Houston Treasures for 2005
Photo by: Gittings
James A. Baker, III has served in senior government positions under three United States Presidents. He was Ronald Reagan’s Treasury Secretary and George H. W. Bush’s Secretary of State. During his tenure at the State Department, Mr. Baker traveled to 90 countries as the United States confronted the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the post Cold War era. In 1995, Mr. Baker published The Politics of Diplomacy, his reflections on those years of revolution, war and peace.
Mr. Baker’s record of public service began in 1975 as Under Secretary of Commerce to President Gerald Ford. Mr. Baker led presidential campaigns for Presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush over the course of five consecutive elections from 1976 to 1992 and also served as White House Chief of Staff to Presidents Reagan and Bush.
A native Houstonian, Mr. Baker graduated from Princeton University in 1952. After two years of active duty as a Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, he earned his J.D. with honors in 1957 from the University of Texas Law School and practiced law with the Houston firm of Andrews and Kurth until 1975.
Mr. Baker has received many prestigious awards for distinguished public service, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Mr. Baker is presently a senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts and Senior Counselor to The Carlyle Group, a merchant banking firm in Washington, DC. He is Honorary Chairman of the James A. Baker, III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and serves on the board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Susan Garrett Baker is a founding member and Co-Chairman of National Alliance to End Homelessness, an organization that works to prevent and end the tragedy of homelessness. She also serves on the Board of the Enterprise Foundation, a non-profit organization that facilitates the creation of low-income housing. She has she served as a board member for the Families of Homeless, a bipartisan group of concerned government and media families. This organization produced a photographic exhibition titled “Homeless in America”, which traveled to museums around the country, and was documented in a book and video of the same title to help personalize the issue of homelessness for the public at large. Mrs. Baker serves on the boards of the Neighborhood Centers, Inc. and the Houston Food Bank.
In December 1999, she was part of a team that organized and hosted A Gathering of Friends in Amman, Jordan, Bethlehem and Jerusalem to celebrate the 2000th birthday of Jesus of Nazareth, a conference focusing on Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness and reconciliation.
The Bakers again live in Houston and are the parents of eight children and sixteen grandchildren.