Nearly 600 people turned out Thursday night to celebrate the 15th birthday of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at a black-tie gala featuring Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Rice congratulated the institute on its growth and success since its 1993 founding. She said that the work of the institute is crucial if public policy is going to address the important issues the United States will face going forward. In particular, she singled out immigration reform and education.
The theme of the gala was "Forward Thinking in a Changing World," and for the institute"s namesake, James A. Baker, III, the night was a chance to look ahead.
"Today, the Baker Institute enjoys a national and international reputation for excellence," said Baker, the 61st secretary of state and the 67th secretary of the treasury. "And it stands poised to deepen and broaden its research agenda on the most pressing domestic and foreign issues of our era."
Edward Djerejian, the institute"s founding director and a former U.S. ambassador to Israel and Syria, thanked the audience for its support and generosity.
"The institute has been fortunate to have so many public-spirited and generous friends, and we have enormous appreciation for their support," he said. "I am very happy that many of our friends are with us tonight. Without your confidence, the past 15 years would not have been possible."
View media coverage of the Nov. 13 Baker Institute gala:
Houston Chronicle: Baker at 15 (Nov. 12 editorial about the institute's impact on Houston and the world)