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Just as the results of the midterm election are becoming clear on Wednesday, November 8, J.C. Watts, a former Congressman and chair of the House Republican Conference, will deliver the Gerrish Lecture at Colby College. The event, held at 7 p.m. in Page Commons of the Cotter Union, is free and open to the public.
Watts, an ordained minister from Oklahoma and the author of President Bush’s 2001 faith-based initiative, will speak about character. “Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking,” he says. “There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.”
Watts was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1994. In 1998 he was elected by his peers to serve as chairman of the Republican Conference, the fourth-ranking majority-party leadership position in the House, a position previously held by Dick Cheney, Jack Kemp and Gerald Ford.
Watts served for eight years on the House Armed Services Committee and authored legislation to create the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, on which he later served. Watts led two congressional trade missions to Africa and co-authored the American Community Renewal and New Markets Act, which President Clinton signed into law in 2000. He also developed legislation with Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) to establish a Smithsonian museum of African American history.
A former quarterback at the University of Oklahoma, Watts has served as a Baptist youth minister. He is now the chairman of J.C. Watts Companies, a business consulting firm.
The Gerrish Fund for Spiritual Enrichment has been established by the gifts of Allan and Gail ’62 Gerrish. The purpose of the fund is to raise awareness of the important place that values will play throughout students’ lives at Colby and beyond.