GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - April 24, 2013 - To honor President Gerald R. Ford's 100th birthday, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation's board of trustees, his friends and members of his cabinet will join President and Mrs. Ford's children as they pay tribute to the legacy of "Grand Rapids' Favorite Son." A tribute dinner will be held on May 6 and a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a feature exhibition at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum on May 7.
The Centennial Birthday Celebration tribute dinner on May 6 will include a panel discussion about the president's legacy featuring Dick Cheney, former vice president of the United States and President Ford's chief of staff; Ben Stein, White House speechwriter during the President Richard Nixon and Ford administrations; Bob Schieffer, a CBS White House correspondent during the Ford presidency; and Steven Ford, son of President Ford.
"I am honored to pay tribute to the country's most humble leader during his centennial celebration," said Cheney. "President Ford was a man of great character who led our country through its roughest days. Through his leadership, I learned the importance of honesty and integrity, and admire all he was able to do through his public and private life."
Retired Air Force Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, who will be in attendance at the tribute dinner, will receive the Gerald R. Ford Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Scowcroft will be the seventh recipient of the medal, which will be presented in memory and recognition of the leadership attributes of President Ford. Scowcroft held the post of national security advisory while President Ford was in office.
"Our country was suffering through uncharted agony when Dad assumed the presidency and General Scowcroft stood by his side and helped make tough decisions," Steve Ford said. "General Scowcroft continued serving our country for years under Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. He went on to assist President Obama in choosing a national security team. His dedication and leadership regarding the security of the United States of America make him the perfect recipient for the award."
On Tuesday, May 7 at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, members of President Ford's family will cut the ribbon for Growing Up Grand, an exhibit that explores and illustrates the foundational years of President Ford's life. His good friend, former U.S. Ambassador to Italy Peter Secchia, and former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neil, who served as deputy director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budgets during Ford's administration, will speak during the ceremony.
"This exhibition is a great way for visitors to celebrate the president's 100th birthday," said Secchia. "Visitors will have the opportunity to view his early life and to learn about the people, activities and events that taught him lessons he used all through his life."
The exhibit, which draws from the museum's collection as well as the Gerald R. Ford Library in Ann Arbor, the Grand Rapids Public Library and the Grand Rapids Public Museum, was created by Don Halloway, curator at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. The museum will be open free to the public on May 7 and cake will be served throughout the day.
In celebration of President Ford's 100th birthday, which will actually be on July 14, 2013, events will take place throughout the entire year and will be announced periodically.