Veteran Statesman Lee Hamilton '52 Returns to Alma Mater March 15 as Ubben Lecturer
February 17, 2011
February 17, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — Newsweek has called Lee Hamilton "Mr. Integrity," while USA Today recently noted that the veteran statesman "is one of the last of the Washington 'wise men,' figures who ruled Congress, led Cabinet agencies and shaped foreign policy during a less partisan era." On Tuesday, March 15, Hamilton, a 1952 graduate of DePauw University, will return to his alma mater to deliver a Timothy and Sharon Ubben Lecture, "The U.S. Role in the World After Afghanistan and Iraq."
The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Meharry Hall of historic East College. As with all Ubben Lectures, the speech is presented free of admission charge and the public is invited to attend.
Lee H. Hamilton served for 34 years in Congress representing Indiana's ninth district, from January 1965 to January 1999. He then became president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., a post he held until late last year, and continues as director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. (at right: Iraq Study Group co-chairs Hamilton and James A. Baker III with President George W. Bush)
During his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, Hamilton was chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. He also chaired the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran. The Democrat established himself as a leading congressional voice on foreign affairs, with particular interests in promoting democracy and market reform in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, promoting peace and stability in the Middle East, expanding U.S. markets and trade overseas, and overhauling U.S. export and foreign aid policies. His tenure in Congress coincided with many significant historical events, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Arab/Israeli peace negotiations, and the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Hamilton also has been a leading figure on economic policy and congressional organization. He was chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, working to promote long-term economic growth and development, global market competition, and a sound fiscal policy. As chairman of the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress and a member of the House Standards of Official Conduct Committee, he was a primary draftsman of several House ethics reforms, and he worked to promote integrity and efficiency in Congress.
Hamilton remains an important and active voice on matters of international relations and American national security. Currently he is co-chairman, with former White House National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. He was co-chairman, with former Secretary of State James A. Baker, of the Iraq Study Group, which in December 2006 made recommendations on U.S. policy options in Iraq. He was co-chairman, with former Senator Spencer Abraham, of the Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future, which issued a report in September 2006 calling for reform of the nation’s immigration laws and system. And he was vice chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission), which issued its report in July 2004. (at right: Hamilton with DePauw student journalists in 2006)
In recent years, Hamilton served on the Baker-Hamilton Commission to Investigate Certain Security Issues at Los Alamos, served on the United States Commission on National Security in the 21st Century (the Hart-Rudman Commission), and was a member of the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform.
Hamilton is author of Strengthening Congress; How Congress Works and Why You Should Care and A Creative Tension: The Foreign Policy Roles of the President and Congress. He co-authored (with former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean) Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission. (at left: retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Hamilton appear together in a recent public service announcement)
Hamilton's service in government has earned him numerous awards, including the Churchill Award for Statesmanship; the Eisenhower Medal for exceptional leadership; the National Conference on Citizenship Citizen of the Year Award; the United States Capitol Historical Society Freedom Award; the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Freedom From Fear Award; the Indiana Historical Society Living Legends Award; the Jefferson Awards for Public Service; the American University Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies Distinguished Public Service Award; the Knight Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany; the Paul H. Nitze Award for Distinguished Authority on National Security Affairs; the American Political Science Association Hubert H. Humphrey Award; the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service; the Center for National Policy Edmund S. Muskie Distinguished Public Service Award; the American Political Science Association Outstanding Legislator Award; and the Knight of the French Legion of Honor, the highest honor bestowed by France for those who have achieved remarkable deeds. In 2006 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. (above: Hamilton delivering the commencement address at DePauw; May 5, 1998)
Lee Hamilton was named one of "America's Best Leaders" for 2007 by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Times' David Brooks opined of Hamilton, "The country is hungering for leaders like him: open-minded, unassuming centrists who are interested in government more than politics." The Chicago Tribune's Mike Dorning declared, "In an era of politics dominated by partisan warriors, Hamilton commands respect across party lines. And at a time when retiring members of Congress routinely rush out the door to lobbying firms where they can sell their influence to the highest bidder, he passed up the chance for big money and retains unquestioned independence." The Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus stated, "In the polarized Washington of 2010, there aren't many politicians who win deep respect from both sides of the political divide, but Hamilton has always been able to do that."
"This is one of the finest men in my lifetime to come near the halls of the United States Congress," Republican Jim Leach said of Hamilton at a tribute dinner for Hamilton last fall in the nation's capital. Leach added, "Of all the members of the Democratic Party that I served with, Lee stood for common sense, realism with a dose of decency."
Hamilton has received more than a dozen honorary degrees, including one from DePauw in 1971 (seen above left with then-DePauw President William E. Kerstetter).
As an undergraduate, Hamilton majored in history and was a star player on the Tiger basketball team. He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982 and the DePauw Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987. Before his 1964 election to Congress, Hamilton practiced law in Chicago and Columbus, Indiana. His wife, the former Nancy Ann Nelson, is a fellow member of DePauw's Class of 1952.
Established in 1986 through the generous support of 1958 DePauw graduates Timothy H. and Sharon Williams Ubben, the Ubben Lecture Series was designed to "bring the world to Greencastle." Earlier in this academic year, the Ubben Series welcomed Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, on December 8, 2010. Rebecca Skloot, author of the bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, was on campus September 9, 2010, as an Ubben Lecturer.
Other previous guests have included Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Tony Blair, Benazir Bhutto, Elie Wiesel, General Colin Powell, Jane Pauley, F.W. de Klerk, Robert M. Gates, Howard Dean and Karl Rove, Shimon Peres, Willy Brandt, Spike Lee, Jason Reitman, Naomi Wolf, Richard Lamm, Ferid Murad '58, Mike Krzyzewski, Liz Murray, Jesse Jackson, Eric Schlosser, E.O. Wilson, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, Greg Mortenson, Barbara Bush, Todd Rundgren, Ross Perot, General Wesley Clark, Andrew Young, Bob Woodward, Paul Rusesabagina, David Plouffe, George Will, Paul Volcker, Jim Alling '83, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Ralph Nader, Harry Belafonte, John Major, Julian Bond, Gloria Borger, Steven D. Levitt, Sam Donaldson, David McCullough, Bill Bradley, Ken Burns, David Gergen, Sister Helen Prejean, Paul Tsongas, Gwen Ifill, Jim Lovell, Brian Mulroney, Alan Simpson, Frank Warren and Mary Frances Berry, among others. (at left: Tony Blair with Tim and Sharon Ubben; March 3, 2008)
To view a complete roster of Ubben Lecturers -- which includes links to video clips and news stories -- click here.Back