Baker Celebration

Two former presidents help Baker Institute raise $3.4 million at 20th anniversary celebration

Two former presidents help Baker Institute raise $3.4 million at gala

George W. Bush, left, and Ed Djerejian at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
George W. Bush, left, and Ed Djerejian in their fireside-style conversation at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © 2013 Michael Stravato. Provided courtesy of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University
James A. Baker III at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
James A. Baker III at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © 2013 Michael Stravato. Provided courtesy of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University
Hushang Ansary, from left, Ed Djerejian and  Shahla Ansary at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Hushang Ansary, left, receives the Excellence in Leadership Award presented by Ed Djerejian at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Shahla Ansary joins her husband on stage. Photo by © 2013 Michael Stravato. Provided courtesy of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University
204 Barbara Bush, from left, James A. Baker III, George W. Bush and secret service at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Barbara Bush, from left, James A. Baker III, George W. Bush and Secret Service agent at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
Bucky Allshouse, from left, John Eddie and Sheridan Williams, George W. Bush, Cynthia Allshouse and  Bobby and Phoebe Tudor at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Bucky Allshouse, from left, John Eddie and Sheridan Williams, George W. Bush, Cynthia Allshouse and Bobby and Phoebe Tudor at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © 2013 Michael Stravato. Provided courtesy of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University
53 David Leebron and Y. Ping Sun at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
David Leebron and Y. Ping Sun at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
202 George H.W. Bush front, and Young man NAME at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
George H.W. Bush is escorted by Coleman LaPointe at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
106 Rich and Nancy Kinder at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Rich and Nancy Kinder at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
114 Michael and Lucia Cordua at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Michael and Lucia Cordua at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
80 Kathy Hubbard, from left, Mayor Annise Parker and Cynthia Allshouse at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Kathy Hubbard, from left, Mayor Annise Parker and Cynthia Allshouse at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
94 Sir Peter Westmacott and Lady (Susan) Westmacott at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Sir Peter Westmacott and Lady Susan Westmacott at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
167 Charity and Mark Escott at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Charity and Mark Escott at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
59 Bucky and Cynthia Allshouse at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Gala chairs Bucky and Cynthia Allshouse at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
151 Cheryl and John Diamond at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Cheryl and John Diamond at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
102 Sheridan and John Eddie Williams at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Gala chairs Sheridan and John Eddie Williams at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
75 Bobby and Phoebe Tudor at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Gala chairs Bobby and Phoebe Tudor at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
182 Doug Perley, left, with Erin and Paul Yoon at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Doug Perley, from left, with Erin and Paul Yoon at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
141 Ekaterina Podossinnikova and Igor Kliakhandler at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Ekaterina Podossinnikova and Igor Kliakhandler at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
128 Ron Witte, from left, Sarah Whiting and Nicolas Shumway at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Ron Witte, from left, Sarah Whiting and Nicolas Shumway at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
84 Steve Miller, left, and Malcolm Gillis at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Steve Miller, left, and Malcolm Gillis at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
the elaborate tent setting at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
The elaborate tent setting at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © 2013 Michael Stravato. Provided courtesy of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University
191 Joanne King Herring, from left, Henry Cooperton and Heidi Cruz at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Joanne King Herring, from left, Geoffrey Conner and Heidi Cruz at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
63 Ali and Haydeh Davoudi at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Ali and Haydeh Davoudi at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
154 Angela Guo, from left, Rohini Sigireddi and Jacinta Leyden at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Angela Guo, from left, Rohini Sigireddi and Jacinta Leyden at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala. Photo by © Gary Fountain
George W. Bush, left, and Ed Djerejian at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
James A. Baker III at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Hushang Ansary, from left, Ed Djerejian and  Shahla Ansary at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
204 Barbara Bush, from left, James A. Baker III, George W. Bush and secret service at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
Bucky Allshouse, from left, John Eddie and Sheridan Williams, George W. Bush, Cynthia Allshouse and  Bobby and Phoebe Tudor at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
53 David Leebron and Y. Ping Sun at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
202 George H.W. Bush front, and Young man NAME at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
106 Rich and Nancy Kinder at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
114 Michael and Lucia Cordua at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
80 Kathy Hubbard, from left, Mayor Annise Parker and Cynthia Allshouse at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
94 Sir Peter Westmacott and Lady (Susan) Westmacott at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
167 Charity and Mark Escott at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
59 Bucky and Cynthia Allshouse at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
151 Cheryl and John Diamond at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
102 Sheridan and John Eddie Williams at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
75 Bobby and Phoebe Tudor at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
182 Doug Perley, left, with Erin and Paul Yoon at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
141 Ekaterina Podossinnikova and Igor Kliakhandler at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
128 Ron Witte, from left, Sarah Whiting and Nicolas Shumway at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
84 Steve Miller, left, and Malcolm Gillis at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
the elaborate tent setting at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
191 Joanne King Herring, from left, Henry Cooperton and Heidi Cruz at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
63 Ali and Haydeh Davoudi at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013
154 Angela Guo, from left, Rohini Sigireddi and Jacinta Leyden at the Baker Institute 20th Anniversary Gala November 2013

