Tag Archives: George W. Bush

Dr. Peter Lawler holds court in his famously messy office.

COLLECTIVE MEMORY: Decades of Berry alumni can close their eyes and call to mind this image of the late Dr. Peter Lawler holding court in his famously messy office. Last fall, that space was named in his memory, and this spring, Dr. David Ramsey (01C) delivered the first Peter Augustine Lawler Lecture in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Rita Lawler and Dr. David Ramsey

Dr. David Ramsey, right, visits with Rita Lawler, widow of his longtime mentor.

It’s been two years since Dr. Peter Lawler’s unexpected death shocked the Berry community, but his influence continues to burn brightly in the lives of alumni and friends who were inspired by him.

Last fall, Lawler’s former office in Evans Hall was named in his memory – the result of an outpouring of gifts to the scholarship bearing his name – and this spring a former student and mentee, Dr. David Ramsey (01C), delivered the first Peter Augustine Lawler Lecture in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Ramsey, who has followed in Lawler’s footsteps as a professor of constitutional law and political philosophy at the University of West Florida, said the beloved professor is second only to his parents in influencing his life.

“My vocation is an imitation of his,” he said. “Peter Lawler touched my life at Berry in the most amazing ways. He gave freely of himself to his students and taught me that’s what teaching is about.”

Lawler, who taught at Berry for 38 years, was a nationally renowned political scholar and a prolific author and editor of more than 15 books. Appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics, Lawler was a recipient of the Richard M. Weaver Prize for Scholarly Excellence and was honored as the George Washington Distinguished Professor of the American Founding by The Society of the Cincinnati, among other distinctions.

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Christine Todd Whitman

Christine Todd Whitman talks to Dr. Brian Campbell, associate professor of anthropology and environmental studies.

The Cecil B. Wright III Integrity in Leadership Lecture Series welcomed an impressive voice of experience Jan. 25 in the form of Christine Todd Whitman, former New Jersey governor and administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.

Whitman, who made history in 1994 as New Jersey’s first female governor, addressed the topic of “Women, Leadership, Power and Politics: Overcoming Obstacles,” in her formal remarks in Krannert Center. She also took part in a classroom discussion with students in Berry’s environmental studies program.

During her presentation, Whitman stressed the importance of integrity in any leadership position and talked about characteristics such as education, perseverance, honesty and decency that contribute to it.

“To me, leadership isn’t leadership at all without integrity,” she stated. “It’s exploitation.”

Afterward, she fielded numerous questions from a very engaged student audience, with topics ranging from her involvement with the EPA to her inspiration for going into politics.

The Wright lecture series is an initiative of the Berry Center for Integrity in Leadership, a major priority of LifeReady: The Berry College Campaign for Opportunity. Past speakers have included Harvard University’s Barbara Kellerman, Aflac CEO Dan Amos, meningitis vaccine expert Dr. Marc LaForce and Home Depot Executive Vice President Bill Lennie.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

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This Is Us Screen CaptureCharlotte Collins Davis (14C) out-tweeted Kate Logan Pearson (02C) by the narrowest of margins to win our most recent Alumni Accent trivia challenge. Both correctly noted that it was President George W. Bush who appointed faculty legend Dr.  Peter Lawler to the President’s Council on Bioethics.

For this month’s question, we shift from politics to television. A few weeks back, we were thrilled to see one of Berry’s inaugural Gate of Opportunity Scholars make a cameo appearance on the hit NBC drama This Is Us. Earn a shout-out in our next issue by being the first to tweet the name of the 2013 alumnus pictured at left (don’t forget to include the hashtag #berrycollegetrivia).

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The Rev. Luis León (67A) faced the nation – literally – as the man chosen to deliver the benediction at the Jan. 21 inauguration of President Barack Obama. Addressing a crowd estimated in the hundreds of thousands gathered on the National Mall and millions more watching on television, the Cuban-born immigrant echoed the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the prophet Micah as he prayed blessings over President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and the American people.

A star runner at Berry Academy who later attended The University of the South and Virginia Theological Seminary, the reverend today serves as rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., known as the “Church of the Presidents.” He has played a role in each of the last four presidential inaugurations, overseeing prayer services in 2001 and 2009 and delivering the invocation at the second inauguration of President George W. Bush.

Click the video player at right to see and hear the benediction (courtesy of PBS).

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