Tue, Nov. 27, 2018
5:30 pm - 9 pm
(GMT-06:00) America/Chicago


James A. Baker III Hall



Obama, Baker discuss need for bipartisanship at Baker Institute’s 25th anniversary gala


More than 1,000 guests gathered in an elegant gala space at the center of Rice University’s campus to hear two statesmen discuss the importance of bipartisanship and shared values in a time of political discord.

Former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III spoke for nearly an hour in a conversation moderated by presidential historian Jon Meacham. The Nov. 27 event marked the 25th anniversary of the nonpartisan Baker Institute for Public Policy.

The gala raised $5.4 million to further the think tank’s research and programming, Baker Institute Director Edward Djerejian announced at the event. The institute has now hosted every living former president of the United States since its inception in 1993. “The motto we have chosen for this anniversary, ‘A Quarter Century – Making History,’ bears particular resonance tonight,” Djerejian said. “It symbolizes the culmination of our commitment to strive for excellence and nonpartisanship.” 

Media coverage of the gala includes:

At 25, and with Obama coming, the Baker Institute still evolving,” Houston Chronicle

"From Obama and Baker, a Lament for a Lost Consensus," The New York Times

"A Wistful Bipartisan Summit in Houston," The New York Times

"What Obama talks about when he talks about Trump," The Atlantic

"Obama at Baker Institute gala: 'Nobody in my administration got indicted'" Houston Chronicle

"Barack Obama and James Baker Show Houston Crowd the Art of a Bipartisan Discussion," Texas Monthly

Obama Warns Against Nationalism Rooted in ‘Hatred for Somebody on the Other Side of the Border'” The Daily Beast

"Baker Institute's 25th anniversary gala with Obama raises $5.4 million," Houston Chronicle

Rice University's Baker Institute celebrates 25th anniversary with former President Obama,” KPRC2

"Former Pres. Barack Obama says return to civility in politics may be challenge in $5M night for Baker Institute," ABC13

"Former President Barack Obama attends Baker Institute gala at Rice University," KHOU11

"Former president Barack Obama guest of honor at Baker Institute gala," FOX26

President Obama and James Baker Celebrate No Indictments at the Baker Institute’s 25th Anniversary Gala,” Houstonia Magazine

Gala Events for the Rice Community 

Members of the Rice community were invited to participate in two campus events:  

  • The Baker Institute and the Office of the President held a gala watch party at 7:00 p.m. on Nov. 27 at the Student Center Grand Hall. Attendance was restricted to current Rice students, faculty and staff with valid Rice ID cards.

  • The Baker Institute Student Forum hosted a breakfast with Rice alum Josh Earnest — former White House press secretary to President Obama — at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 28 at the Jones Business School's Anderson Family Commons.   

    Earnest graduated from Rice in 1997 with a degree in political science and policy studies. He talked with students about his experience in politics, local and national campaigns, and the White House.
About the Baker Institute

Founded in 1993, the Baker Institute ranks among the top three university-affiliated think tanks in the world. In recent years, the institute has created and strengthened specific centers and programs that address key public policy issues, including the Center for Energy Studies, Center for Health and Biosciences, Center for the Middle East, Mexico Center, Center for Public Finance, McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth, Presidential Elections Program and Drug Policy Program.

For a timeline of the institute's history, go to www.bakerinstitute.org/timeline.

Non-media questions about the gala should be addressed to Christene Kimmel, director of development for special projects, at 713-348-2136 or ckimmel@rice.edu.

For information about becoming a Baker Institute Roundtable member, visit www.bakerinstitute.org/join-the-baker-roundtable or contact Chetna Cates at 713-348-4945 or ccates@rice.edu.


Thank you for your support of the Baker Institute! 


Tue, Nov. 27, 2018
5:30 pm - 9 pm
(GMT-06:00) America/Chicago


James A. Baker III Hall