Joint Leadership Class Reenact President Ford’s Pardon of Richard Nixon

leadership class discussion

West Michigan community members and students from WMU-Cooley Law School discuss President Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon during the Leadership in Times of Crisis course being jointly offered by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, WMU-Cooley Law School and Western Michigan University.

On Saturday, September 17, a dozen people from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo were seated around the White House cabinet table in the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. They were advising President Gerald R. Ford (played by Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Professor Devin Schindler) as to whether he should pardon former President Richard M. Nixon for his illegal acts arising from the Watergate break-in.

The 12 individuals, reflecting a cross section of the West Michigan community, included WMU-Cooley Law School students who had yet to be born at the time the original cabinet meetings took place, a mortgage banker, an engineer, and others who were alive at the time of the original events. Each shared their individual experience of watching a constitutional crisis unfold as the class debated the ethical, political and legal consequences of the various options President Ford had.

The cabinet table advisory session was part of the first class of the Leadership in Times of Crisis course jointly sponsored by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, WMU-Cooley Law School and Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation provided the participants with Gerald R. Ford, a Test of Character DVDs , a documentary commissioned by the Peter F. Secchia Family. The purpose in creating the class is to provide a vehicle to educate and inspire community leaders and students to adopt the ethical leadership standards exhibited by President Ford throughout his life.

The class is open to all members of the community.  The seats are filled for the next two sessions in October and November but reservations are being taken for the next session in 2017.  Interested individuals should contact Victoria Vuletich, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, 616-301-6800, ext. 6957,


About Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School: Western Michigan University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School affiliated in 2014, combining the status of a nationally-ranked, public, comprehensive research university with the commitment to practical legal education of an independent, non-profit, national law school. WMU-Cooley is accredited by both the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The law school has provided nearly 20,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world, and enrolls classes in January, May, and September at its Lansing, Auburn Hills, and Grand Rapids, Michigan campuses, and its Tampa Bay, Florida campus. WMU and the law school continue to operate as independent institutions with their own governance structure and separate fiduciary responsibilities.



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