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Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – I love great Arkansas debates. In the 2007 legislative session, my favorite was how to spell the plural of Arkansas: either Arkansas’ or Arkansas’s. At the Clinton School, we referred to it as the Great Apostrophe Debate. By a non-binding resolution, the legislature chose Arkansas’s. That’s my preference as well.
Now, Arkansas is in a debate over the manner in which Arkansas history will be taught in the K-12 curriculum. Will it be a “unit” as part of a broader subject or as a separate course? The state Education Department favors the “unit” approach while many of Arkansas’s leading historians (including Clinton School Founding Dean and former Governor/Senator David Pryor) advocate the “stand alone” position. Each side is making its case to Governor Beebe, and both have valid points. While I personally favor the “stand alone” course, I’m glad to see Arkansas history being discussed by the Governor, Dean Pryor and others. What I hope in the long term is that more people will write books, articles and produce films about the history of our state.
This spring Dr. Peggy Scranton, a political science professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), will once again offer our students her popular elective course on the Clinton Presidency. It only seems like yesterday but it was 16 years ago when Governor Clinton announced his candidacy in 1991. Dr. Scranton’s course will soon qualify as a history elective as well.
One of the great legacies of the 40th anniversary commemoration of the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High School is the number of books and documentaries on the subject that have been produced since. Several members of the Little Rock Nine are among the authors as are Ralph Brodie, 1957-58 Central High student body president, and Dr. Johanna Miller Lewis, the UALR history professor who is higher education’s strongest public history advocate. The Brodie and Lewis books are not yet published.
Though not Little Rock Central related, one Arkansas history book I’m looking forward to seeing is the autobiography of Vada Sheid of Mountain Home. Vada is the first woman in her own right to be elected to both the Arkansas House of Representatives and the Arkansas State Senate. That in itself is noteworthy.
Vada’s son, Richard, asked me to write a forward for the book which I was glad to do. Nothing Personal – Just Politics provides an inside look at campaigning in North Central Arkansas and serving in the Arkansas legislature. It is scheduled for publication late this fall.
Yes, history is worth debating and certainly worth documenting, writing and reading.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will soon consider HB 1254, the Presidential Library Donation Reform Act of 2007. This legislation, sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California) passed the House on March 14 by a vote of 390-34.
In summary, the legislation provides quarterly disclosures of $200 or more to presidential library fundraising organizations (i.e. presidential library foundations) for a period until the time the Archivist of the United States has the title for the building or for four years after a President leaves office. The act is not retroactive but if those dates had applied to the Clinton Foundation they would have been November 18, 2004 and January 20, 2005 respectively. Presidential libraries are built with private funds and there is no limit on the amount a person or organization may give. Under current law, presidential library foundations are not required to report individual donors because foundations obtain nonprofit charitable status. The Clinton Foundation policy has been that disclosure is up to the donor.
Based on my experience of serving as President of the Clinton Foundation during the Clinton Library’s planning, construction and opening as well as reviewing other presidential libraries, there are five major library fundraising categories:
1. The friends and supporters of a particular president (and this is where most of the money is raised).
2. Individuals and organizations that support the preservation of presidential history.
3. Individuals and organizations from the home state and region of the president that see the library as an economic development, educational and tourism asset. (In the case of the Clinton Center, it has been a huge economic, educational — including the Clinton School of Public Service — and tourism boom to Little Rock and Arkansas.
4. Small donors — those who gifts range from $1 to $250. (The Clinton Foundation at one point had more than 100,000 of these from all 50 states and the District of Columbia).
5. Foreign governments and non-U.S. citizens and organizations. (For example, the government of Kuwait is one of the major donors of the George H.W. Bush Library at Texas A&M University. Given President Bush’s defense of the country, it’s easily understood).
Proponents of the legislation believe the disclosure and transparency of donors will expose, reduce or eliminate any perceived special influence or interest these donors might have. Opponents believe some donors request to remain private, not for influence but for personal reasons, and that they may be less inclined to support presidential libraries knowing their gifts will be public.
