U-M Betty Ford Celebration

Uploaded by um on 12.10.2012

[ Music ]
>> [Background Music] When Betty Ford suddenly
and unexpectedly became First Lady in 1974 amidst the scandal
of Watergate, she was like a breath of fresh air.
She had the poise of Pat Nixon, a strong sense of style
like Jackie Kennedy, and looked
to Eleanor Roosevelt as a role model.
But it was her personal candor
that made Betty Ford unique among her predecessors
and would ultimately help to save thousands of lives.
She was born Elizabeth Ann Bloomer in 1918 and grew
up in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Betty Bloomer was a lively teenager who spoke her mind
and gravitated toward the freer forms of modern dance.
When she graduated from high school,
she knew exactly what she wanted to do, move to New York City
to become a professional dancer.
She spent three years living her dreams, studying and dancing
with the legendary Martha Graham
and even performing at Carnegie Hall.
She returned to Grand Rapids but continued dancing.
And after her first marriage that ended in divorce,
Betty met her match
in a handsome young lawyer named Gerald R. Ford,
a former University of Michigan football star
and World War II naval officer,
Ford had a secret ambition to run for Congress.
Betty was reluctant to become a congressional wife
which seemed well-founded when Gerald showed up late
to their wedding wearing muddy shoes he had worn
on the campaign trail.
The couple then spent their honeymoon at campaign rallies
and a University of Michigan football game.
Nonetheless, Betty threw herself into the roles of political wife
and devoted mother of four children,
roles that kept her mostly out of the limelight.
Her life abruptly changed, however,
when Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned due
to corruption charges
and President Nixon appointed the popular Republican minority
leader, Gerald Ford, Vice President.
The family barely had time to adjust
to their new roles before Nixon himself resigned eight
months later.
The Fords, still living in their modest suburban Alexandria,
Virginia home had suddenly become First Family.
Betty Ford would soon find her own voice in a country
that was eager to hear what she had to say.
The Fords were determined to set themselves apart
from the secrecy of the previous administration.
So when Betty Ford had a mastectomy, just six weeks
into the new Presidency, she chose to speak up publicly
about her battle with breast cancer,
a taboo topic at the time.
This led thousands of women to seek screenings,
which saved countless lives.
>> Part of the battle against cancer is to fight the fear
that accompanies the disease.
>> The First Lady's openness about other topics, however,
including premarital sex, marijuana use,
and abortion rights, as well as her [inaudible] support
of the Equal Rights Amendment was not always so-well received
especially from her own party.
>> I do not believe that being First Lady should prevent me
from expressing my ideas.
>> [Background Music] But she was speaking
out about the issues of the time with the frankness
that no previous First Lady had displayed.
>> [Background Music & Laughter] I just want
to congratulate you Mr. President.
I'm glad to see you who have to come a long, long way.
>> [Background Music] She had brought a more relaxed
accessible atmosphere to the White House, even a sense of fun
and the public found it refreshing.
Betty's approval rating shot up to 75 percent.
Because of her popularity,
she was given a grueling campaign schedule during Gerald
Ford's unsuccessful 1976 Presidential bid
and it took its toll exacerbating the excruciating
pain of a pinched nerve that she had been enduring for years.
This brought to the forefront her addiction
to pain killers and alcohol.
In 1978, with the encouragement of her family,
Betty began to seek treatment for her addictions
and then made the brave decision
to again go public with her struggle.
By putting a dignified face on addiction, Betty Ford helped
to de-stigmatize another deadly disease
and inspire thousands to seek treatment.
Later, she would help to found the Betty Ford Center
which has now treated nearly 100,000 patients
and their families.
In the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University
of Michigan, there is a classroom dedicated
to the memory of Betty Ford.
"In the Betty", as it is affectionately called
by students, Betty Ford's legacy is honored
through the exploration
of important public policy questions,
including health and women's issues.
When she received an honorary law degree from the university
in 1976, the Board of Regions noted, "Your style
and substance have earned the admiration of a nation."
These words would ring through throughout her life.
And with her death in 2011, at the age of 93,
the country lost one of its most courageous
and original First Ladies.
[ Music ]
[ Silence ]
>> Good afternoon everybody and welcome.
I'm Susan Collins, the Joan and Sanford Weill Dean
of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy here
at the University of Michigan.
And it is my great honor to welcome all of you here
as the University of Michigan celebrates the life
and the legacy of Mrs. Betty Ford.
We're so pleased today that President Mary Sue Coleman,
Congressman John Dingell and Mrs. Debbie Dingell,
and several of the Universities executive officers
and deans could be here with us today.
Welcome and thank you all so much for coming.
And we could not be more honored that so many members
of the Ford family are here.
The Fords here today spent three generations.
Sons, Mike and Steve; daughter, Susan; daughter-in-law, Gayle,
are all here and they're joined by several grandchildren
of President Ford and even one great grandchild.
I know we're all very eager to welcome them here back
to Ann Arbor and so I'd like to invite the members
of the Ford family, please, to stand.
[ Applause ]
It's really wonderful to have so many of you here with us today.
