Hinckley Institute names new fellow

By By Chris Mumford

By Chris Mumford

On the day America reflected on the events of 9/11, the U honored a former governor whose response to an earlier terrorist attack, the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City, garnered widespread acclaim.

Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating’s swift action on the day a massive explosive ripped apart the Alfred R. Murrah building and his subsequent work with the attack victims and their families is the centerpiece of an illustrious career that was honored Friday when the U named Keating a 2009 Hinckley Institute fellow.

“Out of those ashes, he has made that city a much more beautiful city,” said Kirk Jowers, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics.

In explaining why Keating was chosen, Jowers cited the former governor’s extensive résumé of experience in public office, including time in the FBI, both houses of the Oklahoma Legislature, the U.S. Treasury Department under Ronald Reagan and the Housing and Urban Development Agency under George H. W. Bush.

“He has lived an incredible life of public service and has done it for the right reasons,” Jowers said.

Praised for showing leadership and compassion in his two terms as governor, Keating used his keynote address at the sixth annual Dialogue on Democracy dinner, held Friday night in the Capitol rotunda, to focus on the importance of civic engagement and the development of character. In particular, he highlighted the virtues of moderation and restraint exemplified by George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt, about whom Keating has written childrens books.

“What was amazing about Washington was he established the two-term rule,” Keating said. “And when it was time to step from the stage, let other men and women take the position (he) had in order to lead this country.”

Keating praised Washington as a man of wealth who made great sacrifices for our country and Roosevelt as a man who overcame challenges to achieve greatness.

“We are so blessed that we had two men like that, so we could share the character, the integrity, the decency, the honor, the courage, the perseverance of people like that with young men and women and tell them, not only do you have an opportunity to be great like those men, you have an obligation to try to be great,” he said.

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and U President Michael Young were also among the attendees Friday night, both using the occasion to promote civic engagement and partnerships between students and community leaders.

In his remarks, Young reeled off a slew of statistics that show a precipitous overall decline in the levels of deadly conflicts and poverty worldwide since 1990, crediting increased civic engagement with driving the downward trend.

“As much as we hear on the TV and radio about the world being a terrible, terrible place, if you actually think statistically and think broadly, it’s amazing the kinds of positive change that have occurred,” Young said.