Former U.S. Secretary of State Give Texas Tech University's Spring Commencement Address
February 6, 2008
Texas Tech University System Chancellor Kent Hance announced today (Feb. 6) that James
A. Baker III, who has served three United States presidents, will deliver the main
address at Texas Tech University’s 2008 Commencement exercises on May 10 at the United
Texas Tech University System Chancellor Kent Hance announced today (Feb. 6) that
James A. Baker III, who has served three United States presidents, will deliver the
main address at Texas Tech University’s 2008 Commencement exercises on May 10 at the
United Spirit Arena.
"As a native Texan, Secretary Baker is one of our own," Hance said. "He grew up in
Houston and much of his professional life has been dedicated to public service. An
internationally renowned figure and statesman, he will be a strong role model and
inspiration to our graduates."
Baker will give the commencement message to the graduating class of 2008 of which
his grandson, John Colter Baker Jr., will be a graduate of the College of Arts and
Sciences. Another grandson, Travis Baker, is a student at Texas Tech.
Baker served as the nation’s 61st secretary of state from January 1989 through August
1992 under President George Bush. During his tenure at the State Department, he traveled
to 90 foreign countries as the United States confronted the unprecedented challenges
and opportunities of the post-Cold War era.
Other administrative positions include serving as the 67th secretary of the treasury
from 1985 to 1988 under President Ronald Reagan. In this post, 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. Baker’s record of public service began in
1975 as undersecretary 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, Baker led presidential campaigns for
Presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush over the course of five consecutive presidential
elections from 1976 to 1992.
A native of Houston, Baker graduated from Princeton University in 1952. After two
years of active duty as 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 Andrews Kurth from 1957 to 1975.
Baker has been the recipient of many awards for distinguished public service, including
the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991. 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. Baker and former Secretary of State Warren Christopher
serve as co-chairs of the National War Powers Commission.
Baker is presently a senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts. He and his wife,
Susan, reside in Houston and have eight children and 18 grandchildren.
His memoir, "Work Hard, Study…and Keep Out of Politics! Adventures and Lessons from
an Unexpected Public Life," was published in October 2006.