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Texas State University

William D. Ford

U.S. Representative
Thursday, November 7, 1985

Congressman William D. Ford's LBJ Distinguished Lecture celebrated the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Representative Ford, a Democrat from Michigan, was first elected to Congress in 1964 and has represented his district with distinction for over 20 years. At the time of this speech, he was the ranking majority member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, the committee responsible for almost all federal education legislation from the elementary through the postgraduate level.

He first served as Chair of the House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education from 1977 to 1981, and he resumed that position in February 1985. He was principal author of the Education Amendments of 1980, the most comprehensive higher education legislation ever enacted by Congress. He also was principal author of the Middle Income Student Assistance Act.

Additional efforts of Ford on behalf of education include service as Chairman of the Interstate Migrant Education Council and as an education advisor to UNESCO.

The Congressman's activities extend beyond the field of education. As Chairman of the Post Office and Civil Service Committee, he directs congressional oversight on the entire federal civilian payroll and the U.S. Postal Service, the federal health benefits program, and the civil service retirement system.

A native of Detroit, Ford earned a bachelor of science and doctor of jurisprudence from the University of Denver. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946 and the U.S. Air Reserve from 1950 to 1957. He began his political career as justice of the peace in Taylor Township, Michigan. Prior to his congressional career he also was elected to the Michigan Constitutional Convention and the Michigan State Senate.

Ten colleges and universities have bestowed honorary degrees on Representative Ford for his leadership in Congress over the past two decades.

—Adapted from the original event program distributed at William D. Ford's LBJ Distinguished Lecture

“It is therefore in the national interest to continue the equal educational opportunity programs and to see them expanded. These programs are proven mechanisms to reach out and draw into postsecondary education students from low-income and minority populations. Without these programs, how will we have the human resources to meet our economic and national goals in the future?”