I expect the legislation to pass. If signed by President Bush, his Presidential Library Foundation will be the first to comply with its provisions.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – In just a few days we will be welcoming our new (and third class) of students to the Clinton School. When we opened in 2005 under the strong leadership of Founding Dean David Pryor and recently retired Associate Dean Tom Bruce, we admitted 16 students. Our two-year program expanded to 22 students last year. With the graduation of our inaugural class and with the additions of our 30 new students this fall, we now have 52 students enrolled in the nation’s first Master of Public Service (MPS) degree program.
Our new students are coming from all over Arkansas, the country and the world. Orientation begins August 11. Recently, with information supplied by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, I analyzed the graduate enrollment numbers at various Arkansas universities. While some programs enroll more and others less, the University of Arkansas averaged about 45 students per active graduate program.
Thus, in comparison with UA programs and in comparison with the growth trends of the two Presidential schools also located on presidential library campuses (LBJ at the University of Texas in 1970 and George H.W. Bush at Texas A&M in 1997), Clinton School enrollment trends are right on target. One of the unique aspects of the Clinton School is that our curriculum: “Academics For the Real World” includes 30 to 40 percent of actual public service work “in the field.”
As a critical part of their educational experience, students here are engaged in group, international and individual projects. Our second class is returning from its international work which took students to all six inhabited continents partnering with such outstanding organizations as Heifer International. They will now be working on their individual projects this fall with locations ranging from Arkansas to Kenya. Our new class will begin group projects, all of which will be based in Arkansas, this fall.
On top of our unique and challenging academic work, the curriculum is enriched with one of the nation’s best speaker series. We have more than 60 diverse programs scheduled for the fall semester with the vast majority being free and open to the public. This month, for example, we will host Marie Tillman, the widow of Pat Tillman who was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. Our 2008 spring series, which we are putting together now, will also be very strong.
If you would like to receive advance email notices of our public programs, please contact email@example.com and ask that your name and email address be added to the list.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – I recently read a TIME interview with Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook. This 23-year-old is the head of the sixth-most trafficked site in the U.S. and the top photo-sharing site. While I am not the most technologically savvy person, I do understand the importance of networking. From cell phones to email to online social networks, I have seen the advancement of technology, enabling young people to regularly communicate with a much broader network. This summer the Clinton School developed its own Facebook group and invited the incoming class to join it. While the students will meet for the first time in person on August 7, several of them are already Facebook “friends.”
If you happen to have a Facebook profile, I invite you to join our discussion board and find out what’s going on at the Clinton School. Just email Eric Wilson: firstname.lastname@example.org and Eric will send you an invite.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – For only four days, September 22-25, the Emancipation Proclamation will be on display at the Clinton Presidential Library in downtown Little Rock. The Emancipation Proclamation is one of the nation’s most treasured and historical documents. President Abraham Lincoln issued it as an executive order on January 1, 1863 giving him the legal authority in order to fee slaves in the South. The 13th amendment to the Constitution officially abolished slavery.
The showing will be the first time the Emancipation Proclamation has been in Arkansas. A few years ago when I was serving as President of the Clinton Foundation, I asked Allen Weinstein, the Archivist of the United States, if the Emancipation Proclamation could be displayed here during the 50th anniversary commemoration of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. I am grateful to the Archivist and the National Archives staff for making this possible. A special thanks also goes to former Clinton Library Director David Alsobrook for his counsel and assistance.
According to the Archivist, the Emancipation Proclamation was transferred to the National Archives from the State Department in 1936. It can be displayed for only a few days each year because of the need to preserve its fragile paper from decay.
