On Jan. 30, 1969, President Richard M. Nixon asked Congress to approve a restructuring of the executive branch, ultimately laying the groundwork for "the modern presidency."
Central to that effort by the President's Advisory Council on Executive Reorganization, better known as the Ash Council for its chair, Roy Ash, was Franklin & Marshall College alumnus Andrew M. Rouse, Class of 1949.
As executive director for the Ash Council, Rouse guided a sweeping reorganization of the administration, creating five new agencies: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Domestic Council, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Office of Telecommunications Policy.
At 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, in the Schnader Theatre of F&M's Roschel Performing Arts Center, Rouse and fellow Nixon adviser Geoff Shepard will discuss the history of the Ash Council and its enduring significance during a Nixon Legacy Forum, "Creation of the Modern Presidency." The event is free and open to the public.
Shepard, the former associate director for general government of the Domestic Council in the Nixon administration, will interview Rouse for a future broadcast on C-SPAN. The discussion will be followed by questions and answers from the audience.
"Andy Rouse is one of the unsung heroes of our government," said Shepard, an attorney, author, and lecturer best known for his work on the Nixon White House staff and his subsequent efforts to document policy initiatives of the Nixon Administration. "In his own way, he is a national treasure. An exceptionally bright and thoughtful individual, he saw government organization as a conceptual challenge -- not unlike that faced by our Founding Fathers. He helped shape the seminal work of the Ash Council from its very outset, and then helped to implement many of its recommendations.
"We are fortunate, indeed, to now have the opportunity for him to reflect on that effort, which formed the structural basis for how a president can manage the executive branch."
Organized by the Richard Nixon Foundation, the event at F&M is one of several "Nixon Legacy Forums" that examine various foreign and domestic policy initiatives of the Nixon administration. Shepard said the goal of these forums is to have former administration officials -- the ones who actually drafted the documents and papers now available to researchers at the Nixon Library -- explain the background and intent of their work, providing a look inside the decision-making and strategy involved in creating the government structure that exists today.
Rouse donated his papers to Franklin & Marshall, and they are kept in the College's archives.
"We have the opportunity to interview the folks who launched a series of important public policy initiatives and to record their responses for reference by future researchers and scholars," Shepard said.
Rouse graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 1949 and received a law degree from Columbia University in New York City. He began his career as a consultant with Arthur D. Little Company in Boston and later came to Washington to head a strategic analysis unit at the former Bureau of the Budget. He was a key member of the Ash Council staff, serving as deputy director and then executive director. He was then asked to join the Domestic Council staff to help follow through on some Ash Council recommendations.
After his work with the council, Rouse returned to Arthur D. Little and later joined INA Corp. as executive vice president for strategic planning. He helped to integrate INA with Connecticut General Corp. to form CIGNA, one of the nation's largest integrated insurance companies. Now retired from CIGNA, he continues to volunteer at F&M, where he is a distinguished alumnus, a member of the Founders Society, and an emeritus trustee who served from 1979 to 1994 and oversaw the creation of the Rouse Scholars Program.
Candidates for the Rouse Scholarships, cover tuition, books, and lab fees, must show significant leadership capability in areas such as the College Houses, athletic teams, student government, musical or performing groups, fraternities and sororities, volunteer organizations, or student clubs. Successful candidates are expected to have achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.4 or higher.