Dr. Bruce Cole, Jury Chairman

bruce-coleDr. Bruce Cole served as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) from 2001 to 2009.  Currently he is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Dr. Cole is the author of 14 books and numerous articles. Prior to his NEH chairmanship, he taught Art History and Comparative Literature at Indiana University in Bloomington. He has served as a delegate on the U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, and on the boards of the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Norman Rockwell Museum.

In 2008, President George W. Bush awarded Dr. Cole the Presidential Citizens Medal “for his work to strengthen our national memory and ensure that our country’s heritage is passed on to future generations.” The medal is second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom among the honors the President can confer upon a civilian. Also in 2008, Dr. Cole was decorated Knight of the Grand Cross, the highest honor of the Republic of Italy. In August 2013, Dr. Cole was appointed by President Barack Obama to be a member of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission.

Dr. Cole holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Case Western Reserve University, a Master’s degree from Oberlin College, and a doctorate from Bryn Mawr College.

John W. Childs

John W. Childs founded J.W. Childs Associates in 1995. Prior to that he was Senior Managing Director of the Thomas H. Lee Company from 1991 to 1995 and a Managing Director there from 1987 to 1990. In these capacities, he had broad responsibilities for originating, analyzing, negotiating and managing leveraged buyout transactions for the THL funds. For seventeen years prior to joining THL, Mr. Childs was with the Prudential Insurance Company of America where he held various executive positions in the investment area, ultimately serving as Senior Managing Director in charge of the Capital Markets Group. In that position, from 1984 to 1987, he was responsible for Prudential’s approximately $77 billion fixed income portfolio, including all the Capital Markets Group’s investments in leveraged acquisitions.

Mr. Childs is currently Chairman of Sunny Delight and a director of Kosta Browne, Esselte, Mattress Firm, WS Packaging and SimCom. Prior to its sale, he was Chairman of the Board of CHG Healthcare Services. Some of Mr. Childs past investments include Snapple, Brookstone, and NutraSweet. Mr. Childs has a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. He serves on the boards of various nonprofit organizations including Salisbury School in Connecticut. Mr. Childs has served as president of the Wetlands America Trust. He lives in Vero Beach, FL.

Thomas F. Cooley

Thomas F. Cooley is the Paganelli-Bull Professor of Economics at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University, as well as a Professor of Economics in the NYU Faculty of Arts and Science. He served as Dean of the Stern School from 2002 to January 2010.

Before joining Stern, he was a Professor of Economics at the University of Rochester, University of Pennsylvania, and UC Santa Barbara. Prior to his academic career, he was a systems engineer for IBM Corporation. A Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations he is also the former President of the Society for Economic Dynamics, a Fellow of the Econometric Society and holds an honorary doctorate from the Stockholm School of Economics.

He is a widely published scholar in the areas of macroeconomic theory, monetary theory and policy and the financial behavior of firms. He has been a senior advisor and member of the Board of Managers of Standard & Poors since December 2010. He also writes frequent opinion columns for Forbes.com, the Wall Street Journal and other news media. Dean Cooley received his BS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and his MA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds a doctorem honoris causa from the Stockholm School of Economics.

Governor Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr.

DanielsGovernor Mitch Daniels served as the 49th Governor of Indiana. Mr. Daniels was elected Governor in 2004, in his first bid for any elected office. He was re-elected in 2008, receiving more votes than any candidate for any public office in the state’s history. During his first year as governor, Mr. Daniels balanced the state’s budget, transforming a nearly $800 million deficit into a $370 million surplus. He spearheaded various successful statewide reforms in transportation, education, healthcare, and the economy.

Governor Daniels is currently the 12th president of Purdue University, a position he has held since 2013. While at Purdue, Mr. Daniels has worked to make higher education more affordable and accessible while promoting STEM leadership, research, and innovative education techniques.

Governor Daniels received a bachelor’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs at Princeton University in 1971 and a juris doctorate degree from Georgetown University Law Center. After graduation, Governor Daniels held several business management positions, working as CEO of the Hudson Institute and president of Eli Lilly and Company’s North American Pharmaceutical Operations. Prior to running for governor, Daniels served as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003.

Governor James H. Douglas

DouglasJames H. Douglas was elected Governor of Vermont in 2002 and was re-elected in 2004, 2006 and 2008. During his tenure, he focused on strengthening the state’s economy, reducing the cost of living in Vermont and protecting the state’s natural environment. He advanced groundbreaking health reforms and worked to strengthen the relationship between Vermont and Quebec and the other Canadian provinces. While governor, Douglas served as the chairman of the National Governors Association and in February 2010 was appointed by President Obama as co-chair of the Council of Governors.

