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Oct. 15, 2015

Former President Bill Clinton to speak at first Blanchard Forum at MSU

Former President Bill Clinton, the first recipient of the Spartan Statesmanship Award for Distinguished Public Service, will be the keynote speaker at the Governor Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum on Nov. 18 at Michigan State University.

The award and forum, announced in September, were established through a $1 million gift to MSU from Blanchard and his wife, Janet. Blanchard said the program honors distinguished leaders in politics, diplomacy, public service and journalism, and gives MSU students and others “a chance to meet them and be energized by them.”

“The goal of this lecture series is to provide generations of students, faculty and people in the MSU community with the opportunity to hear and learn from national and international political leaders and others,” said Blanchard, former Michigan governor, U.S. congressman and ambassador to Canada.

“We are honored that Bill Clinton accepted this award and agreed to come to campus,” Blanchard said. “His public service in politics, followed by his excellent work through the Clinton Foundation, is exactly the type of dedication and inspiring story we hoped to bring through the Blanchard Forum.”

The event, to be held at MSU’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, will act as a fundraiser for the program. All proceeds will pay for student participation in the event and future forums.

The Blanchard Forum and statesmanship award are administered by the Department of Political Science in MSU’s College of Social Science.

“Jim and Janet Blanchard really stepped up in a huge way, not only by funding the award and forum, but by honoring one of the most revered statesmen of modern times in Bill Clinton,” said Neal Schmitt, interim dean of the college. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our community to come together for a special event, and it showcases the growing impact of the political science department in our college.”

After leaving the White House, Clinton established the Clinton Foundation with the mission to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment.

In addition, Clinton has served as the top United Nations envoy for the Indian Ocean tsunami recovery effort and as the UN Special Envoy to Haiti.

“Under President Clinton’s leadership, the country enjoyed the strongest economy in a generation and the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs,” Blanchard said.