About Jack J. Valenti

Commemorative Video

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WHEREAS, Jack Joseph Valenti was born in Houston and was the youngest high school graduate in the city, at age 15; and

WHEREAS, Jack Joseph Valenti enrolled in evening classes at the University of Houston at age 16 while employed as an office boy with the Humble Oil Company, which is now ExxonMobil Corporation; and

WHEREAS, Jack Joseph Valenti served as President in each of the University of Houston Student Association, the UH Night Student Council, the Texas Student Government Association, his sophomore class, and the Pre-Law Club, as Vice President of his freshman class, as Vice Chairman of Frontier Fiesta, as director and co-writer of Varsity Varieties, and as a staff member on The Daily Cougar; and

WHEREAS, Jack Joseph Valenti's leadership at the University of Houston also includes the presidency of the Ex Students Association, which became the Houston Alumni Organization, from which he received a Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1952; and

WHEREAS, Jack Joseph Valenti was a member of the original University of Houston Board of Regents established in 1963 upon the entry of UH into the state system; and

WHEREAS, Jack Joseph Valenti served his country with distinction during World War II as an Army Air Corps lieutenant, flying 51 combat missions as the pilot-commander of a B-25 attack bomber with the 12th Air Force in Italy, and receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with four clusters, the Distinguished Unit Citation with one cluster, and the European Theater Ribbon with four battle stars, and

WHEREAS, Jack Joseph Valenti co-founded the successful Houston advertising and political consulting agency of Weekley & Valent that served as liaison with the news media during the November 1963 visit to Texas by President John F. Kennedy, and

WHEREAS, Jack Joseph Valenti was the first person hired as a special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson within hours of President Kennedy's assassination in Dallas, and served as the new President's speechwriter and advisor, and

WHEREAS, Jack Joseph Valenti left the White House in 1966 to become the third President and Chief Executive Officer of the Motion Picture Association of America where he served with great distinction for 38 years as the film industry's leading spokesperson, Washington lobbyist, guiding the nation's film and television industry through many social and economic challenges, from establishing the motion picture rating system to investigating film and videotape pirating and counterfeiting at home and abroad, and

WHEREAS, Jack Joseph Valenti received many honors and awards during his lifetime, including the Honorary Life Member Award from the Directors Guild of America, the coveted Legion d'Honneur, the French Legion of Honor, and the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa from the University of Houston, now, therefore

LET IT BE KNOWN, that the University of Houston will name the School of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences The Jack J. Valenti School of Communication in honor of his remarkable, unparalleled, and unselfish service to his nation, the motion picture industry, and the University of Houston.