Ashcroft to speak Tuesday in Fulton at ‘Breakthrough’ sculpture anniversary

After participating in the 1990 dedication of the “Breakthrough” Berlin Wall sculpture at Westminster College, former U.S. Attorney Gen. John Ashcroft will return to Fulton Tuesday for the 20th anniversary celebration of the sculpture.

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President Ronald Reagan was the featured speaker at the dedication of the sculpture on Nov. 9, 1990.

Eight sections of the actual Berlin Wall were used by sculptress Edwina Sandys to create the sculpture in memory of her grandfather, Sir Winston Churchill.

Ashcroft was the governor of Missouri at the time of the original “Breakthrough” dedication.

Ashcroft will deliver his thoughts on his address and events on Nov. 9, 1990, when the sculpture was dedicated.

The event will begin at 4 p.m., Tuesday at the “Breakthrough” sculpture on Latshaw Plaza of the Westminster campus.

“We want to invite everyone to come join us as we celebrate this great day in the history of the College,” says Westminster President Dr. George B. Forsythe. “We are honored that Attorney General Ashcroft has agreed to join us to deliver a special message for this celebration.”

Introducing Ashcroft will be former Missouri State Supreme Court Judge Edward “Chip” Robertson, Jr., Westminster class of 1974. Robertson was chief of staff to Gov. Ashcroft in 1990 and was also in attendance at the original dedication ceremony.

Other speakers at the event will include Westminster President Dr. George B. Forsythe and Dr. Rob Havers, executive director of the National Churchill Museum, which is co-sponsoring the event with Westminster College.

A panel discussion will be held earlier in the day on the Westminster campus. It will include local citizens and journalists who attended the original event 20 years ago reminiscing about the experience. The public event will be at 11 a.m. at the Lecture Hall in the Coulter Science Center on campus.

Churchill had predicted the beginning of the Cold War in his famous “Sinews of Peace” address in which he coined the term Iron Curtain to describe the spread of Soviet communist empire emerging in Europe after World War II.

Churchill’s granddaughter envisioned a sculpture made from sections of the Wall to stand near the statute of her grandfather on the Westminster campus. She traveled to East Germany and persuaded the German government to donate eight sections of the Wall to be used for her creation. The sculpture is 11-feet high by 32-feet long.

Ashcroft has a long career of public service on behalf of the state of Missouri and the nation. His political career began in 1973 with a term as Missouri auditor, followed by two terms as Missouri’s attorney general. From 1985 until 1993, he served as Missouri governor.

After two terms as the chief executive of the state, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994 and served in this position until 2001. President George W. Bush appointed him as the 79th U.S. attorney general in 2001 and he led the department until 2005.

That year he established The Ashcroft Group, a strategic consulting firm for corporations worldwide in the areas of national security, corporate governance, litigation strategy, crisis management, regulatory advice and entrepreneurial ventures.

Ashcroft holds an undergraduate degree from Yale University and his law degree from the University of Chicago.

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