Green Lecture 2010
The Honorable James A. Baker, III to Deliver Green Lecture
The Capstone Presentation in the Global Conflicts Symposium
James A. Baker, III has served in senior government positions under three United States Presidents. He served as the nation's 61st Secretary of State from January 1989 through August 1992 under President George H.W. Bush. During his tenure at the State Department, Mr. Baker traveled to 90 foreign countries as the United States confronted the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the post–Cold War era.
Mr. Baker’s reflections on those years of revolution, war and peace—The Politics of Diplomacy
—was published in 1995.
Mr. Baker served as the 67th Secretary of the Treasury from 1985 to 1988 under President Ronald Reagan. As Treasury Secretary, he was also Chairman of the President's Economic Policy Council. From 1981 to 1985, he served as White House Chief of Staff to President Reagan. Mr. Baker's record of public service began in 1975 as Under Secretary of Commerce to President Gerald Ford. It concluded with his service as White House Chief of Staff and Senior Counselor to President Bush from August 1992 to January 1993.
Long active in American presidential politics, Mr. Baker led presidential campaigns for Presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush over the course of five consecutive presidential elections from 1976 to 1992.
A native Houstonian, Mr. Baker graduated from Princeton University in 1952. After two years of active duty as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, he entered the University of Texas School of Law at Austin. He received his J.D. with honors in 1957 and practiced law with the Houston firm of Andrews and Kurth from 1957 to 1975.
Mr. Baker’s memoir—Work Hard, Study . . . and Keep Out of Politics! Adventures and Lessons from an Unexpected Public Life
—was published in October 2006.
Mr. Baker received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 and has been the recipient of many other awards for distinguished public service, including Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson Award, The American Institute for Public Service's Jefferson Award, Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government Award, The Hans J. Morgenthau Award, The George F. Kennan Award, the Department of the Treasury's Alexander Hamilton Award, the Department of State's Distinguished Service Award, and numerous honorary academic degrees.
Mr. Baker is currently Senior Partner at the Houston-based law firm Baker Botts. He is Honorary Chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, and serves on the Board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. From 1997 to 2004 he served as the Personal Envoy of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, seeking a political solution to the conflict over Western Sahara. In 2003 and 2004, Mr. Baker was Special Presidential Envoy for President George W. Bush on the issue of Iraqi debt. In 2005, he was co-chair, with former president Jimmy Carter, of the Commission on Federal Election Reform. In 2006, Mr. Baker, with former U.S. Congressman Lee H. Hamilton, served as co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, a bi-partisan blue-ribbon panel on Iraq. Mr. Baker recently served as Co-Chair of the National War Powers Commission, examining how the American Constitution allocates the powers of war.
Mr. Baker was born in Houston, Texas in 1930. He and his wife, the former Susan Garrett, currently reside in Houston, and have eight children and seventeen grandchildren. View the list of previous Green Lecturers at Westminster College