Laurel Asness has been active in many charitable endeavors including autism research, education, and many Nebraskan specific charities. Along with her husband Cliff, Managing Principal of AQR Capital Management, Laurel has helped advance think tanks focused on national security and education advocacy groups designed to help close Connecticut’s achievement gap.

Laurel previously worked in both the Asset Management and Fixed Income divisions at the global banking firm Goldman Sachs. She also worked at Christie’s, the fine arts auction house, in New York City.

She received her Bachelor of Arts from Boston University and Master of Social Work from New York University. Laurel currently resides in Greenwich, Connecticut with her husband and four young children.

William J. Bennett is one of America’s most important, influential and respected voices on cultural, political, and education issues. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Bill Bennett studied philosophy at Williams College (B.A.) and the University of Texas (Ph.D.) and earned a law degree from Harvard. He is the Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute and a Senior Advisor to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Over the course of his professional life, in education, government and the private sector, Dr. Bennett has succeeded in a trifecta of American institutions. He brings broad and deep experience achieved from a unique series of successes in several distinct fields: He is an award-winning professor in academia, having taught at Boston University, the University of Texas and Harvard; he is a three-time confirmed executive in the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations including holding two cabinet-level positions, Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan and the Nation’s first Drug Czar under the first President Bush; he is the author of 20 books, including two New York Times Number One best sellers and two of the most successful books of the 1990s; he is the co-founder and served as the first Chairman of K12, Inc., a very successful online education company; and he is the host of the number seven ranked nationally syndicated radio show, Morning in America.

In his various roles, Dr. Bennett is perceived—even by his adversaries—as a man of strong, reasoned convictions who speaks candidly, eloquently, and honestly about some of the most important issues of our time.

Dr. Bennett’s latest book is The Fight of our Lives: Knowing the Enemy, Speaking the Truth & Choosing to Win the War Against Radical Islam. His three volume set of the history of the United States entitled America: The Last Best Hope, has been widely praised. The volumes have been adopted for school use in the State of Indiana and the City of New York, and are currently being adopted by other school systems around the country. As a communicator, Dr. Bennett has received rare acclaim. In 2002 he was named by focus groups and leading analysts the “Best Communicator of 2002,” and the most well-received public commentator on the issues of “pride, patriotism, faith, and moral conviction.” In April of 2005, the Sunday New York Times named Dr. Bennett the “leading spokesman of the Traditional Values wing of the Republican Party.”

Although he is a well-known Republican, Dr. Bennett often has crossed party lines in order to pursue important common purposes. He has worked closely with Democratic leaders such as Senator Joseph Lieberman to fight the decline of popular culture and to end worldwide religious persecution.

Thanks to his government positions, his writings and speeches, and thousands of media appearances, William Bennett has extraordinary influence on America’s political and social landscape. He now appears exclusively on cable television on CNN. He has been named one of the most influential individuals in America. He, his wife Elayne, and their two sons live in Maryland.

Dr. Bruce Cole served on Constituting America’s National Advisory Board and as one of our artwork judges since our founding 2010. We are incredibly indebted to Dr. Cole for his advice and guidance when we began Constituting America and are proud to keep him in our memory and h0nor him on this page.

Dr. Cole was the President and CEO of the American Revolution Center (ARC), the first national institution devoted to exploring the history and continuing impact of the American Revolution. Before coming to ARC, Cole served as the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), where he managed a budget of $150 million and a staff of 170 and was responsible for awards totaling over $800 million dollars. Appointed by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2001 and again in 2005, Cole was the longest serving Chairman of the NEH. Under Cole’s leadership, the NEH launched key initiatives, including We the People, a program designed to encourage the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture, and the Picturing America project, which uses great American art to teach our nation’s history and culture in 80,000 schools and public libraries nationwide. He also created the NEH’s Digital Humanities Initiative and Office which made the Endowment a national leader in this new frontier of humanities access and knowledge. Under his tenure partnerships were developed with several foreign countries, including Mexico and China.

Cole’s connection with the Endowment began when he received an NEH fellowship. He subsequently served as a panelist in NEH’s peer review system, and then as a member for seven years of the National Council on the Humanities, the presidentially appointed and senate-confirmed 26-member NEH advisory board. Cole came to the Endowment in December 2001, from Indiana University in Bloomington, where he was Distinguished Professor of Art History and Professor of Comparative Literature. In 2008, he received the President’s Medal from the University for “excellence in service, achievement and teaching.” In 2006, Governor Mitch Daniels awarded Cole the Sagamore of the Wabash, which recognizes individuals who have brought distinction to the state of Indiana.

The medal is one of the highest honors the President can confer upon a civilian, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Earlier in 2008, Cole was decorated Knight of the Grand Cross, the highest honor of the Republic of Italy.

