2017 Taplin Environmental Lecture: The Honorable James A. Baker, III
Taplin Environmental Lecture by The Honorable James A. Baker, III, 61st U.S. Secretary of State
James A. Baker, III, has held senior government positions under three U.S. presidents. He served President George Bush as the nation’s 61st Secretary of State from January 1989 through August 1992, a period when the United States confronted the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the post–Cold War era. Mr. Baker served as the 67th Secretary of the Treasury from 1985 to 1988 under President Ronald Reagan. He served twice as White House Chief of Staff — from 1981 to 1985 under President Reagan and from 1992-1993 under President Bush. His record of public service began in 1975 as Under Secretary of Commerce to President Gerald Ford. Long active in American presidential politics, Mr. Baker led presidential campaigns for Presidents Ford, Reagan, and Bush over the course of five consecutive presidential elections from 1976 to 1992.
A native Houstonian, Mr. Baker graduated from Princeton University in 1952 with a bachelor’s degree in History. After two years of active duty as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, he entered The University of Texas School of Law at Austin and graduated with honors in 1957. Mr. Baker is a senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts L.L.P. He is Honorary Chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and serves on the board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In recent years, he has served with former Congressman Lee Hamilton as co-chairmen of the Iraq Study Group, with President Jimmy Carter as co-chairmen of the Commission on Federal Election Reform and with the late Secretary of State Warren Christopher as co-chairmen of the National War Powers Commission. He and his wife, the former Susan Garrett, reside in Houston, and have eight children and 18 grandchildren.