TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The opening of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park, the nation’s 12th and newest Presidential Library, had a special Alabama flair to it, thanks to the work of Michael Eady, a University of Alabama senior public relations major from Birmingham (zip code 35124) who contributed as assistant to the deputy director of the Clinton Foundation.
When Eady moved to Little Rock, Ark., in hopes of finding a summer internship, he got more than he ever imagined. Now, not only has Eady gained valuable work-related experience, but he also had the chance to be involved creating a piece of the nation’s history.
“I moved to Little Rock, where I could live with my friend and try to get a summer internship,” said Eady, a student in UA’s College of Communication and Information Sciences. “After a friend contacted Skip Rutherford, president of the Clinton Foundation, and told him I was interested in a summer position, I applied and was accepted.”
As the summer came to a close, the full-time staff of the Clinton Foundation asked Eady if he would consider taking a semester off from college and work for them until the Presidential Library opened on Nov. 18. Knowing what a great experience he had already gained from his time in Little Rock, Eady knew he could not pass up what he calls, “a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
During his time at the Clinton Presidential Library, Eady has met President Clinton, former Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, George Takei (who played Captain Sulu on Star Trek) of Los Angeles and former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
In preparation for the William J. Clinton Presidential Library grand opening, Eady worked closely with the local and national media managing scheduling requests for President Clinton as well as managing the art donation policies for the Clinton Foundation.
“The Clinton Foundation receives so many requests from people and organizations wishing to donate art,” Eady said. “I help provide samples of the art for our art committee to review.”
Eady was also highly involved with the logistics for the grand opening of the library including compiling lists of invitees and sending out invitations, working with the city of Little Rock to manage ceremonies and making sure VIP guests such as rock group U2, and actor Kevin Spacey had the accommodations they required.
Eady currently serves as assistant to Deputy Director Shannon Butler. “Although his jobs were not always as glamorous as giving tours to Bono, the Edge, Chris Tucker and Star Trek personality George Takei, Michael was always willing to work hard and put in long hours while still maintaining a sense of humor and peppy personality. He has been an asset to our office during a very busy and historical time. While living in Arkansas, he not only earned the respect of our staff, he also earned the respect of people in the community. He brought great credit to the University of Alabama and was a true ambassador of your state.”
The job has been an incredible learning experience, Eady adds. “Shannon Butler and Skip Rutherford are two of the hardest workers I have ever been around. They have done so much for me as a person over the past several months. I never dreamed I would have this kind of opportunity or that I could be a part of such a historic project.”
“We are extremely proud of Michael Eady’s work and his contribution to this historic project,” said Dr. Culpepper Clark, C&IS dean. “Students from The University of Alabama College of Communications and Information Sciences are making a difference across the country in both the public and private sector.”
For more information about the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and the Clinton Foundation go to www.clintonfoundation.org.
The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.