J.C. Watts has his cards spread among many players. Currently, he serves as the chairman of J. C. Watts Companies, chairman of FM Policy Focus, corporate director of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Clear Channel Communications, Dillard’s, and Terex Corporation, a political commentator, and author. To add to his eventful schedule, Watts will speak during Lamar State College-Orange’s Distinguished Lecture Series Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lutcher Theater.

As a pastor, businessman, former congressman and football phenom, Watts is no stranger to serving his community, his country, and even across the oceans. As chairman of J C. Watts Companies, Watts provides strategic focus and program leadership to the firm’s business engagements, alliances and initiatives. He works with clients to implement business development, communications and public affairs strategies.

Watts has continued his public service by leading a United States delegation to Vienna, Austria, at the request of President Bush and Secretary of State Powell, and to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Conference on Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia. He joined President Bush on his historic trip to Africa, and also co-founded and co-chairs the Coalition for AIDS Relief in Africa and serves on the board of the Corporate Council on Africa.

He also serves on the boards of the Boy Scouts of America and the United States Military Academy at West Point, and he is a Distinguished Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He is also the chairman of GOPAC and has created the J.C. Watts Foundation to focus on urban renewal and other charitable initiatives.

Watts was elected to the United States Congress from the fourth district of Oklahoma in 1994. In 1998, he was elected by his peers to serve as chairman of the Republican Conference, the fourth-ranking leadership position in the majority party in the United States House of Representatives, and a position once held by Dick Cheney, Jack Kemp and Gerald Ford. In this capacity, Watts provided daily counsel to the Speaker of the House, and participated in bi-weekly meetings with the President of the United States.

As a member of Congress representing the fourth district of Oklahoma, Watts served for eight years on the House Armed Services Committee. Watts authored legislation to create, and then he later served on, the House Select Committee on Homeland Security. He also served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as well as the House Banking Committee.

Watts led two congressional trade missions to Africa. Mr. Watts co-authored the American Community Renewal and New Markets Act, which President Clinton signed into law in 2000. He was the author of President Bush’s faith based initiative, the Community Solutions Act of 2001. Watts also developed legislation with Congressman John Lewis to establish a Smithsonian museum of African American history.

J.C. Watts graduated from Eufaula High School in 1976 and attended the University of Oklahoma until his graduation in 1981 with a BA in journalism. While at the University of Oklahoma, Watts was quarterback for the Sooners, leading them to two consecutive Big Eight Championships and Orange Bowl victories.

He was voted the Most Valuable Player in the 1980 and 1981 Orange Bowls. From 1981 to 1986, he started for Ottawa and Toronto in the Canadian Football League and was voted the Most Valuable Player of the Grey Cup, the CFL’s Super Bowl, during his rookie season.

After returning to Oklahoma, Watts served as a youth minister at Sunnylane Baptist Church in Del City, Oklahoma from January 1987 until December 1994, when he then became associate pastor. In 1990 he was elected to the Oklahoma State Corporation Commission and became chairman before running for Congress in 1994.

He makes guest appearances on national and international television news shows and radio shows. Watts has been quoted in numerous newspaper articles, both in the United States and around the world. In addition to writing a monthly column in the Sporting News, he has authored a book titled, What Color is a Conservative?

The J. C. Watts lecture, as a feature of the LSC-O Distinguished Lecture Series, is one part of the school’s mission statement: “To provide community service activities that promote economic development and cultural awareness.” The event is free and open to the public. Following the lecture and question / answer session will be a short reception and book signing, with copies of Watt’s book available for purchase.

For more information, call Director of Student Activities Wendy Elliott at 882-3097.