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Securing America’s Future:

The Power of Liberal Arts Education

Ron Kirk

Senior of Counsel, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Former U.S. Trade Representative; Former Mayor of Dallas; Former Secretary of State of Texas
Austin College (TX), Class of 1976
From 2009 to 2013, Ambassador Ron Kirk was a member of President Obama’s Cabinet. As the United States Trade Representative, he served as the president's principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on trade issues. He developed trade policies and negotiated talks with global trading partners and worked to conclude and advance bilateral free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama and advance Trans-Pacific Partnership talks among other accomplishments.

Before coming to Washington, Kirk served two terms as the first African-American mayor of Dallas. He had previously served as Texas Secretary of State and practiced law as a partner in the international law firm Vinson & Elkins, LLP. In 2008, Kirk was named one of "The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America" by the National Law Journal. In 2014, he was named one of the 28 “Men of Change” by BET Networks, which recognized “trailblazers whose formulas for success lie in empowering others at home and across the globe.”

Kirk currently is Senior Of Counsel in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Dallas and Washington, D.C. offices, working on international trade practice, public policy, crisis management, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity.

Originally from Austin, Texas, Kirk graduated from Austin College and earned his law degree at the University of Texas School of Law. He is married to Matrice Ellis-Kirk and they have two daughters.

What employers are looking for are bright, energetic people who have the ability to adapt. And I don’t think anything prepares you and gives you the skills to do that better than a liberal arts education.

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