NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Honorable James A. Baker, III, America’s 61st secretary of state, will be the featured guest at the 2012 installment of the Archie McDonald Speaker Series at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Baker served as secretary of state and chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush, chief of staff and secretary of the treasury to President Ronald Reagan, and undersecretary of commerce to President Gerald Ford. He also led their combined five presidential elections and in 2006 co-chaired the Iraq Study Group.
Baker, a resident of Houston, is the author of “The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War & Peace, 1989-1992” and “Work Hard, Study. . .and Keep Out of Politics!” and is a 1991 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is a senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts and honorary chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, and he serves on the board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
The speaker series event is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12, in the Grand Ballroom of the Baker Pattillo Student Center on the SFA campus. Free passes are available in the SFA Involvement Center, located inside the student center, and at the downtown Nacogdoches Visitors Center.
"Secretary Baker is one of the most influential policy makers of the 20th century, and, as such, has strongly impacted American politics and foreign affairs for decades,” Dr. Archie McDonald said. “We are honored he has accepted our invitation to participate in the speaker series.”
SFA’s speaker series, which debuted in spring 2010, was created to honor and preserve McDonald’s legacy as a distinguished scholar, educator and community commentator. In the tradition of McDonald’s writings and oral presentations, a prominent national figure is hosted annually at SFA to discuss contemporary cultural issues.
Past participants in the speaker series have included former heavyweight champion boxer and iconic businessman George Foreman and Apollo 12 astronaut and professional artist Alan Bean. The event is sponsored by SFA’s Student Government Association.
McDonald has taught history at SFA for 48 years and served as director of the East Texas Historical Association and editor of the association’s journal for 37 years. He is a past president of the Texas State Historical Association, past vice chair of the Texas Historical Commission and author/editor of more than 20 books on historical topics. Along with teaching, McDonald currently serves as the university/community liaison for SFA, is a weekly commentator on Red River Radio in Shreveport and writes a weekly column for The Daily Sentinel in Nacogdoches and other newspapers.