2009 BOP Dinner

Bryan College held its second Bryan Opportunity Program fundraising dinner on April 16, 2009, at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, with more than 200 in attendance.
Michael Gerson, 2009 speaker
Michael Gerson was the featured speaker.  Mr. Gerson has been called one of President Bush’s most trusted advisors, the most influential presidential speechwriter in almost a half-century and the conscience of the White House.  As a senior administration official who participated in some of the most important events of recent history, he brings a broad perspective and strong and informed views to the political and policy debates of the day.
Mr. Gerson is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.  He writes a twice-weekly column for the Washington Post, and he is a Newsweek magazine contributor. 
Michael Gerson worked closely with President George W. Bush to express in memorable speeches the Nation’s response to the events of 9/11/2001, and then to define and explain the unfolding War on Terror.  He is recognized as one of the key intellectual architects of the Bush presidency, particularly on the issues of compassionate conservatism at home and the freedom agenda abroad.
Michael Gerson has participated as a policy advisor and speechwriter in the last three presidential elections.  His perspective is informed by a unique background as a policy expert on Capitol Hill, a working journalist, a senior presidential advisor, and now a commentator.
Mr. Gerson first joined the Bush presidential campaign in spring 1999 as Chief Speechwriter and Senior Policy Advisor, leaving his post as Senior Editor covering politics at U.S. News and World Report.  Gerson was also speechwriter and policy advisor for Jack Kemp, a speechwriter for Bob Dole during the 1996 presidential campaign, and policy director for Senator Dan Coats.  He also served as a senior policy advisor with the Heritage Foundation, a public policy research institution.
He is recognized and respected on left and right as an advocate for the poor and suffering at home and abroad.  He’s also known as a policy innovator on issues ranging from AIDS, to malaria, to genocide, to global development.  Singer and activist Bono has commented:  “Mike is known as a ‘moral compass’ at the White House.  Seems like that compass keeps pointing him in the direction of Africa.”
An alumnus of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, Mr. Gerson resides with his wife and their two children in Alexandria, Virginia.
Also speaking at the dinner was sophomore Andrew Zimmerman who shared his testimony and appreciation for the Bryan Opportunity Program.
A trio of Bryan students, Jake Fabry, David Villanueva, and Ben Whitley, shared musical selections.
Almost $122,000 was raised at the event to provide tuition for academically qualified Tennessee residents with a household income of $35,000 or less.