The Arkansas viewing dates and hours are as follows:
Saturday, September 22 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, September 23 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Monday, September 24 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday, September 25 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Reservations are being accepted beginning Wednesday August 1. Call 501-244-2856 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – Disney has made a decision to ban smoking from its family oriented movies and to “discourage” it from films distributed by its Touchstone and Miramax companies. This is a significant development considering from 1999 to 2006, smoking appeared in 161 of Disney’s 216 films (75 percent) and in 64 percent of its youth oriented films. Disney’s new policy comes in addition to the Motion Picture Association of America’s announcement that smoking would be a factor when it rated films.
While others contend smoking in some films reflect historical accuracy, Clinton School student Dr. Gary Wheeler continues to be a national leader in the movement to ban it fron all movies. The Disney decision is the first major indication that Gary’s efforts, and the efforts of many others throughout the nation and the world, are beginning to pay off.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – We lost a good friend this week. Jack Fleischauer, 58, whose distinguished banking career spanned over 30 years, died after a courageous battle with cancer. Jack and his Regions Bank colleague, Chuck Cook, were among the earliest supporters of the Clinton School.
I’ve known Jack for years and before joining the Clinton School; I worked with his very talented and creative daughter, Jennifer. In recent months, Jack gave the Clinton School another very special gift. Cartoons, which formerly were displayed in the long departed Farkleberry Restaurant in the Regions Bank building, were donated to the Clnton School by Jack. These prints, from originals by Arkansas’s most famous cartoonist, the late George Fisher, will someday be on display again.
The enjoyment they will bring and the stories they will spark will be reflective of both George’s creativity and Jack’s love of life. We will even tell the story of the Farkleberry, which George initiated and Jack loved. We are better for having known Jack Fleischauer. We at the Clinton School will miss him.
John Paul Hammerschmidt represented Arkansas’s Third District in the United States Congress for well over 20 years. He remains a beloved figure throughout the state and is an icon in Northwest Arkansas. I recently had the great honor of speaking at a lecture series named for him at North Arkansas College in his hometown of Harrison.
The Congressman maintains an office on the campus, and it is a museum in its own right. The memorabilia on display is truly a political and historical treasure. Signed photographs from Presidents beginning with Dwight Eisenhower through George W. Bush are on the walls. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
From a photo of the late Congressman William Jennings Bryan Dorn of South Carolina (grandfather of Patrick Kennedy, director of public programs and public policy at the Clinton School) to pictures with various personalities on Air Force One and Air Force Two, to letters, clippings and pens used by Presidents for bill signings, it is a walk through American history.
If you are ever in or nearby Harrison, (Boone County) visit the North Ark campus and see the Hammerschmidt collection. It’s worth every minute of your time, While you are on the campus, also take a look at what I believe is Arkansas’s best outdoor ampitheatre located adjacent to the Hammerschmidt Center. I just wish the Clinton School had one like it.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – The Clinton School recently hosted Mark Halperin of Time Magazine and ABC News and John F. Harris, editor in chief of the Politico and former Washington Post reporter. The two talked about their recent book, The Way to Win, which analyzes winning campaign tactics from the George H.W. Bush, Bill Cllinton and George W. Bush campaigns.
Clinton School staffer Eric Wilson conducted an interview with both Halperin and Harris. His interview became our school’s first posting on You Tube. Here’s the link:
After their presentation, Halperin and Harris had dinner and conversation with several Arkansans at The Copper Grill, a popular restaurant which recently opened in the 300 Third Tower Building in downtown Little Rock, within walking distance of the Clinton School. At the Copper Grill, discussion ranged over whether longtime Bill Clinton assistant Bruce Lindsey would ever write a book (consensus: no); who would likely be the first Arkansan appointed to an important Hillary Clinton administrative position (speculation: Mack McLarty, Ambassador to China); who would be on the Republican ticket (speculation: Mitt Romney-Jeb Bush); and who is going to win the Iowa Democratic primary (mixed: some said Hillary Clinton; others said John Edwards).
Halperin is working on a new book. We’ve already invited him back for a presentation and book signing at the School.