FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 21, 2009
Contact: Macaulay Knight Whitaker
Former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen to speak at MUW’s Welty Gala
COLUMBUS, Miss. – The community will have an opportunity to get up close and personal with former U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, who is set to speak at Mississippi University for Women’s Welty Gala on Sept. 24. The event is slated for 7 p.m. in the Mary Ellen Weathersby Pope Banquet Room on campus. A book signing and question and answer session will follow the program.
Cohen is the chairman and chief executive officer of The Cohen Group, a strategic business consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., which assists multinational clients from all sectors of the economy to develop and implement strategic plans, identify and pursue business opportunities, identify and manage risks, and overcome problems in quickly changing markets around the world. The Cohen Group has a strategic alliance with DLA Piper, the world's second largest law firm.
"We are delighted to have Secretary William Cohen as our speaker at this year's Welty Gala,” said Dr. Gary Bouse, president of the MUW Foundation. “We are certain that his first hand knowledge of the challenges and threats that face our country today will be of interest to our faculty, students, supporters and the local community. We are honored to have such an accomplished leader on campus for this year's Gala."
Cohen currently serves on the corporate boards of CBS and Head Sports and on the
advisory boards of Barrick Gold International and Harmony Airways. He is a senior
counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and is the weekly world affairs contributor for CNN’s “Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”
Cohen served as the 20th U.S. secretary of defense under President Bill Clinton, from January 1997 to January 2001, where he oversaw the largest organization in the U.S. with a budget of $300 billion and three million military and civilian personnel. As defense secretary, he was responsible for reversing a decade-and-a-half of continuous decline in the defense budget and the defense procurement budget, which he increased by nearly 50 percent; the largest military pay raise in a generation; and adoption of electronic commerce and other best business practices in the defense department. In addition, under his leadership, the United States Military conducted the largest air warfare campaign (Bosnia/Kosovo) since World War II and conducted other military operations on every continent. His term as secretary of defense marked the first time in modern U.S. history that a president has chosen an elected official from the other party to be a member of his cabinet.
As a United States Republican senator for Maine from 1979 to 1997, he was a recognized expert on defense and international issues, health care and government procurement. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives for three terms (1973 to 1979), and as mayor of Bangor, Maine (1971 to 1972). While in Congress, he served on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings in 1974 and the Iran-Contra Committee in 1987.
Cohen was born in Bangor, and received a B.A. in Latin from Bowdoin College in 1962 and a law degree from Boston University Law School in 1965. He has written or coauthored 11 books. His most recent book was co-authored with his wife Janet and titled “Love in Black and White: A Memoir of Race Religion and Romance(2007).”
For more information and tickets, please call the MUW Foundation at (662) 329-7148.
Proceeds from the Gala benefit the endowment for the Eudora Welty Chair in Humanities. The Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation is a sponsor of the Welty Series.