- 2012 - 61st Secretary of State - James A. Baker, III
- 2011 - Astronaut and Artist - Alan Bean
- 2010 - Heavyweight Champion and Entrepreneur - George Foreman
James A. Baker, III has served in senior government positions under three U.S. presidents. He served as the nation's 61st secretary of state from January 1989 through August 1992 under President George Bush. During his tenure at the State Department, Baker traveled to 90 foreign countries as the United States confronted the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the post-Cold War era.
Baker served as the 67th secretary of the treasury from 1985 to 1988 under President Ronald Reagan. As treasury secretary, he was also chairman of the President's Economic Policy Council. From 1981 to 1985, he served as White House chief of staff to President Reagan. Baker's record of public service began in 1975 as under secretary of commerce to President Gerald Ford. It concluded with his service as White House chief of staff and senior counselor to President Bush from August 1992 to January 1993.
Long active in American presidential politics, 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, Baker graduated from Princeton University in 1952. After two years of active duty as a lieutenant in the U. S. Marine Corps, he entered The University of Texas School of Law at Austin. He received his J.D. with honors in 1957 and practiced law with the Houston firm of Andrews and Kurth from 1957 to 1975.
Baker's memoir "Work Hard, Study . . . and Keep Out of Politics! Adventures and Lessons from an Unexpected Public Life" was published in October 2006.
Baker received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 and has been the recipient of many other awards for distinguished public service, including Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson Award, The American Institute for Public Service's Jefferson Award, Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government Award, The Hans J. Morgenthau Award, The George F. Kennan Award, the Department of the Treasury's Alexander Hamilton Award the Department of State's Distinguished Service Award, and numerous honorary academic degrees.
Baker is presently a senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts. 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. From 1997 to 2004, Baker served as the personal envoy of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in seeking a political solution to the conflict over Western Sahara. In 2003, Baker was appointed special presidential envoy for President George W. Bush on the issue of Iraqi debt. In 2005, he was co-chair, with former President Jimmy Carter, of the Commission on Federal Election Reform. In 2006, Baker and former U.S. Representative Lee H. Hamilton served as the co-chairs of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan blue-ribbon panel on Iraq. In 2008, Baker and the late Secretary of State Warren Christopher served as co-chairs of the National War Powers Commission.
Mr. Baker was born in Houston in 1930. He and his wife, the former Susan Garrett, currently reside in Houston, and they have eight children and 18 grandchildren.
Alan Bean was born in Wheeler, Texas, in 1932. He graduated from high school in Ft. Worth in 1950 where in his last year he was selected for a NROTC scholarship at the University of Texas at Austin. Five years later he was awarded a bachelor's in science and was commissioned Ensign, United States Navy.
In 1956 he completed flight training and was awarded Naval Aviator wings. He was assigned to Jet Attack Squadron 44 in Jacksonville, Fla. Four years later he was selected for the Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland. When his schooling was completed, Bean was assigned to the Service Test Division. Bean spent three exciting years as a test pilot, flying almost every type of plane in the Navy service.
During this time, his latent interest in art strengthened and he enrolled in night classes in drawing and watercolor at nearby St. Mary's College. Bean was testing high performance airplanes in the day time, and drawing and painting nights and weekends.
In 1963 Bean was selected as an astronaut for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He was the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 12, man's second Lunar Landing. Bean became the fourth man to set foot on the moon.
In 1973 Bean again flew in space as Commander of Skylab Mission II. This mission lasted 59 days and traveled 24.4 million miles. His crew accomplished 150 percent of their pre-mission goals, a record unequaled, even today.
After Skylab, Bean was selected as backup spacecraft commander for the joint American-Russian Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Bean then served as Chief of Operations and Training and Acting Chief Astronaut until the first flight of the space shuttle.
Throughout Bean's career as an astronaut, when not in specific mission training, he took courses at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Glassell School of Art and from a number of talented fine artists in the Houston area at nights and on the weekends.
It was during this period that many of his fellow astronauts began asking, "Alan, why do you keep painting the same subjects that all earth bound artists have been painting since painting was invented? You are the first artist to visit another world, a world completely different from planet Earth, and you could be the first to paint our experiences there. You could tell our story, what humans do when we first explore distant worlds and share that experience with all of us."
They were right on. Although Bean was training to command an early space shuttle mission, he realized that there were young men and women in training that could fly those as well or better than he could, but he was the only one of the 12 humans that walked on the moon and was able to celebrate the great adventure that was Apollo in fine art. So, in 1981, Bean resigned as a NASA astronaut to devote his time and energy to painting.
