Gerald Ford to keynote Farber Conference Former U.S. President Gerald R. Ford will keynote the Second Annual W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership Conference at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 8 at The University of South Dakota's DakotaDome.
Ford, the 38th president, will deliver a speech entitled, "The President as Leader: Problems in Contemporary Presidential-Congressional Relations." Highlighting the day-long conference, Ford's speech will be co-sponsored by the Farber Center, the USD School of Business, the Burke-Bankwest Lecture Series and the USD Program Council.
The 1999 conference will include talks by USD Professor William D. Richardson, Farber Center director and chair of the Political Science Departments, and USD Professor Emeritus of Political Science William O. Farber. In addition, USD will host leadership education workshops and a round table discussion of key leadership issues by a panel of distinguished guests and student leaders. The round table will focus on various public policy issues facing South Dakota and what role community and political leaders can play in addressing them. The Leadership Conference will be open to the public.
"As the United States Senate embarks on the second presidential impeachment trial in history, former president Gerald Ford is uniquely qualified to address the issue of presidential leadership," said Richardson.
President Ford's long and distinguished career includes a myriad of accomplishments in military service and politics (see Ford biography.) His unique footnote in history is that of the man who ascended to the presidency of the most powerful nation on earth in 1974 following Watergate and the resignation of Vice President Spiro T. Agnew and President Richard M. Nixon.
"This conference will provide students, and the many others invited on campus for the day, a special opportunity to get an inside look at leadership in politics," said USD School of Business Dean Jerry W. Johnson, "Building upon this strong program foundation, the USD School of Business is planning special meetings for selected business groups during this time. As was the case last year, all participants in the many programs during the day will gather to hear the evening keynote speaker," he said.
Retired U.S. Army General Colin Powell was the keynote speaker at the First Annual W.O. Farber Center Conference in April, 1998.
Gerald R. Ford Biography
Gerald R. Ford, who was born in Omaha, NE. on July 14, 1913, attended public schools in Grand Rapids, MI, where he was an all-city and all-state football player. He received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1935, and a LL.B. from Yale University Law School in 1941.
He was a member of the University of Michigan's national championship football teams in 1932 and 1933. In 1934 he was named Michigan's most valuable player. He played in the 1935 East-West college all-star game, which benefited the Shrine Crippled Children's Hospital. In August 1935, he played in the Chicago Tribune College All-Star game at Soldiers Field against the Chicago Bears. While at Yale, he served as assistant football coach and freshman boxing coach.
In 1942, after a brief stint with the law firm of Ford and Buchen, Ford entered the U.S. Navy, serving almost four years during World War II. He participated in 3rd and 5th Fleet carrier operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Monterey for two years. Discharged in 1946 as a Lt. Commander, USNR, Ford resumed the practice of law in the firm of Butterfield, Keeny and Amberg.
He married Elizabeth Bloomer on Oct. 15, 1948, and they are the parents of four children: Michael Gerald, born March 14, 1950; John Gardner, born March 16, 1952; Steven Miegs, born May 19, 1956; and Susan Elizabeth, born July 6, 1957. They are also the grandparents of five granddaughters.
In 1948, Ford was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and re-elected every two years through 1972, serving 25 years in the House. He served on the House Appropriations Committee for 14 years. Elected chairman of the Republican Conference in 1963, he was chosen House Minority Leader in 1965. He was also permanent chairman of the 1968 and 1972 Republican National Conventions.
In November 1963, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Ford a member of the Presidential Commission (Warren Commission) investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He subsequently authored (with John R. Stiles), Portrait of the Assassin (1965) President Ford is the last living member of the Warren Commission.
President Ford was nominated vice president on Oct. 12, 1973, to succeed Spiro T. Agnew, who resigned, and was confirmed Dec. 6. He succeeded to the presidency following the resignation of Richard M. Nixon, serving from Aug. 9, 1974 to Jan. 20, 1977.
President Ford entered the White House at a time of national crisis. He quickly attempted to put the Watergate affair to rest by taking the unpopular step on pardoning President Nixon. During the next two and a half years, the Ford Administration emphasized stronger relationships with our allies and detente with the Soviet Union, while instituting annual international economic summits, negotiating the "Helsinki agreements" on human rights principles and a Sinai accord to reduce tensions in the Middle East. He also directed the final withdrawal of American military personnel and refugees from the Indochina as the Vietnam War ended.
In 1976, Ford lost one of the closest presidential elections in history to the Democratic challenger, Jimmy Carter.
Upon returning to private life, President Ford established an office in Rancho Mirage, CA. In 1979, his autobiography A Time to Heal was published, which included his years as president. Since 1977, Ford has lectured at 179 colleges and universities on Congressional/ White House relations, federal budget policies and domestic and foreign policy.
Associated with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Ford attends the annual Public Policy Week Conference, and in 1982, established the AEI World Forum, which he hosts annually in Vail/Beaver Creek, CO. AEI is a gathering of former and current international world leaders and business executives to discuss political and business policies impacting current issues.
In 1981, the Gerald R. Ford library in Ann Arbor, MI, and the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids were dedicated. President Ford also hosts the William E. Simon Lecture Series in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.
Ford's third book, The Humor and the Presidency, was published in 1987.
The former president holds an advisory directorship on the board of Texas Commerce Bancshares, Inc. He is an advisor to the board of the American Express Company and a member of the board of The Travelers, Inc. He is also on the Board of Regents of Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA.) Since 1977, Ford has also been actively involved in numerous charitable events, including the Boy Scouts of America, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the American Cancer Society.