Ambassador receives Foundation’s highest alumni honor
Salt Lake City — The first time Philip Lader boarded an airplane was when he traveled to England to attend the University of Oxford as a 1967-68 Ambassadorial Scholar. But it was more than just a trip across the ocean for the young American. Lader was embarking on the journey of a lifetime.
"My scholarship introduced me to a much broader and challenging world," said Lader, who grew up in New York and Florida as the son of a short-order cook.
Lader went on to achieve great success in the new world he had discovered. He served as the U.S. ambassador to Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2001. In addition, Lader worked under President Bill Clinton as the White House deputy chief of staff and assistant as well as deputy director in the Office of Management and Budget. Lader has also served on the boards of several civic, non-profit, and arts and education groups.
These were just some of the accomplishments that contributed to Lader's receiving the highest distinction The Rotary Foundation bestows on its alumni, the Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award. He accepted the honor on 16 June at an alumni reception preceding the 2007 RI Convention in Salt Lake City.
While receiving the award, Lader said, "It’s a wonderful honor. But I’m really embarrassed, because I know of the contributions of many others more deserving than me."
The Ambassadorial Scholarship and his studies at Oxford instilled in him a long and fond association with Great Britain. "In some mysterious way, it brought me to the U.S. embassy there," said Lader.
Furthermore, receiving the Ambassadorial Scholarship turned out to be more than just a way to pay for tuition. As part of the scholarship, recipients agree to speak at Rotary clubs when asked. "By visiting as many clubs as possible, it maximizes both the educational and cultural aspects for your scholarship year." Lader advised current Ambassadorial Scholars "to stay in close touch with Rotary" for the rest of their lives.
Lader recalled a time when the kindness of Rotarians touched him deeply. While traveling through Europe during Christmas break at Oxford, Lader got a telegram telling him of his father’s death. A Rotary club paid for his roundtrip airfare, making it possible for Lader to be home with his mother for the funeral.
Lader also encouraged Rotarians to continue to support other deserving students. Moreover, when the young Ambassadorial Scholars are traveling to Rotary clubs to speak, he urged club members to invite scholars into their homes and to find other ways to spend time with them.