While at NASA, Bean helped establish 11 world records in spaced and astronautics. He was awarded two NASA Distinguished Service Medals and two Navy Distinguished Service Medals. He has received the Robert J. Collier Trophy, Yuri Gagarin Gold Medal and numerous other national and internationals honors. He is listed in all major Who's Who. He has been on the cover of Time and Life magazines, appeared on many television talk shows and was the subject of a prime-time program on the Public Broadcast System. Bean has flown 27 types of military aircraft as well as many civilian airplanes and has logged 7,145 hours of flight time.
For the last 28 years, Bean has been a full-time professional artist. The transition has not been without a lot of thought and effort. Bean vowed when he resigned from NASA that he would not be an astronaut that paints, but rather become "an artist that used to be an astronaut." And so he has, continuing his art education at the Museum of Fine Arts Glassell School, private study with talented professional artists in Houston, and taken a variety of selected painting workshops throughout the U.S.
Over the years his work has evolved into a mixture of painting and sculpture, textured with lunar tools, sprinkled with bits of his Apollo 12 spacecraft and the emblems and flag from the spacesuit he wore on the moon. These emblems, awarded to Bean by NASA, even today remain dusted with a touch of moondust from the Ocean of Storms.
Bean has had a number of exhibitions during his long career, the most recent at the Butler Museum of American Art, in Youngstown, Ohio. At that show he was awarded the prestigious Butler Gold Medal For Life Achievement in Art.
"I want to record, in fine art, paintings that will tell future generations of humankind's first exploration of another world. We are at a pivotal point in history as we move off this planet. It's going to take a while, and it may be decades until other artists gaze across the surface of the Moon and lift their eyes up toward the distant Earth, that blue marble in the sky, but that day will come."
It may be a lifetime or more before the first artist walks on the Red Planet and worlds beyond, but this, too, shall come to pass. The body and nature of paintings from other worlds will grow beyond our ability to imagine, but these paintings Alan Bean is creating now, will forever be the very first.
George Edward Foreman Sr. was born to JD and Nancy Foreman on January 10, 1949, in the town of Marshall, Texas. An impoverished youth, Foreman often bullied younger children and didn't like getting up early for school. Foreman became a mugger and brawler on the hard streets of Houston's 5th ward by age 15.
George Foreman, from Thug to Boxer
George attended the Lyndon Johnson's Job Corps program, which helped troubled kids. Foreman traveled to California, where he met Job Corps counselor and boxing coach Doc Broaddus, who encouraged Foreman to become a fighter.
After only 24 amateur fights, the culmination of his amateur boxing career came at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, where he won a gold medal. George got extra attention when he brandished an American flag after his win; "I wanted everyone in the world to know I was an American," he later explained, "and proud of the opportunity that I was given to do what I had done."
Foreman Becomes Heavyweight Champ
In 1969, Foreman turned professional. Within two years, Foreman was ranked the No. 1 challenger by the WBA and WBC; by 1972, Foreman's impressive record was 37 wins (most by knockout) and no losses.Foreman became the heavyweight champion on January 22, 1973 after knocking out the great Joe Frazier in Kingston, Jamaica. An unprecedented TV audience watched Foreman become the champ - the fight was HBO Boxing's first-ever broadcast.
In the summer of 1974 George Foreman lost his title in what is considered one of the greatest fights of all time, the much-hyped "Rumble in the Jungle" in Kinshasa, Zaire. After taking 1975 off, Foreman returned to boxing, winning a number of fights before losing by decision to Jimmy Young in Puerto Rico in 1977. It was in his dressing room after the fight that Foreman had a religious experience; he then gave up boxing and became a born-again Christian.
George was ordained a minister and began preaching in his hometown of Houston, Texas. In 1984, he founded the George Foreman Youth and Community Center, a non-denominational place for kids who need direction like he once did. In order to continue his positive work in the community, in 1987 Foreman decided to return to boxing!
Many people doubted George's ability, but he proved his detractors wrong when he kept winning fights into his 40s; in 1991 he had a shot at the title, but lost to champ Evander Holyfield by decision.
The loss made George stronger! In 1994 Foreman took on the new champ Michael Moorer, and knocked him out in the 10th round; Foreman became, at 44, the oldest fighter ever to win the heavyweight crown.
George Foreman & the Lean Mean Grilling Machine
By the time Foreman retired from boxing (again) in 1999, he was well on his way to a second career as a businessman. Since the early 1990s, Foreman had discovered his talent for salesmanship, and by the end of the decade, he was making millions off of infomercials marketing the George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine which has sold over 100 million units to date.
George has now successfully launched a line of environmentally safe cleaning products which can be seen at www.letgeorgecleanit.com, an exclusive line of personal care products, a health shake called George Foreman's Life Shake, a prescription shoe for diabetics to prevent amputations, a restaurant franchise called UFood Grille, 10 books, and the list continues to build.
When not promoting his products, George tends to his ministry and charitable work, including most recently his "Knock-Out Pediatric Cancer" initiative. He spends free time with his family or with his horses on his ranch in Marshall.