Melvin R. Laird
Melvin R. Laird is Senior Counselor for National and International Affairs for The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. He formerly served as Secretary of Defense, 1968-73; Counselor to the President for Domestic Affairs, 1973-74; and nine terms In the U.S. Congress where he was Chairman, Republican House Minority, member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Republican Coordinating Council. Prior to that service, he was a member of the Wisconsin Senate, 1946-52; Chairman, Wisconsin Legislative Council and served in the U.S. Navy 1942-1946 in the Pacific Fleet with Task Force 38 and 58.
Mr. Laird serves as a Trustee of the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund for Macalester College, is a member of the Public Oversight Board of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (Vice-Chairman-11/97 to present); Staff Leasing, Inc.; and the Director’s Advisory Council of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He has performed distinguished service on the following Boards of Directors: American Express/IDS Mutual Funds Group, Communications Satellite Corporation (Chairman 1992-96), Martin Marietta, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Northwest Airlines, Phillips Petroleum Company, Purolator Company, The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., DeWitt and Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds, Science Applications International Corp., and T-COM, LLP.
He has been active on some 27 non-profit organizations which include: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The George Washington University, Airlie Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Laird Youth Leadership Foundation, Laird Foundation for Historic Preservation, The Wolf Trap Farm for the Performing Arts (Chairman 1974-75), World Rehabilitation Fund, Advisory Board to the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO); Chairman, President Reagan’s 1987·88 Moscow Assessment Review Panel; Chairman National Election Commission, 1986; Co-Chairman Platform Committee of the Republican National Convention, 1960, Chairman 1964. He received a BA from Carleton College.
Mr. Laird has been the recipient of over 300 awards and honorary degrees, among them are: Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1974; Decorated Order of Merit – First Class, Federal Republic of Germany; Commander, National Order Legion of Honor, France; recipient of 15th Annual Albert Lasker Public Service Award; Doctor of Philanthropy and Human Services, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota; Doctor of Humane Letters, Lincoln College; Doctor of Political Science, University of the Pacific; Doctor of Laws, University of Wisconsin; Doctor of Military Medical History, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Man of the Year awards, American Cancer Society, National Association of Mental Health; Humanitarian Award, John E. Fogarty Foundation for the Mentally Retarded, 1974; The Harry S. Truman Award for distinguished service in defense, 1985; author of A House Divided: America’s Strategy Gap. 1962; Editor: The Conservative Papers, 1964 and Republican Papers, 1968.
He is a member of the Disabled American Veterans; Order of the Purple Heart; 40 & 8; American Legion; Veterans of Foreign Wars; 33rd Degree Mason; Elder of the Presbyterian Church; Burning Tree Club; and Augusta National Golf Club.
Mr. Laird was born September 1, 1922. He has two sons (John and David), a daughter (Alison) and four grandchildren from his marriage in 1945 to the late Barbara Masters Laird. In 1993 he married Carole Fleischman who has one daughter (Kimberly) and one granddaughter. Mr. Laird can be reached at 1730 Rhode Island Ave., NW, Suite 212, Washington, D.C. 20036.