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Distinguished Canada-U.S. Address to Feature Ambassador Wilkins Feb. 2

PLATTSBURGH, NY __The Center for the Study of Canada at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh will present its Distinguished Canada-U.S. Address featuring the Honorable David H. Wilkins, the United States Ambassador to Canada, on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. in the Hyman and Frances Krinovitz Recital Hall in Hawkins Hall.

The Honorable David H. Wilkins Wilkins was nominated by President George W. Bush to become the United States Ambassador to Canada on April 27, 2005 and was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on May 26, 2005. He presented his credentials to the Governor General on June 29, 2005 to become the 21st United States Ambassador to Canada.

His address, titled, "The Ties that Bind Us: The United States-Canada Relationship," is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the center at 518-564-2385.


Ambassador Wilkins has made it his top priority to meet with, listen to and learn from Canadians. In a little more than six months at post, he has logged more than 65,000 miles traveling across Canada from coast to coast. His travels have taken him as far north as Nunavut, as far west as Vancouver, as far east as Prince Edward Island, and all points in between. The Ambassador considers his highest priority strengthening the ties that bind the United States with Canada.

Since his arrival, Wilkins has welcomed a number of high-profile visitors to Canada including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Treasure Secretary John Snow and a number of U.S. Senators including Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

Wilkins was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1980 and served there for 25 years. He quickly rose through the ranks in the House of Representatives, serving six years as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and two years as speaker pro tem before being elected speaker, a position he held for 11 years. He was the first Republican elected speaker of any legislative body in the South since Reconstruction and retired as one of the longest serving speakers in the country.

Throughout his distinguished career, Wilkins has received numerous awards including the 2004 Excellence in State Legislative Leadership Award from the National Conference of State Legislatures. He has been named Outstanding Legislator of the Year by a wide range of organizations and was also named the National Republican Legislator of the Year.

A strong supporter of President George W. Bush, Wilkins served as state chairman of the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign and as co-chair of the campaign in 2000. He was appointed by the President to the Board of Visitors to the United States Academy at West Point in 2002.

A native of Greenville, S.C., Wilkins graduated from Greenville High School and received his undergraduate degree from Clemson University and his law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law. After service in the Army, he returned to Greenville where he practiced law for more than 30 years.

Wilkins and his wife, Susan, have two sons - James and Robert. James has a degree in math from Clemson University and is currently working on his master's degree. Robert is a graduate of the University of South Carolina law school and is practicing law in Greenville where he resides with his wife, Stephanie.

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