Former Dole Institute director expected to give Ford eulogy

Citizens pay tribute to late president

Judy Plumley, of Brighton, Mich., views a photograph of President Gerald Ford, left, and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev meeting in November 1974 in Vladivostok, Russia. The picture is in the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Mich. Ford, the 38th U.S. president, died Tuesday at 93.

Richard Norton Smith, former director of Kansas University’s Dole Institute of Politics, is expected to deliver a eulogy for President Ford during services Wednesday in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The biographer and historian first came to KU in 2001 after serving as executive director of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation in Grand Rapids. He led the Dole Institute until 2004, when he became director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Ill.

Smith, now a scholar-in-residence at George Mason University in Virginia, declined Thursday to discuss details of the Ford services, saying he’d rather wait until a formal announcement is made.

Smith has served as director of the Ford, Reagan, Hoover and Eisenhower presidential libraries.

A national expert on the American presidency, Smith appears frequently on C-SPAN and “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.”

A prayer service and public viewing today in Palm Desert, Calif., begin five days of services for Ford, who died Tuesday. Two funeral services also are planned in Washington, D.C.