Governor Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum

The goal of our forum is to provide generations of students, faculty and the MSU community with the opportunity to see, hear, and learn from national and international leaders, diplomats and writers.

President Bill Clinton, the first recipient of the Spartan Statesmanship Award for Distinguished Public Service, was the keynote speaker at the Governor Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum on November 18, 2015 at Michigan State University. The award and forum, announced in September. 2015, were established through a generous gift to MSU from Jim and Janet Blanchard. “We were honored that President Clinton agreed to be our first awardee, Blanchard said. “His public service in government, followed by his excellent work through the Clinton Foundation, is exactly the type of dedication and inspiring story we hope to bring through our forum. And the students loved it.” Our guest on September 23, 2016, was the distinguished filmmaker and documentarian, Ken Burns. Ken’s impact on American understanding of our history and experience is indeed powerful. His work is appreciated by millions of Americans and American observers world wide. We were thrilled to have him here in East Lansing. On October 31, 2016, the highly acclaimed author, historian and journalist, Evan Thomas, was our special guest. We presented him with our first “Distinguished Author Award.” The Blanchard Forum and Statesmanship Award are administered by the Department of Political Science in MSU’s College of Social Science.

” From the time I first saw the beautiful campus at MSU (age 11) , to my first football game at Spartan Stadium, I knew that Michigan State was my home. Much later, my classes in political science, history and economics were exciting and rewarding. So too was my involvement in student government and campus politics. My hope is that MSU will continue to educate and motivate thousands of students to want to serve their community and our country and, yes, help build a better world. ” — Jim Blanchard

Born in Detroit and raised in Ferndale, Jim Blanchard earned his B.A. in Social Science in 1964 and M.B.A. in 1965 from MSU and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1968. He served four terms in the United States Congress (1975-1983) and two terms as governor of Michigan (1983-1991). He was the first MSU graduate to serve as governor of Michigan. Jim also served as US ambassador to Canada (1993-1996). He authored “Behind the Embassy Door” about his service in Canada. His performance as ambassador was recognized by Secretary of State Warren Christopher when he presented Jim with the Foreign Affairs Award for Public Service, making him one of only a handful of ambassadors to receive this prestigious award. Jim Blanchard is a partner in the global law firm of DLA Piper and serves as co-chair of the Canada-US Law Institute and is vice chair of The National Archives Foundation in Washington D.C. “Jim Blanchard has left an indelible mark in the world of public service,” said Charles Ostrom, chairperson of MSU’s Department of Political Science. “With this very generous gift, the award and corresponding forum will provide our department the great opportunity to impact future generations of public service leaders, and at the same time it continues and enhances Governor Blanchard’s own legacy. We are thrilled and eager to continue this important program.” Janet Blanchard, born and raised in Williamston, Michigan served as a career civil servant in the Michigan state government Departments of Education, Labor, Commerce, Civil Service and Management and Budget. In 1993, Janet served as associate director of presidential personnel for President Bill Clinton. In May of 2004, she was protocol officer for the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Currently she is a member of the Meridian International Center Board of Trustees. Earlier she served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Michigan 4-H Foundation and in 2009 was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame.

You can help expand our forum and sponsor student participation by a tax deductible gift to the Governor Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum You can mail your gift to: Governor Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum College of Social Science 509 E.Circle Drive, Room 306, Berkey Hall East Lansing, MI 48824