Mississippi College

Scholarship Banquet Attracts More than $200,000

March 31, 2009

Fox News contributor Karl Rove attracted state leaders to Mississippi College and help boost MC scholarships by more than $200,000.

The former White House Deputy Chief of Staff under President George W. Bush, Rove delivered the keynote speech Monday night at MC's annual spring scholarship banquet.

Dubbed "The Architect," for steering Bush's two White House campaigns to victories in 2000 and 2004, Rove wasn't bashful as he spoke about America's record $787 billion stimulus package, the Obama administration and other items inside the Washington Beltway.

The Colorado native was busy at the podium early on as he began introducing a large delegation of his family from Mississippi, including some with MC ties.

His MC visit drew such leaders as Gov. Haley Barbour, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, Agriculture Commissioner Lester Spell and state Treasurer Tate Reeves.

During his remarks, Rove, who also pens a column for "The Wall Street Journal," took shots at the economic stimulus package recently signed by President Obama. He read all 1,300 pages of the bill. It includes "every spending hope dreamed up by Congress" over the past 20 years, Rove said.

The bill is filled with thousands of earmarks, Rove noted. "Do we really need all of that pork?" he asked.

As America fights the recession with massive spending bills, "we are ready to face the most dramatic expansion of government in our lifetime," Rove insisted.

During his time at the White House, Rove oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs. He worked 15 steps from the Oval Office.

Bryant, who received a master's in political science at MC and has taught political science classes as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, introduced Rove to the crowd. After his speech, MC School of Law Dean Jim Rosenblatt asked the speaker to comment on questions from the audience of more than 500 guests at Anderson Hall.

Rove, whose commentaries on Fox News are seen by millions of television viewers, received strong approval ratings from his MC listeners. The audience on the Clinton campus included business leaders, trustees, and MC administrators. Blue Mountain College President Bettye Coward was among others on hand for the special event.

"I enjoyed it tonight," said Agriculture Commissioner Spell as he exited the B.C. Rogers Student Center on a balmy March evening. "It was one of the most interesting talks I've attended. He gave a fair and balanced perspective of his topic."

Earlier in the day at MC, Rove stopped by to deliver remarks to classes on the Clinton campus and the MC School of Law in downtown Jackson.

Former U.S. Senate Majority leader Bob Dole last March was the keynote speaker at last year's initial spring scholarship banquet at Mississippi College.

With his image on two giant screens behind him, Rove also took time to talk about his family's struggles to make it decades ago. His grandfather, he recalled, barely graduated from high school and needed to use newspapers as insulation at his Colorado home. His grandfather sold knives in southern Colorado to earn a living. "My grandfather was pretty ordinary," Rove said.

The ex-White House staffer stays on the go with speaking engagements nationwide - from colleges to families of Navy Seals.

As President Lee Royce, Board of Trustees Chairman Wayne Parker, student leaders and others looked on, Rove closed by praising 183-year-old MC, the nation's second oldest Baptist university. "Thanks again for what you do - for a wonderful school."

Photo: Karl Rove, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff under President George W. Bush, delivers keynote speech at MC's scholarship banquet.

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