History of the John J. Rhodes Lecture

The John J. Rhodes Chair in Public Policy and American Institutions in Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University, celebrates the career of public service of one of Arizona’s and the nation’s most distinguished leaders. The Rhodes Chair is dedicated to deepening theoretical and practical understanding of the many voices and forces that influence public policy. The Chair honors the values of personal integrity, fiscal responsibility, respect for persons, and international farsightedness exemplified in the Honorable John J. Rhodes’ career.

The John J. Rhodes Chair was named an Arizona Heritage Chair by former ASU President, Lattie Coor. ASU Heritage Chairs honor the achievements and values of Arizona leaders whose life work helped shape the character of both Arizona and our metropolitan area. An archive of John J. Rhodes’s congressional papers is available in the Special Collections at Hayden Library on the ASU Tempe Campus.

John Jacob Rhodes – The Honorable John J. Rhodes represented Arizona in the United States House of Representatives for 30 years, from 1952-1982. During his distinguished career, John Rhodes served as the Minority Leader of the House from 1973 – 1981.  Congressman Rhodes exemplified the values of personal integrity, fiscal responsibility, respect for persons of all political beliefs, and international foresight. His dedication to the country was perhaps best exemplified by his leadership role during Watergate, where ultimately, along with Senators Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott, he was one of three Republican congressional leaders who influenced Richard Nixon to resign as President.

In Arizona and Washington, John Rhodes was known as a gifted legislator and a leader who was willing to work with leaders from both parties.  Through his entire career in Congress, he worked tirelessly, along with other great Arizona leaders, to bring the Central Arizona Project to fruition.

Upon his retirement, John Rhodes’ family and many of his friends wanted to establish an enduring tribute to his leadership.  Because John and his wife, Betty, had long been supporters of higher education, the family chose an endowment for the John J. Rhodes Chair in Public Policy and American Institutions and selected Barrett, The Honors College at ASU to become the Chair’s “home.”  The Rhodes Chair reflects John Rhodes’ commitment to public service and higher education. The Chair is dedicated to discussion and dialogue about the most challenging issues facing our society, now and in the future. Holders of the Rhodes Chair are individuals whose work embodies John Rhodes’ commitment to the betterment of our nation through inspired and fair-minded leadership and devotion to service.  An archive of John Rhodes’ congressional papers is available in the Special Collections at Hayden Library on the ASU Tempe Campus.

2014Jay KopelmanFrom Baghdad to America: Life After War
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2013Leroy Chiao"Warp Speed: How Technology is Accelerating and the Importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)"
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2012Jessica Jackley"Alleviating Poverty through Social Justice, Social Entrepreneurship, and Social Finance"
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2011David Kessler“Public Health Policy in America: Who Wins, Who Loses”
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2010Guy Dauncey"The Challenge of Tackling the Global Warming Crisis"
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2009Jonathan Alter"The New Defining Moment: Perspectives on the Presidency and Democracy"
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2008Eric Schlosser"Fast Food Nation: What the All American Meal Means to Your Health and Well Being"
2007Aaron Brown"Journalism in Our Times"
2006Sylvia Ann Hewlett"Gender and Policy: Domestic and International Perspectives"
2005Hal Harvey"Policies for a Clean Energy Future"
2004David Levy"Space Policy and America's Future: Igniting the Imagination"
2003Jean Strouse"JP Morgan and Corporate Integrity: From Railroads to Enron"
2002Donald Fixico"American Indian Leadership throughout History"
2001Jonathan Weiner"The New Biology: Three Dreams and Three Nightmares"
2000Senator Alan Simpson"An Overview of Congress: Where You Stand Depends on Where You Sit"