Senator Warren Bruce Rudman

warren_rudmanWarren Bruce Rudman was an alumnus of Syracuse University and also a military veteran. You should know his story because it’s a Syracuse University story—one that speaks to our past, our present, and our future.

Born on May 18, 1930 in Boston, Massachusetts, Rudman was the son of two Jewish immigrants who boasted a hardy German, Polish, and Russian lineage. Rudman spent much of his life in New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., save a handful of spells at Valley Forge Military Academy in Pennsylvania, at Syracuse University for undergraduate studies (’52), and in the Korean War as a US Army infantryman. After returning from Korea, he earned a law degree from Boston College in 1960.

As an attorney, Rudman grew increasingly active in government in the 1960s, eventually serving as legal counsel to the Governor of New Hampshire. By 1970, he was appointed as New Hampshire’s Attorney General, a position he held until 1976. Without delay, Rudman entered politics by successfully running for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Senator Rudman served from 1980 to 1993 and built a strong reputation as “the Sledgehammer” on ethical matters in Congress and a moderate with the deeply-held belief in bipartisan compromise as a cornerstone of good government.

Senator Rudman distinguished himself on federal budget and national security and foreign policy issues. He was a key sponsor of the historic Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget Act of 1985. He also served on a number of oversight bodies and investigative panels, including vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition—better known as the Iran-Contra Affair. He worked closely with Senator Inouye from Hawaii to uncover the fact that White House aides violated the law by selling weapons to Iran and financing anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua with dirty money. Continuing his work in national security, Warren served as an Advisory Board member and Co-chair of the Partnership for a Secure America, a non-profit that strived to broker relationships across-the-aisle to advance interests in American national security and foreign policy.

Rudman was so widely respected among his contemporaries that, following his tenure in the Senate, Ross Perot offered him the slot as his 1996 vice presidential running mate (though he declined), Senator John McCain appointed him as his 2000 presidential campaign chair, and Senator John Kerry included him on his short list of his 2004 VP running mates. Senator and later Secretary of Defense William Cohen of Maine said of Rudman, “In two terms, he had as great an impact as any senator that I’ve known.”

In 2001, President Clinton honored Senator Rudman with the Presidential Citizens Medal to commemorate and celebrate his legislative accomplishments. Rudman later championed a team of lawyers as independent counsel to investigate the suspicious accounting practices that had been occurring at Fannie Mae from 2004-2006.

Prior to his death in 2012, Rudman sat as the co-chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global consulting and strategy organization co-founded by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. He is remembered best for fighting for the middle ground, notably from President Obama who also applauded Rudman’s early efforts advocating for fiscal responsibility and a balanced budget. Senator Rudman’s legacy is honored at the University of New Hampshire Law School; The Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership, & Public Policy is dedicated to his memory.

Senator Warren Bruce Rudman was an alumnus of Syracuse University, and a veteran of the U.S. military. You should know his story.