And now, it is my great pleasure
to introduce our keynote speaker,
Ambassador Nancy Brinker,
founder of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Ambassador Brinker was a very good friend of Mrs. Ford's
and I know that she will tell you much more
about the inspiration and the support
that she found in Mrs. Ford.
Ambassador Brinker was awarded the Presidential Medal
of Freedom in 2009.
She served as US Ambassador to Hungary from 2001 to 2003
and as a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
She served as US Chief of Protocol from 2007 to 2009
and it's really a tremendous honor for us
to have her here with us today.
Please help me welcome to the stage, Ambassador Nancy Brinker.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you Dean Collins
and President Coleman for inviting me.
I really am honored to be here today.
Because the University
of Michigan has always had a special place in my heart
and it's always wonderful to be with my very dear friend,
a long time colleague, Susan Ford Bales,
all of the of the Ford family who are here today, and Debbie
and John Dingell who are also very good friends.
So, Michigan has always been this university very important
to me.
I grew up on the other side of Lake Michigan and Peoria.
And as a student, Michigan was number one
on my very short list of universities.
So in 1963, I send in my application, cross my fingers
and eagerly awaited a response.
Oh, I got one, almost the next day
but it wasn't what I was hoping.
So when I told my mother I was coming here today,
she said, "Oh, good dear.
You finally got in there [laughter]
after all there years."
Well, no one keeps you grounded like your mothers, you know.
But the bottom line is I've got a lot of maize and blue
in my heart even if not on my diploma.
I'm honored to be with all of you truly.
Last summer, I traveled to California
with Secretary Hillary Clinton for Mrs. Ford's funeral.
We talked about Betty's leadership
and the extraordinary influence she had
on all women and our culture.
Our generation looked up to her because she had the courage
to stand up and challenge our society to think
about important issues, to change things that were wrong.
She was an outspoken leader but she led with such grace
and savvy and dignity and she moved our nation forward faster
than if she had had chosen a more confrontational style,
and these were monumental issues.
Her support for gender equality
and for a woman's right to choose.
They were amazing positions
that almost defied our culture at the time.
One key to her success was the relationship with her husband
and his-- and her support for his leadership and his for hers.
As Mrs. Ford was an example to us, so too is President Ford
to a generation of American men.
He showed them that their wives needed to be heard
and that we should invite their thinking into the public debate.
He demonstrated that women not only deserve
to play a central role in the evolution of our nation
but that we would be more united as a result.
That's a lesson anyone involved
in public policy should always take to heart.
For me personally, Betty Ford was a true friend and a mentor,
and Susan G. Komen for the Cure wouldn't be the organization it
is today without her.
When we started out in the early 1980s, nobody,
and I mean nobody gave us much of a chance.
Remember in those days,
you couldn't even say the word breast on television.
Those-- The disease was discussed in whispers
and it's very difficult for students today to comprehend--
to comprehend that with a 24/7 new cycle, social media
and the ability to share opinions instantly
across the world with the mobile device.
So this was the culture we face when we begin our movement
to end breast cancer which was very unpopular at the time.
That's hard to believe but it's true.
And frankly, I was searching and even a little scared
because while I was determined to keep my promise to my sister,
Sussie, who died at the age of 36, and I had promised
that I would help make her dream a reality
to end breast cancer forever.
I frankly didn't know how I was going to do it.
Most people in Dallas circles where I lived
at the time assumed we were just the latest social club,
more interested in tea parties and parties
than trying to change the world.
They thought we'd have a fundraiser, too,
and eventually just give up and quit
and go back to being housewives.
Some men in our community wouldn't even let their wives
put their names on our fundraising invitations.
So it was clear we needed some kind of voice,
some kind of gravitas, some kind of legitimacy,
and only Betty Ford would provide that,
since she was the first public figure to discuss her diagnosis
out in the open and began the enormous culture change needed
to take place in this country.
I thought if we could get her involved,
our credibility level would go through the roof.
But in 1982, we invited her to our very first fundraiser.
We didn't know what else to do,
so we did a women's polo tournament 'cause we thought it
would be great to have people see women do something they
haven't seen before.
Well, you can imagine the surprise I had
when I had placed a call through a friend to ask Mrs. Ford
if she come to that event,
so I was very surprised when she called back.
She said she only had one question, would she have
to ride a horse, [laughter]
but she gave us far more than just her name.
She gave us her leadership and courage to face the future.
She said to me one day, "You'll never know what you can do
until you have to do it."
That was certainly a founding principle
for our organization then as it is now.
For every barrier that was thrown in our way,
we just didn't take no for an answer.
There was no internet so we created events like Race
for the Cure to help build awareness
and reach millions of women.
We couldn't afford Super Bowl ads, so we relied heavily
on cause-related marketing
since it was the only way we could speak
to our target audiences.
We took strong and sometimes controversial positions
on issues of public policy and advocate it for women's health,
and it was all fueled by the passion
of breast cancer survivors who had had no voice,
their families and their friends.
And Betty was there every step in the way every time we called
for an opinion or some advice.
She taught us what I like to call the power of one.
And because of the power of one, we turned a small start
into a huge global movement.
We started as a few volunteers and now,
it is the largest network of cancer activist in the world.
