Linda Glessner and Andrew Card
Linda Glessner, Executive Director of CIE, and speaker Andrew Card at February 29th UT SAGE event in Austin.

Andrew Card, former White House chief of staff, speaks at UT OLLI event


On February 29, former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card captivated a capacity crowd at Maggiano’s restaurant in Austin as keynote speaker at UT SAGE’s end-of-session social event. During his presentation, Card answered questions from the assembly and presented stories from his personal life and distinguished career of public service. UT SAGE is a component of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (UT OLLI) program in the Division of Continuing and Innovative Education (CIE) at The University of Texas at Austin.

View the photo gallery below.

Card, who now serves as Acting Dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, is best known for his appointment of Chief of Staff under President George W. Bush and for notifying the President that the United States was under attack on 9-11. As Chief of Staff, Card managed the daily operations of the White House staff and participated in a full range of economic, foreign and domestic policy development.

"It was a great pleasure for me to meet and speak with Andrew Card at this UT OLLI event," said Dr. Linda Glessner, Executive Director of CIE. "His participation with UT SAGE is a testament to the strength of UT OLLI as a compelling, vibrant resource for lifelong learners in our community. Hearing of the great dedication to public service required of a White House Chief of Staff was both fascinating and inspiring. His talk took the definition of public service to a whole new level of understanding for all of us.”

At the event, Card spoke passionately on a broad range of topics. One of his most vivid stories was how he learned the value and responsibility of public service at the dining room table of his grandmother. He related the story of how his "Yankee grandmother" was at the heart of the Woman’s Suffrage movement in Boston, and that in the first election open to women, she not only voted, but also sought and was elected to public office as a member of the local school board.

During his own career in public service, Card served three Presidents, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr. and George W. Bush, in various staff and Cabinet positions. He said that he "respects, loves and admires" all three Presidents that he served, "but I am passionate about President George Herbert Walker Bush." He regards the 41st President of the United States as the "epitome of public service."

Card likened his more than five year tenure as White House Chief of Staff to "being married to the President," describing workdays that began at 5:30 a.m. and often did not end until the President had gone to bed at night.

Card lamented the vitriolic atmosphere in today’s national political arena and said there needs to be more focus on the overall objectives of public service instead of partisanship. Card related how he received lots of angry calls and e-mails from Republicans when it was revealed recently that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, would visit the Bush School of Government and Public Service.

"It turned out to be the 25th anniversary of her election to Congress, and we celebrated her service, and she praised the public service of President Bush and the creation of the Bush School," Card said.

He does not favor term limits for Congress for fear of losing some of the experience and wisdom necessary to govern. As an illustration, he described working with the late Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy, with whom he disagreed on many positions, but in whom he placed his trust when dealing with the crisis of the shutdown of the nation’s railroads. Serving almost 47 years, Kennedy was the fourth-longest-serving senator in U.S. history.

Andrew Card was the latest in a long line of distinguished speakers to present at UT OLLI events. Boasting over 1,500 members on our campus, UT OLLI was endowed by the Bernard Osher Foundation to provide educational and social benefits nationwide to adults typically age 50 and over. UT OLLI members enroll in a range of non-credit, non-graded short courses offered purely for the love of learning and the promise of connecting to a social and academic environment. UT OLLI is made up of five groups: UT FORUM, UT LAMP, UT NOVA, UT QUEST and UT SAGE.

For further information and to download membership applications, please visit the UT OLLI Web site or call 512-471-3124.

Reported by Kevin Barry of UT SAGE.

Click on any of the images below to open a larger image from this UT SAGE event.


Bruce Nichols, Andrew Card, Patsy Nichols, Kathy Sangster, Frances Woodrick

Andrew Card speaks to the assembly

Jane Ellen Rhodes, Bev Harlan and Laurie Golding check in the guests.

Becky and Jerry Conn and Barbara Barry

Ellis Titche and Milbrey Raney

George and Frances Ricker

John Yeaman, Pete Pavlos and John Harrison

Gary Pickle and Phil Barnes enjoy the event.


Tags: ut sage, osher lifelong learning institute, olli, linda glessner, andrew card,