Jeremy Kinney is the President of Kinney Oil. He is the former Chairman of Opera Colorado, and currently serves as an Honorary Director of Opera Colorado. Mr. Kinney is the current Chairman of the Tesoro Foundation, doing business as the Tesoro Cultural Center (Tesoro means “treasure” in Spanish), whose mission is to protect and make available to the community the artistic treasures of the American past, with a special focus on the opening of the American Southwest. Mr. Kinney is also one of the founders of the Scientific Cultural Facilities Districts of Colorado, a special tax district in the Denver metropolitan area that supports art, culture, and science organizations to enrich the community. Mr. Kinney is a graduate of Yale University and received an MBA from Harvard. He is married to the former Holly Arnold.

Anita B. McBride was appointed as Executive in Residence at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University’s School of Public Affairs in April 2010. Mrs. McBride was the committee chair for the “The Legacies of America’s First Ladies” conference held in March 2011, which examined both the powerful job and the women who, though unelected and unpaid, devoted themselves to it. “It’s a topic near and dear to my heart,” said Anita McBride.

From 2005 to 2009, she served as Assistant to President George W. Bush and Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush. She was responsible for the First Lady’s policy, press, correspondence, scheduling and advance, speechwriting, and social offices and directed the staff’s work on the wide variety of issues in which Mrs. Bush was involved. As a senior member of President Bush’s staff, Mrs. McBride was responsible for working with West Wing policy advisors to coordinate the First Lady’s efforts in support of specific presidential policies and initiative including global health and education and human rights.

Mrs. McBride’s White House service spans two decades and three administrations. She joined the Reagan Administration in 1984. From 1987 to 1992, Mrs. McBride was Director of White House Personnel under Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Mrs. McBride also served as Director of the Speakers Bureau at the United States Information Agency in 1992. Under President George W. Bush, Mrs. McBride served as Special Assistant to the President for White House Management. From 2001 to 2004, Mrs. McBride served in the State Department, where she was Senior Advisor to the Secretary and White House Liaison from 2001 to 2003 and then Senior Advisor in the Bureau of International Organizations in 2004. Mrs. McBride was a member of U.S. delegations to the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2002, the UN Commission on Human Rights in 2003, and the UN Special Session on HIV/AIDSin 2006. Mrs. McBride’s private sector experience includes serving as project manager of the Smith Kline Beecham Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program, Science in the Summer. Mrs. McBride is a member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, a public-private partnership between the U.S. and Afghan governments, Georgetown University, and private-sector institutions. In 2008, Mrs. McBride was honored by the Afghan government for her commitment to Afghan issues. Mrs. McBride is a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Italian American Foundation and also serves as a Member of the Advisory Committee for the Mothers Day Every Day Campaign, which is a maternal and child health advocacy organization chaired by Ann Veneman and Donna Shalala.

Mrs. McBride received her B.A. in International Studies from the University of Connecticut in 1981, and studied international relations and foreign languages at American University in Washington and the University of Florence in Italy. Mrs. McBride is recipient of the National Guard and Reserve’s Patriot Award and the University of Connecticut’s President’s Award of Distinction.

Mrs. McBride was appointed to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board by President George W. Bush in January 2009.

Suzy Pence has enjoyed participating in the educational, philanthropic, cultural and political affairs of the Washington D.C. region for over forty years.

Suzy appreciates and supports multiple efforts to enhance the education of America’s younger generations. She has been active in building the new law school library at American University, as well as various construction campaigns at the Langley School (McLean, VA). With her husband Bob, a real estate developer, Suzy has created study abroad and scholarships for foreign travel for over 70 high school, college, law school, and graduate students.

Suzy, in support of Republican Congressional and Senate candidates as well as those for state and national office, has hosted many fundraising events in her home.
On a cultural level, Suzy is a member of the International Committee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She particularly enjoys supporting the programs and performances of the Shakespeare Theatre (Washington D.C.) and the Wolf Trap Foundation (Vienna, VA). The Pences are sincerely honored to serve as sponsors of many initiatives in support of the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States.
Suzy received both her undergraduate degree and an M.L.S. from the University of Maryland. Suzy and her husband Bob, a real estate developer, live in Georgetown, Washington D.C. They have three sons and seven grandchildren.

Jeri Thompson is a stay at home mom, who in between car pools, play dates and classroom projects, provides commentary for a number of radio, TV and online outlets. Topics often include policy and politics in the context of how such things affect moms and families. She can frequently be seen on Fox News shows, including regular appearances on “Hannity.” She served as a co-host on the “Fred Thompson Radio Show,” something that was unavoidable because, first, former Sen. Fred Thompson is her husband, and second, the show was broadcast from their home studio.

For many years, Jeri worked as a communications and political consultant in Washington, D.C. She worked at the Republican National Committee, the Republican Senatorial Conference, Burson-Marsteller and the law firm of Verner Liipfert.

Jeri graduated with a degree in English literature from DePauw University in 1988. She currently serves on the nominations board of the Susan B. Anthony List, and has been involved in a number of political and philanthropic fundraising efforts over the years. She and Fred live in the Washington, DC area, with their two children, Hayden and Sammy.