What started as a Race for the Cure with 800 people
on a drizzly morning in Dallas, Texas is now in 150 cities
around the world with more than 2 million runners.
What started as 200 dollars in a shoe box and some names
on cards led to a campaign which has raised and spent
over 2 billion dollars on research, treatment care
and screening, making us the largest private funder
of breast cancer research outside
of the federal government.
And most importantly, most importantly, we've helped along
with others increase the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer
when caught very early from 74 percent
to 99 percent in America.
30 years in this fight brings us to in historic juncture.
While our past has been one of great progress,
we faced an unforgiving future unless we renew our commitment
to winning the ultimate victory.
An important part of the commitment is science.
And the greatest renaissance
in cancer research is happening right now.
In fact, I'm sure many of you saw the recent feature stories
in the New York Times last week
about the four genetically different cancers we've
identified and much
of the research behind these findings are scientist
that we have funded over three decades.
Some of the most promising science we fund is right here
at the University of Michigan.
We have funded 31 research grants totalling almost 11
million dollars for U of M scientist.
Today, at the Comprehensive Cancer Center,
three exceptionally talented scientists, Max Wicha,
Patricia LoRusso and Jeffrey Trent,
are leading a team exploring triple negative breast cancer
stem cells in different racial populations.
The research is now in clinical trials aimed
at developing effective and safe treatment options
and it's all being backed
by a 3-1/2 million dollar promise grant from Susan Komen.
Because of our global reach, the collaborative effort
between Susan Komen and the U
of M has strengthened the oncology infrastructure
for Ghana's Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital,
so that most breast cancers in the region are now diagnosed
by needle biopsy instead of surgery.
And this is only one of the kinds of programs,
this is the only one of a kind program on the African continent
which has the potential to evolutionize the treatment
of triple negative breast cancer and treat other forms
of the disease as well.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure supports several scientists
and their research in Ann Arbor with the host of scholar grants,
postdoctoral fellowships, research awards
and other special projects.
Lori Pierce, Dan Hayes, Lisa Newman,
and Madhuri Kakarala are just a few
of the researchers doing work based on funding we've provided.
This is exciting and as part of the scientific renaissance
and it's all happening because of our strong partnership
with this university.
But I'd like to tell you it's all good news, it's not.
We need to recreate the passion to end the disease that existed,
the kind of passion that existed that ended 30 years ago.
I was in my early 20s when President Nixon, 1971,
led a bipartisan effort with academics business people
and the private sector leaders to begin the war on cancer.
Cancer research was one
of the most admired fields in the country.
People rallied around the project
like at no other time in our history.
But the last time a leader
in science was named Time Magazine's Person
of the Year was almost 20 years ago.
We're in danger now of losing an entire generation of scientist
which is as dark public policy challenge.
We need to support them and it's so encouraging
to see this Michigan scientists working to find cures
for killer diseases instead of the next killer opt.
We need to put cancer research back in the hotline
where it belongs so we can find the treatments faster.
So science is critical and we invest heavily in it.
We also know that science along won't help anyone unless it's
translated to cures and treatments.
So that's where Susan G. Komen also plays a very crucial role
as a leader in civil society.
Government can do a lot, but it can't do it all.
Our affiliates, 120 of them around the United States
and a few of them and here in Michigan focus
on getting research from the desk-side to the curbside
and the bedside which is what we call continuum of care.
It sounds simple but we've learned through our years
of service that low income women who were diagnosed need more
than just treatment for breast cancer,
they need other unrelated support services as well.
They need to be embraced at the beginning of their care
and they need other things like transportation,
patient navigation, and child care, so they can stick
to their regimen of recovery.
When we do this, we see survival rates soar.
That's where the science hits the street and it is critical
for us because how much money you have
or where you live shouldn't determine whether you live.
That is just as true in Michigan as it is in Sub-Saharan Africa,
and it requires public-private partnerships to find solutions
to very difficult challenges more today than ever.
Simply put these partnerships allow everyone
to focus on what they do best.
Things move forward, people are helped and more lives are saved.
The greatest example I can share with you is one
of our newest projects called "Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon".
Its goal is to reduce cervical cancer mortality by 25 percent
in Sub-Saharan Africa while increasing access
to breast care.
Over a hundred thousand women in that continent died that way--
died this way every year.
We launched this project just a year ago in Washington
with a unique partnership between Susan G. Komen,
the Department of State, the George W. Bush Institute,
UNAIDS' initiative, and PEPFAR.
I remember visiting one of the clinics of one
of the PEPFAR clinics, and for those of you who've never been,
they're quite astonishing.
This was in Tanzania five years ago
and I saw the great work being done.
I was struck by how simple it would be to extent
that work even further, to perform cancer screening
on a platform built, to treat communicable diseases
and that's exactly what has happened.
Once again, skeptics told us it just wouldn't work.
The money or infrastructure couldn't happen.
But now, there is an infrastructure.
And before that was built,
we heard all the same skepticism about AIDS treatment.
It had all came to pass and today, this very generous,
this very structures are helping to screen and treat breast
and cervical cancer in places we thought it would be impossible.
Rarely do you find such a natural pairing
of vision-- of missions.
