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Marlin Fitzwater

Award Year: 
2004
Recipient Name: 
Marlin Fitzwater
Brief Summary: 
Marlin Fitzwater spent a decade in the front row of history, as press secretary to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Today he is an author and lecturer whose presidential anecdotes, political analysis, and television commentary have received worldwide attention.
Biography: 

Marlin Fitzwater spent a decade in the front row of history, as press secretary to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Today he is an author and lecturer whose presidential anecdotes, political analysis, and television commentary have received worldwide attention.

As the only press secretary in history to be appointed by two Presidents, Fitzwater became known to millions of Americans as the voice of the 26-nation coalition in the Persian Gulf War. Fitzwater stood next to two Presidents during cold war summits, economic downturns, and eight military conflicts. He gave more than 850 press briefings in six years, winning praise from the news media and the public for his honesty and good humor.

His book, Call The Briefing, is a best-selling memoir of ten years in the White House. His second book, Esther’s Pillow, is a novel based on the true story of a small town in Kansas. Fitzwater currently is working on another book of fiction about a waterman on the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, he was a consultant/writer for the television show, “West Wing,” for two seasons.

Fitzwater has been a business man, journalist, civil servant, and presidential adviser. He grew up on a small farm in Kansas and started his career as editor of a weekly newspaper.

From 1972 to 1980, he was spokesman for the Environmental Protection Agency as the nation started a massive cleanup of its landscape.

He started his career in the White House as a spokesman for the tax cuts and investment incentives proposed by President Reagan. In the late 1980’s he invited his Soviet counterparts to joint press briefings during the arms control summits in order to demonstrate a shared commitment to peace.

He was named an Outstanding Civil Servant in government in 1980; received the nation’s second highest civilian award, the Presidential Citizens Medal, from President Bush in 1992; served on the Board of the Woodrow Wilson School for International Scholars, and has received numerous other awards and honorary doctorate degrees.

The Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communications was dedicated in May 2002 at Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire. He serves on the Advisory Board of the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation, the Franklin Pierce College Board of Trustees, and the Board of FlashPoint Technology, Inc.

Fitzwater served in the U.S. Air Force and graduated from Kansas State University in l965. He was born and raised in Abilene, Kansas and now makes his home near Washington, D.C. He is married to the former Melinda Andrews, and has two grown children.

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