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Former Senator McGovern to be Featured at O'Bannon Institute

Bloomington, Indiana—George McGovern, former United States Senator from South Dakota, will be the featured speaker at the 2007 O’Bannon Institute for Community Service at Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington.  The O’Bannon Institute, in its fourth year, will take place on April 27th.  The day-long event includes a panel discussion, interactive breakout sessions facilitated by community leaders and a debate/discussion regarding “Economics vs. Atmosphere.”  The senator will participate in the O’Bannon Conversation, an informal opportunity for him to discuss his years of public service and his current involvement with issues facing our communities and our nation.  The institute is free and open to the public.

George McGovern was elected to the House of Representatives in 1954 where he served until 1961.  He was elected to the United States Senate in 1962 where he served until 1981.  Senator McGovern was the 1972 Democratic presidential nominee, and he ran again for President in 1984.  He holds the nation’s highest honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and has been honored for a lifetime of national service by the Association of Former Congressmen.

He was born in Avon, South Dakota, on July 19, 1922, the son of a Wesleyan Methodist minister.  His college career at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell was interrupted by World War II.  He flew 35 combat missions as a B-24 bomber pilot in Europe, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross.

McGovern entered into public service when he was elected to Congress in 1956 and reelected in 1958. In 1960, he lost his bid for the U.S. Senate and was named the first director of the Food for Peace Program and Special Assistant to the President by President John F. Kennedy.  In this position he oversaw the donation of millions of tons of food to developing nations. McGovern was elected to the Senate in 1962 and reelected in 1968 and

1974. He served as a member of the Senate committees on agriculture, nutrition, forestry and foreign relations, and the Joint Economic Committee. 

In 1972, Senator McGovern was selected as the Democratic Party nominee for president, the only South Dakotan so honored by any major political party.

President Gerald Ford named McGovern a United Nations delegate to the General Assembly in 1976, and in 1978, President Jimmy Carter named him a United Nations delegate for the Special Session on Disarmament. After leaving the Senate in 1980, McGovern was a visiting professor at numerous institutions, including Columbia University, Northwestern University, Cornell University, American University and the University of Berlin. He served as the president of the Middle East Policy Council from 1991 to 1998, when President Clinton appointed him ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. In 2001 he was appointed the first United Nations global ambassador on hunger. In this position, McGovern continues his leadership in the battle against world hunger.

The O’Bannon Institute is an annual opportunity for the community to come together to discuss issues related to non-profits, education and political service.  Previous speakers at the Institute have included former U.S. Senators and Governors, and others who have spent their lives in service to their communities.