In fighting one disease, we've been able yo fight more
than three diseases and that's the promise
of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon.
It highlights the role that civil society
and private organizations can play in public policy.
Two plus two equals five.
So in Africa, in the US, and at the University of Michigan,
we're making tremendous progress in the fight
against breast cancer which is a strong--
and our partnership has such a strong past.
But the juncture I spoke of earlier is
that while this is tremendous progress,
we face an unforgiving future unless we renew our commitment
to winning this fight.
I want to tell you also that nothing else humanizes this more
than the courageous life story of Bridget Spence
who will anchor a new Susan G. Komen ad campaign this fall.
Seven years ago at the age of 21, Bridget was diagnosed
with Stage IV beast cancer but she's alive today
because Susan G. Komen for the Cure helped her find doctors,
identify treatments, and get support.
She's lived more than twice as long as my sister did
after being diagnosed, which is the sign of progress.
She was supposed to tell that story last week
at a great benefit we had at the Kennedy Center.
She wanted to be there in person but she had
to cancel her appearance.
At the last minute, she was admitted to the hospital.
Thanks-- Thank heaven she was released
and temporarily has begun a new clinical trial
that will hopefully even extend her life a little more.
I'm happy to say she's back at home
and with her great ebullience and wonderful attitude.
She'll fight for her life and live as long
as anyone could with her disease.
But that's where we are, ladies and gentlemen.
That optimism, courage, and hope on the one hand
with a gruesome reality of this disease on the other hand
and so we cannot-- we simply cannot give up.
This is why I'm so pleased at the University of Michigan,
the greater UM community is playing such a leading role
in this fight because we need you more than ever.
And it is precisely because of the work being done here
and around the country, but I am confident we will win our
ultimate victory against breast cancer.
I encourage you as Betty Ford encouraged me to keep
up the fight because you never know how much you can do
until you have to do it.
Thank you for inviting me.
[ Applause ]
[ Silence]
>> Ambassador Brinker, thank you so much
for those very inspiring remarks.
Betty Ford was an accomplished dancer
who made her first public performance at age 8.
Throughout her school year, she was a voracious student
of many styles of dance and just after finishing high school,
she attended a summer dance program at Bennington College
in Vermont where she choreographed--
where choreographer and modern dance pioneer,
Martha Graham, was in residence.
And Martha Graham became Betty's inspiration.
She joined Martha's troop in New York
for two years before returning to Grand Rapids
where she continued to teach dance.
And years later, Mrs. Ford's love for dance
as we've seen injected style and laughter and energy
into the Ford White House.
The First Couple brought dancing back to state dinners
and hosted legendary parties that lasted well into the night.
And of course we can all recall and have just enjoyed
that iconic shot of her on top of the mahogany conference table
in the Cabinet Room striking a beautiful pose
so full of grace and humor.
And anyone who sees that picture knows
that this was a very unique First Lady.
In her 1978 autobiography, "The Times of My Life",
Mrs. Ford reflected, "Dance is my happiness."
And here to celebrate that source of Mrs. Ford's happiness,
it is my pleasure to introduce Miki Orihara, Principal Dancer
of the Martha Graham Dance Company.
Please join me in welcoming her to the stage.
[ Applause ]
[ Silence ]
[ Music ]
[ Silence ]
Thank you, Miki, that was beautiful.
That was the opening dance of Martha Graham's 1940 ballet,
"Letter to the World."
Graham took her inspiration for that work from Emily Dickinson
and the dance evokes Dickinson's curiosity
and eagerness to engage with life.
Miki, thank you once again for that lovely performance.
[ Applause ]
Next, we'll hear tribute remarks from a few people who admired
and loved Mrs. Ford, and as Dean of the Ford School,
I have the tremendous honor of getting started.
At the Ford School, we prepare leaders.
We prepare our students to influence
and improve public policies and we take great pride
in our curriculum, our professional development
and our faculty research.
Mrs. Betty Ford who had no formal training in public policy
yet profoundly influenced some
of the most important public issues
of our time, how did she do it?
She was of course married to a career politician and spent
over 27 years as the wife of a congressman,
vice president, and then president.
But most importantly, Mrs. Ford had conviction.
Outspoken and independent by nature, upbringing
and life circumstance, she had the courage to speak her mind.
It's no surprise that here at the University of Michigan
and at the Ford School,
we consider Mrs. Ford an exemplar for our students.
In 1975, she told a crowd, "I do not believe
that being first lady should prevent me
from expressing my ideas."
And so Mrs. Ford did speak her mind.
She proudly called herself a feminist
and she actively lobbied for the passage
of the Equal Rights Amendment.
After the Watergate scandal and coverup,
her husband took office promising transparency
to the American people and in that charged context,
Mrs. Ford bravely decided
to make public her treatment for breast cancer.
Later in life, her candor about alcoholism
and addiction put a known much loved face on those diseases.
Her outspokenness was not without cost.
Well, she certainly isn't the last first lady
to take criticism for outspoken views on public policy issues,
she was among the first.
In 1975, Mrs. Ford spoke with 60 Minutes about premarital sex
and about her strong support for Roe
versus Wade decision to legalize abortion.
