Denison Hosts Former Congressman J.C. Watts Jr. To Discuss 'Leadership Lessons From The Sidelines'
Posted: March 12, 2003
GRANVILLE -- Denison University will host retired Republican representative J.C. Watts, Jr. as its next speaker in the Babcock Lecture Series in the American Conservative Tradition. His topic is "Leadership Lessons from the Sidelines and the Aisles of Congress." This convocation, set for 8 p.m. on Monday (March 24) in Swasey chapel, is free and open to the public. During his visit Watts also will be visiting classes and holding informal discussions with students.
Watts returned to Norman, Okla., as a private citizen on Jan. 1, 2003, after serving four successive terms representing Oklahoma's fourth district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Considered the most powerful black Republican legislator in the country, Watts announced last July that he would not seek reelection.
He has recently become chairman of the J.C. Watts companies that were formed to provide public opinion research, image and brand marketing, issue advocacy and coalition building, diversity consulting, U.S. and international business development and communications crisis management.
Watts also is the author of "What Color is a Conservative? My Life and My Politics" with Chriss Winston, published in 2002 by HarperCollins.
Watts was first elected to represent the fourth district of Oklahoma in the U.S. House of Representatives in November 1994 with 52 percent of the vote. He won three more times, each time increasing his margin of victory (1996-58%; 1998-62%; 2000-65%) In 1998 and 2000 his fellow congressmen elected him to serve as the chairman of the House Republican Conference, the fourth highest position in the House. He served on the Armed Services Committee, the Military Readiness Subcommittee and the Procurement Committee. He also was a member of the Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism.
A noted orator, Watts delivered a powerful speech at the 1996 Republic National Convention and was also selected to give the Republican response to President Clinton's 1997 State of the Union address. He was the honorary co-chairman at the 2000 Republican National Convention.
Born on in Eufaula, Okla., Watts graduated from University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1981. He was quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners, leading them to two consecutive Big Twelve Championships and Orange Bowl victories. He was inducted into the Orange Bowl Hall of Honor in 1992.
After playing in the Canadian Football League (1981 to 1986), Watts returned to Oklahoma and became an ordained minister, serving as youth minister and associate pastor at Sunnylane Baptist Church in Del City, Okla.
Watts has received the 1996 Junior Chamber of Commerce Ten Outstanding Young Americans Award, the Jefferson Award for promoting economic prosperity and free enterprise; the Christian Coalition's Friend of the Family Award; the YMCA's Strong Kids, Strong Families, Strong Communities plaque and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Spirit of Enterprise Award.
The late Mary Elizabeth Babcock, a Denison alumna and Johnstown (Ohio) philanthropist, endowed the Mary Elizabeth Babcock Lectureship in the American Conservative Tradition to "bring prominent conservative speakers to campus and thus interpret the genesis, the philosophical undergirding and policy manifestations of the American conservative heritage." She died June 12, 1998 at age 90. Previous Babcock lecturers include: William F. Buckley, James J. Kirkpatrick, George F. Will, Zabigniew Brzezinski, David R. Gergen, Robert Novak, Rickard "Dick" Thornburgh, Jack Kemp, Judge Robert H. Bork, and Robert Dole.
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