Blair Center Launches Spotlight Series With Bill Clinton's Former Chief of Staff

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – How do you go from University of Arkansas student to White House chief of staff? That's precisely what the first interview in the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society's new Blair Spotlight Series aims to uncover.

Be there to find out at 6:30 p.m. on April 21 in Giffels Auditorium, during "From the U of A to the Oval Office: Skip Rutherford Interviews Mack McLarty."

This talk will be the inaugural interview in the new Blair Spotlight Series, which brings influential public figures to the U of A campus to reflect on their journey from student life to the national spotlight. It is free and open to the public.

Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty III, former Associated Student Government president at the U of A turned White House chief of staff for President Bill Clinton, will be the first featured guest while James L. "Skip" Rutherford, dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service and former Arkansas Traveler editor, will conduct the interview.

"We are very excited that Mack will be sharing his story with our students and the community," said Todd Shields, dean of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. "His interview is sure to be insightful as well as inspiring, and to shed new light on the interworkings of the oval office from a true first-hand perspective."

Angie Maxwell, Blair Professor of Southern Studies and associate professor of political science, said, "Dean Rutherford and Mr. McLarty show our students that the possibilities for their lives are endless. There are no doors closed to them if they are willing to work as hard as our two guests exemplify. It will be an evening we'll all be thinking and talking about in the weeks and months ahead, especially during this presidential election season."

McLarty, of Hope, Arkansas, was student body president at the U of A from 1967-68. A member of Sigma Chi fraternity, he founded the campus transit system and was named to Who's Who among American Universities and Colleges. At age 23, he was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives. After leaving the White House, he joined with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in an international consulting business. He is now chairman of McLarty Associates, an international advisory firm, and McLarty companies, a fourth generation family business with offices in Little Rock, Dallas, Hope, Washington, and New York.

Rutherford, of Little Rock, is dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. The Clinton School opened in 2005 and is located on the grounds of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock. It was the first school in the country offering a master's degree in public service. A graduate of the U of A, he received the Department of Journalism's first Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has an extensive private sector background in communications and public relations and has served as a visiting professor at the U of A; Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas; the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas; and the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas. In 2015 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Hendrix College.

About the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society: The Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society was established in 2001 by an act of the U.S. Congress. Named for Diane Divers Blair, who taught political science for 30 years, the center studies the American South from a variety of angles to reveal the undercurrents of politics, history and culture that have shaped the region.

About the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with 19 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students and is named for J. William Fulbright, former university president and longtime U.S. senator.


Angie Maxwell, assistant professor
Department of Political Science

Andra Parrish Liwag, director of communications
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences


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