A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Ambassador Wilkins spent the early part of this week in Toronto attending a Porter Airlines Board meeting. Much progress is being made on Porter's Toronto City Centre terminal construction and expansion plans continue! Along with Porter's recently announced plans to fly into Boston's Logan International Airport this fall, Porter is now making year-round flights between Toronto and Thunder Bay.
Sittin' on G Waitin' on O
Ambassador Wilkins successor, Chicago attorney David Jacobson, is "sittin' on G waitin' on O" as we say down South and is more than ready to start his ambassadorial duties up North. As Jacobson told Wilkins recently over dinner in Washington, he and his wife are excited and eager to get to work in Canada. But first he must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
With the Senate slated to recess the first week of August and his hearing yet to be scheduled, the Jacobsons - and Canada - may find a much anticipated move not happening until September. Hopefully, there will be some movement in the next few weeks.
Keeping it Real
During their years in Canada, Ambassador and Mrs. Wilkins often noted that the beautiful Ottawa residence in which they were privileged to live was simply a big house until Canadian friends filled it with love and memories and truly made it a home.
Wilkins will share many of these memories, along with his diplomatic experiences and travels throughout Canada, in a speech today to the Greater Greenville Association of Realtors.
Wilkins will speak to the group about what he considers the United States most important bilateral relationship - the history and friendship that unites the U.S and Canada, the issues that continue to challenge us, and why as America wrestles with serious issues like energy and healthcare it should consider the resources and experiences of our closest friend and ally.
Clemson PR Department Makes it Official
CLEMSON, SC - Longtime South Carolina legislator and former U.S. Ambassador to Canada David H. Wilkins was unanimously elected chairman of the Clemson University board of trustees Friday, July 17, beginning a two-year term. He has served on the board since 2007.
"I am humbled and honored to be elected chairman and am grateful to my fellow board members for their trust and support. Clemson University has been an important part of my life for a very long time," he said. "I look forward to working closely with the board and the administration to make sure Clemson serves the future as well as it has served the past."
Wilkins is a partner at the law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP and chairs the Public Policy and International Law practice group.
He was appointed by President George W. Bush to become the 21st U.S. Ambassador to Canada, serving in that capacity from June 2005 to January 2009.
During his tenure, he helped resolve many high-profile issues between the two nations, including a decades-old softwood lumber trade dispute and is credited with strengthening the relationship between the United States and Canada.
Prior to his appointment as ambassador, Wilkins practiced law for 34 years in Greenville.
He was elected to the S.C. House of Representatives in 1980 and served for 25 years. He was chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and was speaker pro tem before being elected speaker of the House in 1994, a position he held for 11 years making him the third longest-serving speaker in the state's history. In 2001, he served as president of the National Speakers Association. Wilkins, appointed by President Bush, served on the Board at West Point from 2002 to 2005. He also served in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Reserves.
A native of Greenville, Wilkins attended Clemson University on a full athletic scholarship and served as captain of the tennis team. He earned his undergraduate degree in history from Clemson in 1968 and his law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1971.
He previously served on Clemson's Board of Visitors and received the Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award in 2003.
He and his wife of 37 years, Susan, reside in Greenville and have two sons and two grandchildren.
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