John J. Rhodes Lecture

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James N. Mattis

 Barrett, The Honors College will be hosting James N. Mattis as the 2020 John J. Rhodes lecturer featuring his keynote titled “Thwarting Threats And Nurturing Allies In Today’s Global Affairs”.

The lecture will be taking place on Wednesday, February 12th 7:30 p.m. at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

Please note tickets will be available Wednesday, January 22nd 

Get Tickets Here

(Tickets are free, but service charges may apply). 

Speaker Biography

A dedicated patriot, intellectual, and strategist, former Secretary of Defense and retired Marine General James N. Mattis exemplifies principled leadership in times of turbulence. One of the preeminent leaders of his generation, Gen James Mattis has spent nearly 50 years in the service of his country. Renowned for his diligent study of war, and his dogged efforts on the battlefield, Gen Mattis is described as a principled commander who isn't afraid to tell it like it is.

A rare combination of thinker and doer, and scholar and strategist, Gen Mattis knows the monumental powers and responsibility of our military forces, and the challenges of our dangerous and complex world. His matchless dedication to his job and country earned him universal respect and reverence – from allies and adversaries alike.

Gen Mattis served as the 26th Secretary of Defense of the United States for nearly two years before resigning with distinction. With his reputation as a sharp analyst and venerable wartime leader, Gen Mattis received nearly unanimous, bipartisan support for his nomination. A living Marine Corps legend, he made history by securing special permission from Congress to lead the Pentagon, sooner than he was eligible. 

History of the 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.


Year Presenter Title
2019 John Brennan
2018 Jeff Flake and Jon Kyl
2017 Jeffrey Toobin
2016 Mara Liasson
2015 Mary Frances Berry
2014 Jay Kopelman
2013 Leroy Chiao
2012 Jessica Jackley
2011 David Kessler
2010 Guy Dauncey
2009 Jonathan Alter
2008 Eric Schlosser
2007 Aaron Brown
2006 Sylvia Ann Hewlett
2005 Hal Harvey