And the White House received a flood of over 28,000 letters,
nearly all of them critical of the first lady.
Some of those letters are on display
at the Ford Presidential Library on North Campus.
I've had the pleasure of spending time
at the Ford Library and it really--
it's one of the gems of Ann Arbor and I encourage all of you
to visit, especially if you've not had the opportunity so far.
At the library, you can read one--
a few of those outraged letters including some
from very prominent people.
But after the initial wave of criticism,
Americans from both sides of the political isle came
to admire Mrs. Ford and her candor and her popularity sword.
In the short run, her husband narrowly lost his campaign
for a second term in office.
But in the long run,
their legacies all right secure and profound.
His, as a man of integrity who helped America to heal,
and hers, as a courageous woman who broke taboos
and saved countless lives.
Throughout her life, Betty Ford spoke her story,
an honest American story about child rearing, work,
illness, recovery and family.
That story resonated with so many of her fellow citizens
in a way that political leaders rarely do.
And in fact, as an immigrant myself whose family is
from Jamaica, I can attest that it resonated
in countries around the globe.
I was fortunate enough to meet Mrs. Ford once
when she invited me to her California home
after I became dean of the Ford School.
And I was strucked by her grace and her graciousness.
She took a deep interest in the activities
of our students in particular.
And each year, we would send her a birthday card
or a birthday video.
And each year, dozens of students in the midst of classes
and assignments and problems sets in their jobs would turn
out to be included in those videos.
Her spirit is very much alive at the Ford School.
And so, to our students in particular, I encouraged you
to look to Mrs. Ford as inspiration and example.
Speak out, find your conviction.
Tell your story, your work, your impact
and your service might be just the living legacy
that President Ford, and the irrepressible Mrs. Betty Ford
would most have treasured.
Thank you.
[ Applause ]
And now, it is my great pleasure to introduce the 13th President
of the University of Michigan, Mary Sue Coleman.
[ Applause ]
>> Well, thank you Susan and thank you
for your leadership of the Ford School.
It's a great honor to take part in this joyful celebration
of Betty Ford's life and legacy.
Throughout her life as a professional dancer,
wife and mother, first lady champion of the arts,
an advocate for women's health and equality.
Betty Ford displayed a confect in an infectious spirit
of candor and courage.
She once described herself as an ordinary woman who was cold
on stage at an extraordinary time.
The grim circumstances that led
to Congressman Ford becoming vice president in 1973
and then president in 1974
after Richard Nixon resigned shocked the country.
It was arguably our nation's most significant constitutional
threat since the Civil War.
Fortunately for us, Betty Ford proved
to be an extraordinary woman and a strong player
on the Ford team working together to restore trust
in government following Watergate.
President and Mrs. Ford helped the nation heal.
In his inaugural address, President Ford said,
"I am indebted to no man and to one woman, my dear wife Betty,
as I begin this difficult job."
Mrs. Ford exercised her influence
and successfully lobbied her husband to appoint more women
to key roles in government.
President Ford once said, he had little choice,
appointing women was the best way to keep me
out of the dog house with Betty.
Speaking at the 1976 Republican Convention,
Cary Grant told delegates, "It would be good for women
to be there-- it would be good for women
if there were four more years of pillow talk
in a Ford White House.
Mrs. Ford once said, "I don't like to be dishonest.
So when people asked me,
I said what I thought and speak," she did.
She was truthful with the American people
about such sensitive topics, at sexuality,
women's rights and addiction.
Her frankness about breast cancer encouraged millions
of women to see their doctors.
Perform monthly exams and get mammograms.
Through interviews, press conferences
and public appearances, Mrs. Ford elevated the visibility
and awareness of women's roles in the world and their right
to be treated as equal.
A career woman, before marrying a handsome Michigan graduate
name Jerry Ford, Betty was a quick study
when it came to politics.
She researched the job of congressman in the Library
of Congress and told a biographer,
"I saw that I would have to grow with Jerry or be left behind.
And I had no intention of being left behind."
She was in the Vanguard and issues affecting women,
their health, and their families.
She agreed with the 1973 Roe V. Wade decision explaining
"I'm glad abortion has been taken out of the back rooms
and put into the hospitals where it belongs."
She campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment.
Before 1974, only two other first ladies, Eleonor Roosevelt
and Lady Bird Johnson,
had publicly lobbied for legislation.
In 1993, she joined Rosalynn Carter in urging the White House
and Congress to include mental health
and substance abuse coverage
and proposed health care reform legislation.
Again, Mrs. Ford was ahead of her time.
She also exercised the traditional responsibility
as a first lady with grace,
including entertaining dignitaries
and redecorating the Oval Office.
She planned and hosted memorable state dinners and was involved
in more than 600 bicentennial celebration events.
Betty Ford was a strong, energetic campaigner
and represented the President on many occasions.
Citizen band radios were popular in the 1970's
and her handle was First Mama.
She would call trackers and urge them to vote for her husband.
"Vote for Betty's Husband" became one
of the campaigns' most popular slogans.
In November 1976, by the end of the campaign,
when Jerry Ford has lost his voice in the election,
it was his team mate Betty who stood by his side.