Douglas was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives after graduating from Middlebury College in 1972. He became Majority Leader in his third term at the age of 25.

The former Governor was elected Secretary of State in 1980, a post he would hold for 12 years. He was elected State Treasurer in 1994. During Douglas’s eight years as Treasurer, Vermont’s bond rating became the best in New England and among the highest in the nation.

Governor Douglas is now an Executive-in-Residence at Middlebury College. He is a Trustee of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation and serves on the boards of several local companies. He continues as Town Moderator for Middlebury, a post he has held for a quarter-century. The former Governor and his wife, Dorothy, have two sons and two grandsons.

Ambassador C. Boyden Gray

GrayAmbassador C. Boyden Gray is the founding partner of Boyden Gray & Associates, a law and strategy firm in Washington, D.C., focused on constitutional and regulatory issues.

Mr. Gray worked in the White House for twelve years, first as counsel to the Vice President during the Reagan administration and then as White House Counsel to President George H.W. Bush. In this capacity, he was counsel to the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief, and was instrumental in the enactment of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and the Energy Policy Act of 1992, as well as the development of a cap-and-trade system for acid rain emissions. In 1993, he received the Presidential Citizens Medal. Under President George W. Bush, Mr. Gray was U.S. Ambassador to the European Union and U.S. Special Envoy to Europe for Eurasian Energy.

Mr. Gray practiced law for 25 years at the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering and was chairman of the Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section of the American Bar Association from 2000 to 2002. He was an adjunct professor at NYU Law School and is on the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Council and the European Institute.

He earned his A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard and his J.D. with high honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was editor-in-chief of the Law Review. Mr. Gray served in the United States Marine Corps, and after law school, he clerked for Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Judge Edith Jones

JonesEdith Jones has been a federal judge since May 1985, when she was appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan. She assumed the chief judgeship of the Fifth Circuit in January, 2006 and served until October, 2012.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1949, she grew up in San Antonio, Texas, graduating from Alamo Heights High School, where she was a National Merit Scholar. In 1971, she received her B.A. in Economics from Cornell University, graduating with honors. In 1974, she was awarded her J.D. at the University of Texas Law School, where she was a law review editor and received the Order of the Coif. She is a recipient of the Leon Green Award from UT Law Review, and in 2004 was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Active in the Boy Scouts of America organization for many years, Judge Jones is on the board of the Sam Houston Area Council, and received Scouting’s Silver Beaver Award in 2003. She has been a member of the Garland Walker Inn of Court in Houston since 1998 and is its current President.

From 2002 to 2008, Judge Jones served as a White House Fellows Commissioner, by appointment of President George W. Bush. She is a former member of the National Bankruptcy Review Commission (1994-97).

Robert L. Luddy

Bob Luddy is the President of CaptiveAire Systems and a trustee of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation where he serves as Treasurer. Recognizing the demand for a quality manufacturer of commercial kitchen ventilation equipment, Mr. Luddy purchased a sheet metal shop in 1981 and transformed it into CaptiveAire. Today, CaptiveAire employs over 1,000 employees, with 90 sales offices nationwide and sales over $300 million in 2015.

A strong advocate of excellent education, Bob establishes schools which help youth develop good character and reasoning skills. In 1998, Bob established Franklin Academy, a public charter school in Wake Forest, which now serves over 1,200 K-12 students. In 2001, Bob founded St. Thomas More Academy, a classical, college preparatory high school in Raleigh. In 2007, Bob opened Thales Academy, a network of private schools offering a high quality Pre-K-12 education at an affordable tuition. The Luddy Schools are quickly growing, with nearly 3,000 students enrolled throughout the Raleigh area.

Professor Wilfred McClay

McClayDr. Wilfred McClay is a celebrated historian and distinguished professor at the University of Oklahoma. His expertise lies in the intellectual and cultural history of the United States. He is the G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty at the University of Oklahoma, a Senior Scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and from 2002 to 2012 served on the National Council of Humanities. He has authored several books and countless academic articles.

Dr. McClay is a 1974 graduate of St. John’s College where he earned his B.A. degree and a 1987 graduate of John Hopkins University where he earned a doctorate in History. After graduate school, Dr. McClay taught History at a number of universities, including the University of Dallas, Tulane University, Georgetown University, and at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where he was selected as the SunTust Bank Chair of Excellence in Humanities.

