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Captain Michael Wettlaufer, Commanding Officer of the USS JOHN C. STENNIS aircraft carrier, and his wife Tina visited Mississippi on February 2-6, 2014.  Captain Wettlaufer addressed the Mississippi House and Senate and toured Senator Stennis’ hometown of DeKalb with Margaret Stennis Womble, daughter of the late senator. Having the Commanding Officer of the USS STENNIS visit Mississippi gives him a better understanding of Senator Stennis and the state that produced him and that he loved and served throughout his life.  The visit also reminds Mississippians of Senator Stennis' service and of the service the men and women on the USS STENNIS are providing our nation as they project American strength throughout the world.

Stennis Center Mourns Eph Cresswell, Founding Board Chairman

Eph Cresswell, founding chairman of the Stennis Center’s Board of Trustees, died on January 29. He was the administrative assistant, now known as chief of staff, for Senator John C. Stennis from 1958 to 1989.  He served as chairman of the board from 1989 to 2010.  In 2010, the Stennis Center established the William E. “Eph” Cresswell Congressional Staff Leadership Award to recognize and honor an exceptional congressional staff leader who has demonstrated the ideals of patriotism, integrity and leadership through public service that characterized his life and career.


The Stennis Fellows of the 113th Congress held their first roundtable on December 9, 2013. Their theme is “Meeting the Challenge:  Bridging Boundaries for the Common Good.”  They met with a distinguished panel to explore numerous questions, including:

•  What is the historical perspective of polarization?
•  What is the role of the media in polarization and how has it changed?
•  How can you have a dialogue with the current level of distrust?
•  How can we as staff promote bipartisanship and cooperation?

USS STENNIS Award Winners Visit D.C.

The leadership award winners from the USS JOHN C. STENNIS aircraft carrier and their families visited Washington, DC on November 17-20, 2013 as part of the Stennis Center’s Aircraft Carrier Leadership Awards Program.

Citizens Engage in Work of Democracy

The Stennis Center is working with the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress (ACSC) on developing an issue brief for public deliberation.  The group met at the Kettering Foundation in Dayton, Ohio on November 19-20, 2013 to discuss how citizens can get along with others who have differing views in order to do the work of democracy.

Civil-Military Dinner with the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert

On September 30, 2013, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Saxby Chambliss led a dinner discussion on a variety of national security issues with Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations.  Senators Reed and Chambliss have led a series of discussions bringing together military leaders and first-term Senators, as part of the Stennis Center’s Civil-Military Leadership Program.

Stennis Fellows Conduct Dialogue Retreat

The 113th Congress Stennis Fellows met at the National Conservation Training Center near Shepherdstown, West Virginia September 20-21, 2013 to explore more effective usage of dialogue as a leadership tool on Capitol Hill.  The bipartisan and bicameral group of Congressional staff leaders is exploring the theme of "Meeting the Challenge:  Bridging Boundaries for the Common Good" as they work together in a series of roundtable sessions and retreats.


Former Congressmen Barry Goldwater, Jr. (R-CA) and John Hall (D-NY) visited Denison University in Ohio on September 15-17, 2013 as part of the Congress to Campus program.  This joint program with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress helps college students understand the importance of Congress in American life and the value of public service.


Former Members of Congress Earl Hutto (D-FL) and Sue Kelly (R-NY) visited Jacksonville State University in Alabama on September 15-17, 2013 as part of the Congress to Campus program, a joint effort with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress.  The program sends bipartisan pairs of former Members of Congress – one Democrat and one Republican – to visit college campuses around the country.


The Stennis Novice Speech and Debate Tournament, established in 1995, was held in September on the campus of Mississippi State University. Over 250 students from throughout the state competed in this tournament, which is tailored to students competing for the first time. The 2013 tournament included tributes to the late Billy Tate, former president of the National Forensic League, who helped start speech and debate in Mississippi and who was a founder of the Stennis tournament.

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