With 725 black-tie attired guests dining in tented splendor beneath a score of crystal chandeliers, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy celebrated its 20th anniversary in grand style Friday night. Two former U.S. presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — led the impressive coterie of guests that raised a remarkable $3.4 million, and counting.

George W. Bush was featured guest, interviewed in a fireside-style chat by Baker Institute founding director Ed Djerejian. The conversation covered a variety of topics in what many Bush observers noted was his most candid and open discussion since leaving the White House. Topics introduced by Djerejian included Bush's perspectives on the presidency, the economic recovery and immigration. The former president recalled his emotions on 9/11. And he touched on his relationships with foreign leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The stellar evening was befitting of the institute that enjoys one of the highest rankings among global think tanks. 

The program included a welcome from Rice University president David Leebron, remarks by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and presentation of the James A. Baker III Prize for Excellence in Leadership. That honor went to former Iranian statesman, businessman and philanthropist Hushang Ansary, who was accompanied to the stage by his wife Shahla.

The stellar evening was befitting of the institute that enjoys one of the highest rankings among global think tanks. Kudos for the evening go to the trio of chair couples — Cynthia and Bucky Allshouse, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor and Sheridan and John Eddie Williams. Hats off to The Events Co.'s Richard Flowers, who brought the chairs' high-level wishes for the evening to reality.

For example, the white glove dinner service featured contributions from some of the city's leading chefs — Bryan Caswell, Michael Cordua, Hugo Ortega, Monica Pope, Chris Shepherd and Philip Speer — in an unprecedented dinner presentation. Far Niente chardonnay, Silver Oak cabernet and Comte de Mazeray champagne complemented the various courses. Such quality wines are seldom seen at charitable fundraisers.

The head table was a powerhouse of notables, including former President George W.H. Bush and Barbara Bush, George W. Bush, the Djerejians, the Bakers, the Ansarys, the Leebrons and Jenna Bush Hager and Henry Hager.

Among the many, many heavy-hitters joining the celebration were two past recipients of the Excellence in Leadership Award, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair and Charles Duncan, businessman, philanthropist and statesman during President Jimmy Carter's administration.

At every turn there were philanthropists, business leaders and high-profile citizenry including Mayor Annise Parker and Kathy HubbardAnne and Albert Chao, Nancy and Rich Kinder,  Jeri and Marc Shapiro, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Warren Tichenor and wife Rhonda, Molly Crownover, Peggy and Bill Barnett, Cynthia and Tony Petrello, Margaret Alkek Williams, Elizabeth and Malcolm Gillis, Linda and Dr. Walter McReynolds, Kristen and Lee Nix, Joanne King Herring and Heidi Cruz, wife of Sen. Ted Cruz.

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