August 12, 2013
Presidential daughter Susan Ford Bales makes a special visit to Michigan to deliver the 2013 Albion College William K. Stoffer Lecture, the centerpiece of the College's Opening Convocation. Her presentation, titled “The American Presidency: Before Jerry and Betty—and After,” follows the Convocation processional, which begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 29, in Albion College’s Goodrich Chapel.
The youngest child and only daughter of President Gerald R. Ford and Betty Ford, Ford Bales served as a White House hostess while in high school, following her mother's breast cancer surgery. She worked as a photojournalist for several national magazines before devoting her full energies to public service through advocacy and leadership. With her mother, she helped launch National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and she succeeded Betty Ford as chairman of the Betty Ford Center board of directors, a position she held until 2010.
In addition to her many public service and charitable activities, Ford Bales is the ship's sponsor for America’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), which she will officially christen on Nov. 9, 2013. Since 1981, she has served as a trustee of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation and currently serves as co-chair of the foundation’s Programs Committee. Ford Bales currently sits on several other executive boards, including the President Gerald R. Ford Historical Legacy Trust.
She will also receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters during the ceremony, adding to the special relationship between Albion College and the Ford family. The Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service, established at the College by President Ford in 1977, strives to develop leaders and engaged citizens who understand the competing and conflicting interests of our world and the responsibility to advocate for the greater good. Serving as a bridge between the classroom and real world, the Institute provides internships, professional and alumni networking, service activities and other applied experiences for Albion College students.
The convocation is open to the public and free of charge.