Our Saint Elizabeth Seton School friends and sponsors gathered to hear some delightful insights on diplomacy and patriotism from a living history icon. The Honorable George Shultz, who served in various capacities under three different Republican presidents, and most notably as Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan, shared memories of his decades of public service in a live interview with his biographer, Phil Taubman, in the Seton School’s auditorium. Secretary Shultz just celebrated his 98th Birthday in December of 2018.
The interview was preceded by a reception hosted by Saint Elizabeth Seton volunteers, teachers, and staff to welcome our local community and members of the Seton Family who generously support the school, and its Vincentian mission.
Secretary Shultz discussed his work with world leaders in pursuit of peace during the Cold War. He highlighted the importance of trust in building relationships with foreign dignitaries, and how small gestures like sending Christmas cards or greeting heads of state when arriving at airports can lay the groundwork for historic diplomatic progress. Secretary Shultz emphasized that these gestures were not just niceties, but were essential to his work. These small acts opened dialogue between figures who may not see eye to eye on every issue, but who are willing to work for the common good.
Seton has been blessed to have Secretary Shultz as a member of its family for the last twenty-two years. His late wife served as a volunteer at the school, and Secretary Shultz has continued her legacy through an annual essay contest for Seton’s eighth grade students. Each year, these students submit essays on topics ranging from American history to current events. Two winners receive a scholarship – The Shultz Award – and finalists are invited to join in a discussion with Secretary Shultz about world affairs such as immigration and climate change. It is an unforgettable experience for Seton students to learn history from one of the people who helped to shape it.