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JACKSON, Tenn. – Feb. 7, 2002 – Union University has announced that James A. Baker, III, former Secretary of State under President George H. Bush, will be the keynote speaker for the university’s Sixth Annual Scholarship Banquet, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 1, at the Carl Perkins Civic Center.
Baker, who has served in senior government positions under three United States Presidents, began his record of public service in 1975 as Under Secretary of Commerce to President Gerald Ford. Between 1981 and 1988, he held various roles under President Reagan, including White House Chief of Staff, Secretary of the Treasury, and chairman of the President’s Economic Policy Council. Secretary of State for four years under President Bush, Baker concluded his service as White House Chief of Staff and Senior Counselor to President Bush in January 1993.
“Union University is excited to have a person of such distinguished service in behalf of our country for our Sixth Annual Scholarship Banquet,” said Union President David S. Dockery. “Probably no other person has had the extended influence for almost a quarter of a century that Mr. Baker has had both in our country and around the world. It is with great anticipation that we look forward to Oct. 1.”
Lead sponsors for this year’s banquet includes BancorpSouth and Carl and Alice Kirkland. Premier sponsors currently include Chip and Rita Christian, Benny and Norma Fesmire, First Bank, Union Planters, White Investments LLC/Roy L. White, President and CEO, Schilling Enterprises, Jack and Zan Holmes, A. Jerry Kuykendall and AK Enterprises, Inc., and Porter Cable/Delta. According to Dockery, this is the largest group of sponsors for the banquet to date.
After graduating from Princeton University and two years of active duty as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, Baker received his J.D. degree from the University of Texas School of Law at Austin.
Baker received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 and has been the recipient of many other awards for distinguished public service, including Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson Award, and the Department of State’s Distinguished Service Award.
The Scholarship Banquet is supported by Union’s Board of Presidential Associates for the purpose of raising funds to provide scholarships. A total of more than $1.2 million in scholarships has been raised from the past five banquets and the university hopes to raise nearly $400,000 this year for student scholarships – the largest goal ever for a single banquet at Union.
Sara B. Horn,