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Alberto Gonzales    

Former Attorney General of the United States

Appointed the 80th Attorney General of the United States, Alberto Gonzales became the first Hispanic to lead the nations largest law enforcement office. Former White House Counsel to President George W. Bush, Gonzales played a vital role in the administrations fight in the war on terror and addressing the changing role of the Department of Justice post 9-11.

As Attorney General, Gonzales focused on modernizing the nations laws to effectively deal with the dangers facing the nation. He established the Justice departments national security division and pioneered new strategies for prosecuting terrorism suspects. In addition to his attention on national security, Gonzales focused on corporate and public integrity, the causes and remedies of gang violence, and he created the Project Safe Childhood initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.

A native Texan, Gonzales was raised in a household that personified the core American values of hard work, personal initiative, dedication to family and perseverance in the face of adversity. One of eight children, he lived in the house built by his father and two uncles. A graduate of Rice University, he was the only family member to go to college.

After receiving his law degree from Harvard Law School, Gonzales joined the law firm of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. in Houston where he later became a partner. In 1995, he was named general counsel to then-Texas Governor George W. Bush, eventually rising to serve as Secretary of State of Texas in 1997 and as Justice to the Texas Supreme Court in 1999.

Today Gonzales is working in the government relations, government investigations and white collar defense areas for Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP, one of Nashvilles largest law firms. In January 2012, he will begin teaching at Belmont University College of Law as the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law. At the podium, Gonzales draws on the strength of his heritage and the insights of his background, examines the privilege of public service and the enduring values of faith, family, and freedom that continue to make this nation great. Having served during one of our nations most turbulent times, he offers a unique perspective on homeland security and the policies necessary for keeping the nation safe.

Among the many boards he has served on are Big Brothers and Sisters, Catholic Charities, the State Bar of Texas and the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast. He served as President of the Houston Hispanic Bar Association,President of Leadership Houston, and President of the Houston Hispanic Forum.

Gonzales has been recognized by numerous organizations and for his enduring contributions to the law. Among his many honors, in 2003 he was inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Alumni Hall of Fame; in 2002 Gonzales received the Harvard Law School Association award. In 1999 he was named Latino Lawyer of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association and in 1997, he received a Presidential Citation from the State Bar of Texas for his dedication to addressing basic legal needs of the indigent.

Gonzales was born in San Antonio, Texas and raised in Houston. He served in the United States Air Force between 1973 and 1975, and attended the United States Air Force Academy between 1975 and 1977.

He and his wife, Rebecca Turner Gonzales, have three sons.

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