Former President of the United States
Tuesday, April 19, 1983
Gerald R. Ford succeeded to the Presidency of the United States on August 9, 1974, and served as this country's 38th President until January 20, 1977.
The achievement of the nation's highest office followed twenty five years of service in the House of Representatives including selection as Minority Leader in 1965. He was elected chairman of the Republican Conference in 1963 and permanent chairman of the 1968 and 1972 Republican National Conventions.
A native Nebraskan, educated at the University of Michigan and Yale University Law School, President Ford's career has extended far beyond politics and law. After excelling in football, playing on Michigan's national championship teams in 1932 and 1933, he served as an assistant varsity football coach and freshman boxing coach at Yale. During World War II, Mr. Ford served four years on active duty in the U.S. Navy, ending his tour of duty in 1946 as a Lt. Commander, U.S.N.R.
President Lyndon Baines Johnson appointed President Ford a member of the Presidential Commission investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The subsequent book (authored with John R. Stiles) Portrait of the Assassin (1965) and the 1979 volume A Time To Heal are among the writings of the former President.
Certainly, President Ford is among the most honored and recognized of former Presidents. Holding honorary degrees from more than 25 universities and colleges, including his alma mater, the University of Michigan, he has received awards from many governmental and political groups. Perhaps some of his most rewarding accomplishments are the receipt of the Boy Scouts of America "Silver Buffalo Award" for distinguished service to this country and its youth, the Citation of Merit Award from Yale Law School, and the American Political Science Association's Distinguished Congressional Service Award.
—Adapted from the original event program distributed at President Ford's LBJ Distinguished Lecture