She was the one who read the traditional telegram
of concession and congratulations
to President-elect Carter.
After the Ford's move to California,
she continued her focus on public health issues,
establishing the Betty Ford Center.
Her lifetime of work received the highest of tributes.
President George H.W. Bush awarded her the Presidential
Medal of Freedom.
Along with President Ford,
she received the Congressional Goal Medal,
the highest honor Congress can bestow on an American citizen.
Betty Ford was a role model.
And not just for women.
She raised our consciousness and helped expand public perceptions
of the roles of women to include family and professional careers.
She showed all of us the value and importance
of integrity, honesty, and dignity.
I first admired Betty Ford from afar.
After coming to the university, I had the great honor
of knowing her and President Ford and calling them friends.
As so many people here know, President
and Mrs. Ford were absolutely delightful.
And together with their children,
they were steadfast supporters of Michigan.
We will miss Betty Ford's dedication and enthusiasm.
We are blessed with the wide ranging impact of her words
and her actions and we'll always remember the gifts that she gave
to our community and our nation.
Family always was important to Mrs. Ford, as a girl growing
up in Grand Rapids and later as a wife and a mother.
We are honored to have her family, her dearest
and most important legacy with us today.
And it is now my great pleasure to introduce Michael Ford,
the oldest son of President and Mrs. Ford and a member
of the Ford School Committee.
Mike is extremely familiar
with the college environment having worked
at Wake Forest University for more than 30 years.
There, he is the Director of Student Development
and works closely with students
to support their academic and personal growth.
Mike and his wife Gayle are the parents of three daughters
and the grandparents to five.
Please join me in a warm Michigan welcome for Mike Ford.
[ Applause ]
[ Pause ]
>> Thank you, President Coleman.
And this is a very special day for Susan and Steve.
Jack can't be with us today but my wife
and our extended family, my wife Gale.
And we are here to celebrate
with you this special lady, Betty Ford.
A year ago, this past July, our family
and all the nation said goodbye to our dear mom, Betty Ford.
And while in the moment, it was a sad parting for all of us.
Her death was a joyiest farewell as mom went home to be
with her father in heaven.
In the midst of our grief, the family knew
that mom had it figured out.
In her final days with us, she expressed
that she had done everything here on earth
that she could possibly do that God had asked her to do
for family, for friends, for the circle of people both near
and far that had looked to her for a direction
and inspiration and leadership.
And besides, dad's birthday was just around the corner,
July 14th and she wanted to go home
and celebrate his birthday with her best friend.
And so, we told her we loved her and that everything was going
to be fine and okay, and that we would say goodbye for now.
And at that time, we remembered mom in California
and we took her home to Grand Rapids to join dad in rest.
And over the past year, we've had the opportunity
to pay tribute to mom in Vail, Colorado and Washington DC
to very special places in her life.
And now, we find ourselves here in Ann Arbor at the University
of Michigan to remember mom to celebrate her life and legacy.
It's only fitting that we're here in Ann Arbor
for mom has a wonderful history here
at the University of Michigan.
When dad was courting mom in the fall of 1946,
he brought her back to Ann Arbor many times to cheer
on the Wolverines on the Gridiron.
Jerry Ford loved the University of Michigan and he was falling
in love with Betty Bloomer Warren.
The Wolverines were having great football season in the fall
of 1947, unbeaten in the Big Ten.
They were so good that they were invited out to the Rose Bowl
in California to play USC.
And yes, my dad followed his team to California
that year for the big game.
This summer when my brothers and sister were going
through my dad's and mom's keepsakes, we came across a copy
of an old Western Union telegram.
It was sent to Ms. Betty Warren.
It was dated January 1st, 1948 from Santa Monica,
California just down the road from the Rose Bowl and it read
"Miss you, dot, dot, dot, wished you were here, dot, dot, dot,
loads of love, Jerry."
On that special New Year's Day, dad had his two special loves
on his heart, the Michigan Wolverines
and Betty Bloomer Warren.
As a historical footnote, I'm pleased to report
that the University of Michigan beat USC 49 to nothing.
[Laughter] [Applause] Many of you know their love story.
Dad and mom were engaged to be married on February of '48.
They were married later that fall on October 15th
in the midst of his campaign to run for the fifth district
of congress which she won.
And their postponed honeymoon was spent, you guess it,
in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan
of football game followed by a trip down the road to Detroit
to participate in the campaign--
Presidential campaign rally of New York Governor Thomas Dewey.
So begin the life in service of Gerald and Betty Ford,
throughout their 58 years of marriage in public service,
they made many trips back to Ann Arbor
and they have created many special memories here.
Mom came to love the University of Michigan
because she loved Jerry Ford, the son of the maize and blue.
Many wonderful things were written and spoken
about my mother when she left us for a better place.
Good words about her candor and her character, her advocacy
for women's health issues and for people fighting dependency
and addiction, her love of the arts, and her commitment
to families in recovery.
And then among all that has been written and spoken,
I think Richard Norton Smith captured the person
and the spirit of mom best when he remembered her
at her funeral in Grand Rapids.
