Baker named honorary Reagan Fellow

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III was named an honorary Ronald Reagan Fellow at Eureka College in a ceremony March 28 at The Union League Club, New York City.

The Ronald W. Reagan Leadership Program selects honorary fellows who exemplify the program’s “Lead and Serve” motto by making significant contributions in leadership and service. Past recipients are former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III, former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. P. X. Kelley.

“It is truly fitting that we recognize the exceptional service and leadership of Secretary Baker in the numerous positions he has held in public service,” said Eureka College President J. David Arnold.  “Mr. Baker’s service in the administrations of Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush highlight his long and distinguished career as a servant leader.”

Baker served in senior government positions under three U.S. presidents. In 1975 he was undersecretary of commerce under Gerald Ford. From 1981 to 1985 he was White House chief of staff, and from 1985 to 1988 he was secretary of the treasury, both under Reagan. From 1989 to 1992 he was secretary of state under George H.W. Bush.

Author and former journalist Tom Brokaw will speak about Baker at the induction ceremony.

Participating in the ceremony from Eureka College will be President Arnold, Director of the Ronald W. Reagan Society John Morris, Chairman of the Board of Trustees David Adams and former Reagan Fellow Anna Palmer of Boston.     

During Baker’s tenure at the State Department, he traveled to 90 foreign countries as the United States confronted the challenges and opportunities of the post–Cold War era. Baker’s book about those years, titled “The Politics of Diplomacy,” was published in 1995.       

Baker’s memoir titled “Work Hard, Study . . . and Keep Out of Politics! Adventures and Lessons from an Unexpected Public Life” was published in October 2006.

Baker received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 as well as other awards for distinguished public service.

Baker is a senior partner in the law firm Baker Botts. He is honorary chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and serves on the board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Baker and former U.S. Congressman Lee H. Hamilton were co-chairmen of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan blue-ribbon panel that examined a forward-looking approach to Iraq.

A native Houstonian, Baker graduated from Princeton University in 1952. After two years of active duty as a lieutenant in the Marine Corps, he entered the University of Texas School of Law at Austin, where he received his juris doctor degree with honors in 1957. He practiced law in Houston from 1957 to 1975.

The Ronald W. Reagan Leadership Program at Eureka College is in its 28th year. Named for Reagan, a Eureka College graduate of 1932, the program selects six incoming freshmen as Reagan Fellows each year based on leadership, service and academic excellence. Fellows receive a full-tuition scholarship over four years. The students are selected from a field of approximately 90 semifinalists in a competition held on the campus in February.

For more information about the Reagan Leadership Program, call 467-6679 or go to www.eureka.edu/admissions/reaganfellow.htm.