Robert Kerrey, current president of New School University, 9-11 Commissioner, and former U.S. senator from Nebraska will deliver the Stein Lecture in Ethics as part of the Assembly Series at 4 p.m. Feb. 8 in Graham Chapel. His talk, “Uncovering the Truth in a Democratic Society,” will focus on his work with the 9-11 Commission.
After completing pharmacy school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kerrey joined the U.S. Navy in 1965 and was trained as a SEAL specializing in underwater demolition. He became a highly decorated Vietnam veteran and was awarded America’s Medal of Honor. In 1969 a grenade explosion injured Kerrey, resulting in leg amputation.
Returning to Nebraska and civilian life, he became a businessman, building up a chain of successful restaurants and health clubs.
Kerrey switched his registration from Republican to Democrat in 1978, and in 1982 made a successful run for the governorship of Nebraska, a heavily Republican state. He then declined to serve a second term. When U.S. Senator Edward Zorinsky died in 1987, Kerrey re-entered politics and won the seat.
In the Senate, Kerrey served on the Intelligence Committee, co-chaired the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform and headed the Congressional Web-Based Education Commission. Kerrey made a failed bid to become a Democratic presidential nominee in 1992.
New School University offered Kerrey its head position in 2001. That same year, he confessed to his involvement in a tragic incident in Vietnam as a leader of a team that killed a number of innocent woman and children. This episode is chronicled in his 2002 memoir, When I Was A Young Man: A Memoir.
Kerrey continues to serve the public interest by co-chairing the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan, grass-roots organization advocating fiscal responsibility while ensuring that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are secure for all generations.
Assembly Series talks are free and open to the public. For more information, call 935-4620 or go online to http://assemblyseries.wustl.edu.