Betty Ford was at once a traditionalist
and a trailblazer, a Sunday school teacher,
and a Seventh Avenue model; she was the feminist next door,
a free spirit with a dress code.
Jack and Steve, Susan, and I knew how these descriptive words
of contrast about mom run so very true.
In April of 2008, we all gathered together as a family
in Palm Springs, California
to help celebrate mom's 90th birthday.
Dad had gone home two years earlier
and so the family circle was a bit incomplete,
but it was a grand occasion nonetheless because there,
in the center of the room sat mom Ford, seated,
surrounded by her children, her grandchildren,
her great grandchildren, and each of us had the opportunity
in our own words to express our love
and our appreciation for mom Ford.
And there were several common themes that seemed to kind
of come out through our words and stories.
We thanked her for the many life lessons that she had taught us,
each of us, especially through the experiences
of personal struggle and brokenness.
We told her how much we admired and respected her
for how she faced the personal crisis and those crucibles
of life being confronted by cancer, battling alcohol
and drug dependency, and then how
in each crisis she demonstrated honesty,
openness, courage, and faith.
We also told mom that we had been instructed and inspired
by how once she faced her life-threatening crisis,
she turned her focus off herself and reached out to those
who were also struggling with the demons of cancer
and alcoholism, taking her own pain and hard-won battles
and with God's help, turning them for the good
for the welfare of so many others
who were traveling a similar road.
And there at her 90th birthday,
we told mom that while we admired her for what she did
in the big moments of life, we also loved her for the many,
many things that she did for us as individuals and as a family
in the little moments of her life in our lives.
My brother Steve described mom's critical role in our family
so well at her funeral in Grand Rapids.
Steve used the metaphor of our family as a fleet
of naval vessels, ships.
Yes, dad was the aircraft carrier
which we can now call the CVN-78, soon to be commissioned.
But the Ford family fleet, for in that fleet,
mom was the hospital ship, for there in the little moments
of life, mom was always there to take care of us.
She was the first one to put her arms around us.
As a child or also as an adult, she was our biggest cheerleader.
If we had a victory, she was the first one
to celebrate it with us.
If we had a defeat, she was the first
to come along side and comfort us.
And this was true for Jack, for Steve, for Susan, myself,
for our children and our grandchildren.
Mom's unconditional love and affirmation for each of us,
throughout our years, through the good times and the not
so good times, gave us incredible life
and redemptive spirit.
We also thanked mom and dad for the model of love and devotion
that they had for one another throughout their 58 years
of marriage.
Because of her love for dad,
mom made many personal sacrifices taking
on the primary role of parenting for very active
and precautious children, while dad gave countless hours
and days serving his constituents, serving the nation
in his various roles of leadership
and as a public servant.
And then in reverse when mom was facing her battles with cancer
and alcohol and drug dependancy, dad's love and devotion
to her was paramount as he stepped forward to care for her
through her recovery and her healing process, and then later
in life, to be her number one supporter with her vision
for the Betty Ford Center.
Finally, we thank mom for showing us how
to know and to love God well.
It was through her personal struggles with their physical
and mental health that mom discovered her first love,
God almighty and her relationship with Jesus Christ.
Throughout her recovery, mom practiced the presence
of God living one day at a time, guided by the Serenity Prayer,
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things
that I can not change, the courage to change the things
that I can and the wisdom to know the difference."
Such an abiding faith and trust in the loving grace giving God
with mom and dad's greatest gift to our family.
When Jack and I were young boys, probably 10 and 8 years old,
dad would take us to his congressional office
on Capitol Hill on Saturdays to get us out of the house
and to give mom a break.
And we would love to go with him
because we always enjoyed running up
and down those massive government hallways
and then getting an ice cream treat at the end of the day.
But before we were released to play hide and seek
in Statuary Hall, dad would sit down, set us both down in front
of [inaudible] and he would have us write a letter to mom.
Tell mom that she is a wonderful mother and a wife
and tell her that you love her.
Those were dad's words to each, to us each Saturday.
And so with dad's encouragement, I speak for our family
and when I say "Mom, you were a wonderful wife,
a wonderful mother, a wonderful grandmother, great grandmother,
a wonderful first lady, a wonderful advocate
for women's rights, a wonderful advocate for women's issues,
a wonderful lover of the arts, a wonderful friend and servant
and child of God and we love you."
It's now my great pleasure to introduce Sandy Weill,
the Chairman Emeritus of City Group.
In addition to the incredible distinguished career
in financial sector, Sandy has served in many capacities
as Director of Federal Reserve Bank in New York,
a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations
and has demonstrated unparalleled commitment
to public service and philanthropy.
Sandy continues to serve on many board's top organizations
and many sectors including education
and health care and the arts.
And Sandy and his wife Joan had been great friends
of the Ford School and of the Ford Family.
And I'm pleased to welcome him to the podium
to share his thoughts on my mother Betty Ford.
[ Applause ]
>> My gosh, just beautiful, beautiful words written down.
Not about me but about your mother.
And I think that everybody here has said fantastic things
about what your mother really accomplished and I just
like to say that Joan couldn't be with us today
because she has spent all week and has continuing to spend time
on picking a new executive director
for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
and therefore she's with her board
and her executive committee and apologizes for not being here.