Hon. Kurt Schmoke

SchmokeHon. Kurt L. Schmoke served as mayor of Baltimore from 1987 to 1999. During his tenure as mayor, Mr. Schmoke initiated a number of innovative programs in housing, education, public health and economic development. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush awarded him the National Literacy Award for his efforts to promote adult literacy. Two years later, President Bill Clinton praised his programs aimed at improving public housing and enhancing community-based economic development.

Mr. Schmoke’s public service record extends back to the 1970s, when he was appointed assistant director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff under President Jimmy Carter.

Currently Mr. Schmoke serves as the eighth President of the University of Baltimore, a position he has held since 2014.  Prior to joining the University of Baltimore, he was dean of the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. and also served as the institution’s interim provost.

Mr. Schmoke is a member of the Hippodrome Foundation Board, the Lyric Foundation Board, the Baltimore Development Corporation Board, the Baltimore Community Foundation Board, The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, McGraw-Hill Financial, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Harvard Law School Visiting Committee.

Mr. Schmoke earned an undergraduate degree in History from Yale University, was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, and completed his J.D. degree at Harvard Law School.

Amity Shlaes

Shlaes  Amity Shlaes chairs the board of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, serves as Presidential Scholar at The King’s College, and is a columnist for Forbes. Miss Shlaes is the author of four New York Times bestsellers, including: Coolidge, a full-length biography of America’s thirtieth president, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great DepressionThe Forgotten Man: Graphic, and The Greedy Hand: How Taxes Drive Americas CrazyNational Review called the Forgotten Man “the finest history of the Great Depression ever written.” The Economist wrote of Coolidge that the book “deserves to be widely read” and made it an editor’s choice for 2013.

Miss Shlaes is winner of the Hayek Prize and currently chairs the jury for the prize, sponsored by the Manhattan Institute. She has twice been a finalist for the Loeb Prize in commentary. In 2002 she was co-winner of the Frederic Bastiat Prize, an international prize for writing on political economy, and later chaired the jury for that prize. In 2003, she was JP Morgan Fellow for finance and economy at the American Academy in Berlin.

Miss Shlaes has served as senior fellow in Economic History at the Council on Foreign Relations and director of economic programs at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, where she directed the economic programs. Miss Shlaes has also been an editorial board member of Wall Street Journal, and a syndicated columnist for the Financial Times and Bloomberg. A magna cum laude graduate of Yale College, Miss Shlaes is married to fellow journalist and editor Seth Lipsky. The Lipskys have four children.

Milton G. Valera


Milton G. Valera serves as chairman of the National Notary Association, which he has led since 1982 when he became President. The National Notary Association is the largest and most respected organization serving U.S. Notaries. In nearly four decades, Valera has overseen all of the Association’s major programs that today define the arena of Notary education and support services.

Among Mr. Valera’s greatest achievements is the creation of two influential, landmark sets of standards for Notaries: The Model Notary Acts of 1984, 2002 and 2010 and their predecessor, The Uniform Notary Act of 1973, and The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility of 1998. Mr. Valera also serves as Editor and Publisher of the Association’s two flagship member publications — The National Notary magazine and the Notary Bulletin.

Before his career with the NNA, Mr. Valera worked as a newspaper editor, as well as in marketing and public relations. Mr. Valera earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from California State University, Northridge. Mr. Valera is a trustee of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation. He lives in California with his wife, Deborah Valera.

Hon. J.C. Watts

WattsHon. J.C. Watts served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003, representing Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District. He was elected Chair of the House Republican Conference in 1998. He served on the House Committees for Armed Forces, Homeland Security, Banking, Transportation and Infrastructure. He now serves as the Chairman of Watts Partners, a political consulting firm in Washington, D.C., which he founded after retiring from politics.

Through Watts Partners, Mr. Watts advises or serves as a corporate director for several major companies, including John Deere, Wells Fargo, NASCAR, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Clear Channel Communications, Dillard’s Department Stores, and Terex Corporation. Additionally, he has worked on many civil rights issues both at the federal and state level. He is a CNN analyst and frequently writes for various newspapers.

Mr. Watts graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. While at OU he played football and was the quarterback for the Sooners. After graduation, he played professionally in the Canadian Football League until 1987 when he returned to Oklahoma and became a pastor before running for Congress in 1994.