy derives from respectful discussion and analysis, the Ford School has had a significant and beneficial impact on policy formation and political discourse throughout its 90 years of existence.
As a regent I have been especially enthusiastic about this project and am delighted to be here to see this long anticipated groundbreaking.
Of the many missions that great public institutions of higher learning fulfill, perhaps none is more essential than educating our future leaders and citizens to -- I lost my place -- ^M00:38:57 to deal with the public policy issues that they will confront in their lifetimes.
I should have left my glasses on.
Through the Ford School, the University of Michigan is fulfilling that mission in an exemplary manner.
As an addition to one of our distinctive and outstanding schools at the university, this new building will allow the Ford School to continue its record of great accomplishments and fulfill its future promise.
Sandy and Joan, thank you again for your extraordinary generosity. President Ford, thank you for your extraordinary service to our country and for all that you have done for our university. We are so fortunate that you chose to come here and that you carried the ideals of Michigan into your public life.
[ Applause ]
>> Good morning. I'm Paul Courant, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, but my true home is as a member of the faculty in public policy and economics, and in that capacity, sometime ago, I've served two terms as director of the Institute of Public Policy Studies, the forerunner to the Ford School.
It is terrific to be gathered today with this group to celebrate breaking ground for Weill Hall, which will be the home for the Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy.
When I joined the faculty at Michigan over 30 years ago, the school was known, as Becky pointed out, as the Institute of Public Policy Studies, and those of us who were part of it, students, faculty and staff, called ourselves IPPSters.
There were two qualities that defined IPPSters and the program then and continue to be its hallmark today, even with a more dignified name: excellence and community.
The program, under its many names over the decades, has always attracted extraordinarily intelligent people who want to use their talents to make the world a better place.
The faculty and students work hard together, and through that work have created bonds of friendship that have endured.
I'm delighted to see so many former students here today, alumni whose daily work contributes to the well-being of all of us and President Ford, this school and its graduates will be an enduring testament to your mercy of integrity and achievement in the public service.
I can think of no better role model for our work than you, sir.
In the many years that I've been part of this program, I've seen it grow tremendously.
It began with idea that we could apply powerful analytical tools from the social sciences to public issues.
Today the curriculum has grown to encompass international coursework and experience, close connections with community organizations that shape and implement public policies and a rigorous ethics in management component that gives our graduates a firm foundation for their work in public affairs.
Its graduates span the globe from here in Ann Arbor city government to Maputo, Mozambique, to Ahmedabad, India. In Lansing, Sacramento, Albany, Madison, Austin. At the White House and the Congress, senior positions in Japanese ministries, the World Bank and the United Nations.
It's wonderful to see the school's alumni working effectively with intelligence and compassion throughout the world.
This is truly remarkable growth in just three decades. I recall my first office in the program, which was tucked away in rental space on the second floor of 309 South State Street above a store that sold incense and other essentials of life from the 1970s.
Since then we have built an extraordinary faculty. Together my colleagues have created a curriculum and programs of research and outreach that express their commitment to public policy and public service that is reasoned and caring and that can be summarized in a one-page policy memo.
Two years ago Oscar Arias, the former president of Costa Rica and Noble Peace Prize Laureate, visited the Ford School. A small group of faculty had the honor of having lunch with him and talking about global affairs.
To me that day symbolized the magnificent growth of the school from a small program tucked away in rented space to a place where world leaders come for conversation about pressing issues.
As a faculty member, I'm proud to be part of the Ford School and to have our school bear the name of one of the great public servants of our time.
As provost, I'm glad to have one of the leading public policy programs in the nation here at our university.
As a citizen, I am grateful for the work the school's faculty and alumni do to bring about better policymaking and better government.
It's especially gratifying to be here today to witness the next step in the school's development, its own home in Weill Hall, a place that will be fitting to our accomplishments and our aspirations, and I've got to say on behalf of the faculty here how sweet it feels.
The moment, thanks to the generosity of so many of you, has finally arrived.
Now, those of you who've spent time in Michigan know that the weather in November can be anything that it wants to be. Today turns out to be a nice day, but you know what, we were pretty smart. We didn't count on today being a nice day, and so to have the groundbreaking for Weill Hall be safe we decided that we would have it inside.
Lest this gesture seem only symbolic, however, I promise you that the dirt that we will turn in a few moments will be returned, somewhat less ceremoniously perhaps, and shoveled onto the building site at State and Hill, which will be the new South Gateway of the University of Michigan.
So we are now ready to take shovels in hand. I'd like to invite President and Mrs. Ford and Joan and Sandy Weill to please come forward and claim their shovels.
Also, the members of the board of regents who are here, Chair Rebecca McGowan, Vice Chair Andrea Fischer Newman, regents Olivia Maynard, Catherine White, Andrew Richner and of course President Coleman, Dean Blank, the architect Robert Stern, the Ford School Alumni Board Chair Andy Moxam. Would you please all come forward and participate in this ceremonial groundbreaking for Weill Hall, a permanent home for the Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy. Thank you.
[ Applause ]
[ Groundbreaking ]
[ Applause ]
[ Groundbreaking ]
[ Applause ]
[ Groundbreaking ]
>> The dirt has been turned. It's official.
[ Applause ]
I see a few faculty out there who are really clapping.
On behalf of the Ford School, thank you again for coming today and for helping us celebrate.
What I want to ask everyone to join me in one last round of applause for all of the donors today. I'm going to ask everyone who's a donor to this school to stand up and to applaud both yourselves and others. Please come. Stand if you are a donor to this project.
[ Applause ]
I hope that all of you will drive by the site of Weill Hall before you leave campus, the corner of Hill and State. It has a blue construction fence around it, and you can't possibly miss it if you go pass that corner. You'll see the work's beginning to get underway.
Let me now invite you to join us for lunch in a bistro that's been set up right next door here in the Track and Field building.
I'm going to say a few words right at the beginning of lunch just to introduce everyone who's here today, but I do ask you to come eat and to join in some convivial conversation with the alumni, faculty, students and friends of the Ford School; and we've tried to mix tables so that you get to meet a few people from all of those groups.
This lunch is a celebration of our new building and a celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Ford School and of its many earlier incarnations here on campus. Thank you and please join me for lunch.
[ Applause ]