But I'd like to read some notes from her
that she wanted everybody to know.
She says that she's so very sorry
to miss this wonderful occasion for a woman I have
so much loved and respect for.
The very first time we're graciously invited to stay
up at the Ford's home
for a weekend golf tournament, I really panicked.
To stay in the home of former president and first lady, wow!
So I called my mother for advice and she said,
"Make sure you make your bed."
"Thanks, mom."
However, when we arrived, everyone was so gracious
and put us at ease immediately at least
until I used my hairdryer that evening and blew
out all the electricity in the house.
When the Secret Service realized after searching the whole house
and grounds, guns ready, they did inform me
that I needed a different hairdryer
because of the altitude, my mother did not tell me that.
That weekend was the beginning for me
of a very special relationship with Mrs. Ford.
She was someone I so looked at to and respected.
Her honestly and okness thought me a lot.
I could talk to her about my troubled son
and she gave me good advice.
We traveled together a lot for the company and I learned
so much from her including how to shop in China,
the message was, "Bring a 727."
I feel so privileged to have spent time
with this very special lady.
Those memories will always live me with me always.
I would like-- like to tell you a little bit about my background
with President and Mrs. Ford and talk a little bit
about how they can really help influence the future.
But before I do that Mike, you know,
you know that we really live in a very changing world
and it was interesting for me to hear that in--
was it 1949 that Michigan beat the Southern Cal, 49 to nothing?
In 1951, I was a freshman at Cornell University,
I think I've told you this before.
And Cornell beat Michigan in Football 13 to 7,
never ever to be repeated again.
[Laughter] But I met President Ford and spoke to him
in the first time in 1981 right after he decided to get
out of active politics and not run against Reagan
for the Republican nomination for the president.
And I was told to call him
up because he might be very interested in going at a board
like the company that I ran up that time.
And I wrote down in very big print as I dialed the number
to call him, "Remember call him, Mr. President.
Don't call him Jerry."
And I remember that first call and we made a date
to meet the next week when he was in New York
at Waldorf Astoria and I told them a little bit
about what we're doing and he joined our company
which was then called Shearson Loeb Rhoades,
a year later we merged our company with American Express
and President Ford went on to the board of American Express
with me and for the next 25 years he participated
in every company that I ran right up through Citigroup.
He was an incredible contributor to our company
through his common sense and talking about things
from his experience and Betty was always at his side
at all the meetings we went to.
We went really literally all over the world
with President Ford and Betty to places like Singapore,
to Geneva, Paris, London, Hawaii,
all over the United States.
And they were terrified role models for the people
in our company, everybody looked up to them and it was really--
great, great relationship.
But I think the most important stuff that I think about was
when we broke ground for the Ford School here
at the University of Michigan, and President Ford
and Betty were there and we all had shovels, you know,
shoveling that dirt which was supposed to be the dirt
where the building was going to be built and talking
about how this school can really make a difference
and how the Ford School can really a legacy
for what Betty stood for and what President Ford stood for.
All the things that had been spoken about today
but really the special relationship that they had
with each other, that Joan
and I really saw it firsthand some many, many times
and helped us get through, defend arguments that one has
in the relationship but understanding the value
of a partnership and that we have now been married 57 years
and trying to keep up that thing that they taught us.
[ Applause ]
I think when we think about our government today
and when we think about what the world looks like today,
I think we should all think about Betty and her leadership
and President Ford and what they did as a team and think
about how the Ford school can really turn out better leaders
of tomorrow, people that understand that you got
to work together, people that understand that, you know,
America should be a partnership and we've all found
out through the great recession that we've just going
through that even through America did some bad things
and created a lot of problems there's nobody
yet to take the place of the leadership that our country can
and should provide to the world.
And so I would hope that all of us would think about Betty
and think about President Ford everyday and think
about how we can make this institution
at this university the kind of place that will turn
out the leaders that we need to create the world
that they would love to see.
Thank you very much.
[ Applause ]
[ Silence ]
>> Well, thank you so much, Sandy and Mike and Mary Sue
and I should thank Joan as well for her remarks too.
Ambassador Brinker, our wonderful dancer, Miki Orihara.
I have to say that it has been an honor for us
to host this tribute and really an honor to be able
to bring together and to share so many wonderful remembrances
of the legacy but also of the impact and the power
that Mrs. Betty Ford has had on so many lives and continues
to have, and so again I'd like to thank everybody
who joined us both on the podium speaking, dancing,
all of you who have joined us in the audience and have come
to help us celebrate and recognized her legacy.
Special thanks to all of the members
of the Ford family including those
who are here with us today.
Again, the University of Michigan is so proud
of our continued connection with your parents and so pleased
that their legacies are alive and well here on campus
as we look forward to the many ways that we will continue
to keep that vibrancy and that impact alive.
So, thanks to all of you for coming to join us today.
If you're curios to learn more
about this remarkable first lady, again,
I'd like to encourage you
to visit the Ford Presidential Library and Museum.
Again, our honor to celebrate and to look forward,
thank you very much for joining us.
[ Applause ]
[ Music & Applause ]