A Brief Biography of Commencement Speaker Sen. Richard G. Lugar '54
Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
by Fleur W. Metzger
Denison University Publications Editor
Born in Indianapolis in 1932, Sen. Richard G. Lugar '54 is the oldest of three children. An Eagle Scout, he graduated first in his class from both Shortridge High School in Indianapolis and from Denison. As an undergraduate, he served as co-president of the student government with his future wife, Charlene Smeltzer '54.
A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for postgraduate work at Oxford University. There, he studied at Pembroke College, earning an honors degree in politics, philosophy and economics. He has been awarded 35 honorary doctoral degrees, including an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Denison in 1978.
A member of the Denison Board of Trustees since 1966, Lugar returns to campus frequently to attend trustee meetings and to participate in the Richard G. Lugar Program in Politics and Public Service. Established in 1994 under the leadership of Professor of Political Science Emmett Buell and inspired by Senator Lugar's legacy of academic excellence, distinguished record of public service and prominent role in foreign policy, the program integrates course work with internships in the federal government for highly motivated Denison students.
Lugar has served in the U.S. Senate longer than any other Hoosier, having first been elected in 1976. Re-elected to his fifth term in 2000, he holds all Indiana statewide election records and has been elected with a two-thirds majority in his last three elections. An unwavering advocate of U.S. leadership in the world, a strong national security, free trade and economic growth, Lugar has been instrumental in Senate ratification of treaties that reduce the world's use, production and stockpiling of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. In 1996, he was the co-author of the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici program that has facilitated the training of first responders in more than 120 cities for the possibility of an attack by nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.
On the Agriculture Committee, Lugar has built bipartisan support for the 1996 federal farm program reforms, ending the 1930s federal production controls. He also has initiated a biofuels research program to help decrease U.S. dependency on foreign oil, led initiatives to streamline the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reform the food stamp program and preserve the federal school lunch program.
Lugar's book Letters to the Next President, published in 1988, is regarded as a primer of basic principles of presidential leadership in foreign policy and one of the few first-hand accounts of the Philippine elections, the South African sanctions debate and the implementation of the Reagan Doctrine. Lugar ran for the presidential nomination in 1996 on a platform of prosperity, national security and integrity.
In Indiana, Lugar manages his family's 604-acre Marion County farm raising corn, soybeans and walnut trees. Married in 1956, he and his wife are the parents of four grown sons, Mark, Robert, John and David, and have seven grandchildren.