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Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – We welcomed Ambassador Linda Jewell to the Clinton School today. Ambassador Jewell had lunch with our students and discussed a wide variety of topics ranging from Latin American policy to careers in the Foreign Service. Ambassador Jewell has been in her position since the summer of 2005.
She is a native of Little Rock and a graduate of Little Rock Hall High School, Yale University and Johns Hopkins School of Advance International Studies, where she received a master’s degree in International Public Policy. She joined the Foreign Service in 1976 and has worked in Indonesia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland and Washington D.C.
One of the great advantages of a Clinton School education is the opportunity to interact with distinguished visitors like Ambassador Jewell and others.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – Mike Deaver died Saturday at the age of 69. A close advisor to the late President Ronald Reagan and just as close to former first lady Nancy Reagan, Mike understood “looking presidential” better than anyone I have ever known. He took imagery, staging and advance work to a new level in politics. From the famous “Morning in America” theme, to recognizing citizens attending the State of the Union, to ensuring that President Reagan was “the great communicator” while being among the least accessible of modern Presidents had Mike’s touch. People from both sides of the aisle knew Mike was a master at his craft.
In th last few years, I got to know him and I loved his stories. One, in particular, stands out. Mike believed the “light” presidents were the most successful ones. By “light,” he meant those who enjoyed working in the oval office with its bountiful natural light. He said John Kennedy, Reagan and Bill Clinton were “light” presidents and that he admired them all, political differences not withstanding.
I knew what Mike meant by “light” presidents. When we were building the Clinton Library, President Clnton told me he wanted to create an exact replica of the Oval Office but that if we couldn’t do it without natural light, he didn’t want it done at all. So when you visit the Clinton Library’s Oval Office, check out the natural light. I shared with Mike what President Clinton had requested and with a big grin Mike replied, “Good for him.”
Any person who does presidential advance, communciations or event planning owes much to Mike Deaver. He was a great teacher; we at the Clinton School honor his memory and extend our sympathy to the members of his family and to his professional colleagues.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – The Clinton School is mentioned in the September 2007 issue of the Conde Nast Traveler which has a cover profile on President Clinton and his work throughout the world.
Clinton school Student Jose Guzzardi from Sao Paulo Brazil is quoted talking about the challenges of international travel since September 11, 2001.
“Even with requests from Senator Blanche Lincoln’s office (D-Ark.), the American consulate in Sao Paulo, Brazil, did not issue a tourist visa to any of my friends and family members to attend my graduation,” he said. Jose is a 2007 graduate of the University of Central Arkansas.
Also mentioned in the article was a recent Clinton School speech by Roger Dow, the president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association of America. Dow is one of many distinguished guests the Clinton school brings in on a regular basis as part of our public program series.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – There is much speculation about Karl Rove, who spoke at the Clinton School on March 8, and the announcement that he will be leaving the White House. Agree or disagree with him politically, Karl is one of the most brilliant political and public strategists of our time, and I, for one, can’t wait to read his book. The guru of book deals, (including Bill Clinton’s My Life) Washington attorney Bob Barnett, is speaking at the Clinton School on August 23. Hopefully Bob can provide some insight. If Karl and Bob haven’t already had a conversation, my guess is that they soon will.
Here’s my take: Karl bases out of Texas, writes a book backed by a hefty advance, hits the selected paid speaking and television commentary circuit and is in the thick of the planning of the Bush Library and think tank at SMU. More than likely, the library/think tank work may bring him back to Little Rock for a visit or two. I hope so.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – When you enter the main lobby of the Clinton School, notice a display of international flags. These flags represent the home countries of current Clinton School students: Brazil, China, Haiti, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam.
The Sir Lanka flag honors the birthplace of visiting professor Jehan Raheem, a Brandeis University professor, who will be teaching at the Clinton School this spring.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – Earlier this year the Clinton School hosted Christine O’Malley and Patrick Creadon, the producer and director respecitvely, of the highly successful documentary WordPlay , a film about the interesting world of crossword puzzles. In conjunction with their appearance and that of Will Shortz, crossword puzzle editor for the New York Times, Judge Ellen Brantley of Little Rock won Arkansas’s first crossword puzzle championship sponsored by the Clinton School.
Now, O’Malley and Creadon are back at the Clinton School, but this time they are filming students, faculty and staff for a potential documentary on public service. O’Malley and Creadon will be filming here for the next few days.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – Student orientation begins today at the Clinton School. We are welcoming our third and largest class. This year we have 30 new students, who along with the 22 from last year’s class, put our 2007-2008 enrollment at 52. That’s significant because the average graduate program in the state is in the 40 to 45-student range. In just three years we have passed that.
Many of our students had opportunities to visit with Former President Clinton at the inaugural Frank and Kula Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture Series this week. We are grateful to Katherine Ann Kumpuris Trotter, Drew Kumpuris and Dean Kumpuris for establishing the series at the Clinton School in memory of their father the late Frank Kumpuris and in honor of their mother Kula Kumpuris. In addition to many individual donors, the Kumpuris lecture series has received generous support from the AT&T, the AT&T Foundation and the William J. Clinton Foundation.
Imam W. Deen Mohammed, the son of the late of Elijah Mohammed, also visited the school this week and addressed a large crowd as part of fall public programs series. Our unique, “academics for the real world,” curriculum is enriched by numerous guest lecturers, public programs and community conversations. We have more than 40 programs scheduled for the fall and comparable numbers for the spring.
As part of orientation, in addition to in-depth curriculum overviews, our students will be visiting the William H. Bowen School of Law. Students can pursue a joint a JD/MPS degree from the Bowen School and the Clinton School. The students will also tour the UALR campus where they will take some elective courses. Former Senator and Clinton School Founding Dean David Pryor will speak about Arkansas and its history in a session at the offices of City Year, an outstanding public service program in its own right. Stephanie Streett, Lena Moore and others from the Clinton Foundation will provide an overview of the Foundation’s work in Arkansas and throughout the world.
We’ll continue our orientation tradition with a gathering at Gusano’s, one of the River Market’s outstanding (and also smoke free) restaurants. The Dean’s reception will be at The Copper Grill, which recently opened in the 300 Third Tower Building and is one of my very favorites. Students will also have the opportunity to watch the Arkansas Travelers play at Dickey-Stephens Park. One of the highlights will be Thursday when our class 2 students, who have just returned from the international public service projects, will discuss their experiences abroad as part of a panel discussion at the school.
Many thanks to our outstanding faculty and staff, our wonderful volunteers and our donors/supporters who are making the nation’s first school with a master in public service degree a very special place.
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.