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Veteran’s Day Conversation: Defending Our Constitution

Constitution Talk/Lecture
Great Hall
$15 ($12/members, $5/students)
Get Tickets

In honor of Veteran’s Day and our exhibition We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy, we invite you to join us for a conversation in the Great Hall with Wesley Clark, retired US Army general and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe; Rick Waddell, retired lieutenant general in the United States Army Reserve and former assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Commander Susan Kilrain, NASA astronaut, distinguished navy test pilot, and aerospace engineer.

Tickets are $15 ($12 for members, $5 for students), reserve your spot online or by calling Guest Services at (479) 657-2335 today.

This evening talk will also be livestreamed. Sign up for eNews for updates on livestream information.

President George Washington sits holding a document and sword, with ships sailing in the background
Gilbert Stuart, George Washington [The Constable-Hamilton Portrait], 1797, oil on canvas, 59 x 46 3/4 x 4 1/2 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2005.27. Photography by Edward C. Robison III.

About the Speakers

General Wesley K. Clark (US Army ret.)

Wesley K. Clark

Wesley K. Clark is a businessman, educator, writer, and commentator.

General Clark serves as Chairman and CEO of Wesley K. Clark & Associates, a strategic consulting firm; Chairman and Founder of Enverra, Inc. a licensed investment bank; Chairman of Energy Security Partners, LLC; as well as numerous corporate boards. He is active in energy, including oil and gas, biofuels, electric power and batteries, finance, and security. During his business career he has served as an advisor, consultant, or board member of over ninety private and publicly traded companies. In the not-for-profit space, he is a Senior Fellow at UCLA’s Burkle Center for International Relations, Director of the Atlantic Council; Founding Chair of City Year Little Rock/North Little Rock, and Founder of Renew America Together. A best-selling author, General Clark has written four books and is a frequent contributor on TV and to newspapers.

Clark retired as a four star general after 38 years in the United States Army, having served in his last assignments as Commander of US Southern Command and then as Commander of US European Command/ Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. He graduated first in his class at West Point and completed degrees in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University (B.A. and M.A.) as a Rhodes scholar. While serving in Vietnam, he commanded an infantry company in combat, where he was severely wounded and evacuated home on a stretcher. He later commanded at the battalion, brigade and division level, and served in a number of significant staff positions, including service as the Director, Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5). He was the principal author of both the US National Military Strategy and Joint Vision 2010, prescribing US warfighting for full-spectrum dominance. He also worked with Ambassador Richard Holbrooke in the Dayton Peace Process, where he helped write and negotiate significant portions of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement. In his final assignment as Supreme Allied Commander Europe he led NATO forces to victory in Operation Allied Force, a 78-day air campaign, backed by ground invasion planning and a diplomatic process, saving 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing.

His awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Defense Distinguished Service Medal (five awards), Silver star, bronze star, purple heart, honorary knighthoods from the British and Dutch governments, and numerous other awards from other governments, including award of Commander of the Legion of Honor (France). He has also been awarded the Department of State Distinguished Service Award and numerous honorary doctorates and civilian honors.


Rick Waddell

Rick Waddell

Rick Waddell is a semi-retired businessman, former government official, and retired Army Reservist. In his business career, Rick spent seventeen years working in South America for four of the world’s largest companies, living twelve of those years in São Paulo. His teams found six billion barrels of oil equivalent, and he ran the largest mining construction project then underway globally. As a civilian government official, Rick served as the director of the Capstone, Keystone, and Pinnacle courses at National Defense University, then served as assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser in the Trump Administration.

Rick served twelve years on active duty in the Army as a combat engineer, culminating as a director for Europe on the NSC in the Clinton Administration. In his Reserve career, Rick deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan part of every year from 2004 to 2013. He served as the deputy commander for reserve affairs at US Southern Command, commanded the 76th Division (Operational Response), and served as the assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior military adviser to the secretary of state. Rick is the first Army Reservist promoted to lieutenant general in a normally active duty billet since Lieutenant General Jimmy Doolittle, who served during World War II.

Among other degrees, Rick holds a BS from USMA, an MA from Oxford earned as a Rhodes Scholar, and a PhD from Columbia. He is currently a venture partner at New North Ventures and a Senior Fellow for Flatter, Inc., a company that services the Capstone, Keystone and Pinnacle courses at the National Defense University.


Commander Susan Kilrain

Commander Susan Kilrain

Commander Susan Kilrain is a renowned astronaut, a distinguished Navy test pilot and aerospace engineer, and a world traveler. She is the youngest person, and one of only three women, to pilot the space shuttle. She served twenty years in the Navy paving the path for women along the way. She has flown more than 3,000 flight hours in over 30 different aircraft, and she was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal. CDR Kilrain flew as pilot of STS-83 and STS-94, spending more than 20 days in space. Her first mission was cut short due to a potentially life-threatening shuttle system failure. When not training for a space flight, she worked in Mission Control during the launches and landings for other space shuttle missions. She has also worked at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC in the offices of Safety and Legislative Affairs.

Prior to joining the Navy, Susan was a wind tunnel project officer at Lockheed Corporation and earned her master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Susan is currently a consultant and motivational speaker, specializing in encouraging young women and underprivileged teens to excel in STEM careers. She is also a partner at New North Ventures and an educator with STEM Punks. Susan is married to Vice Admiral Colin Kilrain, who currently serves as the assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior military adviser to the secretary of state. They have four children and reside on the Naval Observatory in Washington, DC. She is an avid photographer, astronomer, and world traveler.


Lectures & Talks sponsored by

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We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy is sponsored by Kenneth C. Griffin.

Learning and engagement programming for We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy is sponsored by

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