The Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication

About Marlin Fitzwater

In the historical context of our nation's public communication, Marlin Fitzwater stands alone. This Kansas native spent a decade in the front row of history, as press secretary to Presidents Reagan and Bush. From l983 to l992, his voice reassured the world in times of turmoil and change. Today he is an author and lecturer whose presidential anecdotes, political analysis, and television commentary have received worldwide attention.

As the only press secretary in history to be appointed by two Presidents, Fitzwater became known to millions of Americans as the voice of the 26-nation coalition in the Persian Gulf War. Often wearing a wide brim hat and an open smile, Fitzwater stood next to two Presidents during cold war summits, economic downturns, and eight military conflicts. He gave over 850 press briefings in six years, winning praise from the news media and the public for his honesty and good humor.

He was named an Outstanding Civil Servant in government in l980; received the nation's second highest civilian award, the Presidential Citizens Medal, from President Bush in l992; served on the Board of the Woodrow Wilson School for International Scholars, and has received numerous other awards and honorary doctorate degrees.

He has been a member of the Franklin Pierce University Board of Trustees since 1999, and he additionally serves as a Member of the Advisory Board of the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication.

Comments made at the dedication of the Fitzwater Center

George H.W. Bush"Just as the press has been a vital part of this successful experiment in self-governance, now 226 years young, so too is the free press one of the foundational pillars on which the students who pass through these halls over here will build a new American century of hope, opportunity, and freedom for generations to come. As we chart our course forward, it is my hope and belief that the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication will foster substantive debates and in so doing, offer a positive contribution to those entrusted to oversee our nation's media. To all future students here at this Fitzwater Center, I would simply say that you can hardly do better than study the quiet, selfless example set by your namesake, this son of Abilene, Kansas. And then seek to emulate his genuine decency in your own lives."  - George Herbert Walker Bush, 41st President of the United States

Sam Donaldson"The Marlin Fitzwater Center is going to be a place where students can learn the principles of integrity, of public policy, of doing things right when it comes to communicating information from our government, or officials of any other bureaucracy, to the public." - Sam Donaldson,
ABC news anchor and commentator, legendary member of the Washington Press Corps

Mike McCurry"If we can teach one thing here at this Center, I hope it will be that communication in this age of 24/7 news cycles and all-crisis-all-the-time broadcasts, and technology that amazes us with its capacity and reach, that communication is still in the end about human beings conversing with each other. When it comes to political communication, we need to be more civil and more decent in the way we converse." - Mike McCurry, Press Secretary to President Bill Clinton from January 1995 to October 1998

To learn more about the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication, please contact:
Kristen D. Nevious, Ph.D., 603-899-1039 or neviousk@franklinpierce.edu
Director, Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication

 

Marlin Fitzwater