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A Report from the White House Fellows
Winter 2002 VOLUME 26
From the Director
Alumni Reunion a Huge Success
Alumni Database Updates
Application Reading Process
New PR Hire
New York Domestic Policy Trip
Recipients of the 2001 Legacy of Leadership Award
Education Calendar
Where are they now?

Alumni Reunion a Huge Success

This year’s successful Annual Meeting and Seminar were held on October 25-26, 2001, in Washington, DC. Despite some early concern about continuing with our plans following the events of September 11th, all attendees agreed that Chair Margaret McKeown (’80-’81) and the Executive Committee made the right decision to proceed with the plans and to hold the event. Attending WHF discovered that they had a strong need to come together and share emotional thoughts and substantive discourse about the events surrounding September 11th.

Our venue at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was stretched to the limits – and greatly enhanced by a 16x25 foot American flag and small American flags at every table in the Hall of Flags.

John Saxon (’78-’79) provided inspirational leadership in developing the meeting’s theme – “State of the American Union” — a theme which resulted in a pace of sustained intensity and emotion for the entire two days.

Landis Jones (’69-’70) reminded us of the enduring role of our unique program history and reported on the Association’s attempts to archive the history of the WHF Program, hopefully with John Gardner’s papers at Stanford University and a plea to send materials you might have to Jack LeCuyer (’84-’85) at the Association Office.

Rick Stamberger (’84-’85) set the stage for the meeting with his film clip from the PBS documentary that he produced entitled “John Gardner: Uncommon American”. The documentary captures the essence of John Gardner and his challenge to WHF to commit ourselves to a lifetime of public service — a theme that resonated with the speakers and panelists throughout the meeting and culminated with the award of the 2001 Legacy of Leadership Awards to Julie Vadala Taft and Dana G. Mead, both of the Class of 1970-71, on Friday evening (see accompanying story.)

Vice President Dick Cheney discussed the importance of public service at the White House Fellows Alumni LuncheonWhite House Fellows heard from key policy makers on the campaign against terrorism as well as from those key leaders who were first responders – Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and DC Police Chief Charles Ramsey. We heard from decision-makers at the highest level – Vice President Cheney, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, and Chief of Presidential Personnel, Clay Johnson as well as those on Bud McFarlane’s (’71-’72) national security panel including Doris Meissner (’73-’74).

The highly popular WHF “sharing sessions” involved a number of WHF’s who were either “first responders” at “ground zero” in New York or at the Pentagon, or who are now at the cutting edge of America’s campaign to defeat terrorism. Brenda Berkman (’96-’97), Suzan Johnson Cook (’93-’94), CAPT Art Athens (’87-’88), Khalid Azim (’99-’00), Jami Floyd (’93-’94), and LCDR Paul Antony (’93-’94) shared their very personal experiences at “ground zero” in New York and actions taken to protect President Bush. Roy Alcala (’76-’77), LtCol Dave Moore (’96-’97), Jeffrey Colyer(’88-’89), COL Jonathan George (’88-’89), and Charlie Garcia (’88-’89) also shared their personal experiences in this Nation’s response to this troubling new world. These WHF “sharing sessions” were both emotionally draining and spiritually uplifting for each in attendance.

Gil Omenn’s (’73-’74) panel on medical technology, included Bob Patricelli (’65-’66), provided us with insights on the challenges we face in medical research and technology and Susan Herman opened our eyes to the many victims of “silent crime” in our midst and the lessons we might draw from them for dealing with the mass victims of September 11. Doug Jones, the prosecutor in the 1962 Birmingham bombing cases, reminded us that patience and deeply held concern and commitment to justice – however long it might take will be critical elements of the American response to the new kind of terrorism we face.

Finally, Senators Jeffords and Reed provided insights from the Hill. Several themes surfaced during our two days together. First was the extremely complex nature of the campaign our Country is now waging. Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz, Bud McFarlane’s national security panel of key policy advisors, and other speakers elaborated on the complexity of our challenges. A second theme was that in some way, we are all victims of this great national tragedy and that we must find ways to cope with our vastly changed world and our emotional responses. A third theme, nicely keynoted by Secretary Mineta, and reinforced by WHF’s Paul Antony (’93-’94) and Khalid Azim (’99-’00), was the need to keep our democratic principles and values in terms of the rights of the individual and social justice intact and to avoid mistaken judgements about ethnic groups that followed the hysteria after Pearl Harbor.

However, the theme that was most prominent – and underscored in three successive presentations on Friday by Vice President Cheney, Andrew Card, and David Gergen – was the call to renewed public service and the role that White House Fellows (past and present) can serve in provoking individual as well as a national responses to that call. The speakers’ collective recognition of many White House Fellows in the Hall of Flags and specific references to the value of the White House Fellows Program as a model for all, was inspirational and empowering. They provided a strong platform for action to strengthen the White House Fellows Program along the plans outlined by Jocelyn White in her report on the State of the White House Fellows Program.

Planning has already begun for next year’s annual meeting. If you have any thoughts with regard to calendar, themes, or speakers, please contact Meeting Chair Will Webb at will.webb@timedomain.com or Jack LeCuyer at whffdn@aol.com.

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