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posted: 9/4/2012 8:14 AM

Former GOP chairman coming to Benedictine University

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  • Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican Party, will speak Wednesday, Sept. 19, as part of Benedictine University's Presidential Election Series.

    Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican Party, will speak Wednesday, Sept. 19, as part of Benedictine University's Presidential Election Series.
    AP file photo

By Phil Brozynski
Benedictine University

The controversial former chairman of the Republican Party, Michael Steele, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, as part of the Presidential Election Series 2012 at Benedictine University's Krasa Student Center at 5700 College Road in Lisle.

Despite his acrimonious relationship with the Republican Party -- he was voted out as chairman after serving from 2009 to 2011 and was not invited to the convention -- Steele still espouses many of the party's philosophies and often can be seen on MSNBC presenting and defending its views.

Steele will share his experiences as party chairman, his expertise on political strategy and other topics related to the 2012 presidential election when he speaks at the school. His appearance is sponsored by the Center for Civic Leadership.

Last April, the center's Presidential Election Series 2012 featured Democratic strategist and political adviser David Axelrod. Steele was invited to speak at Benedictine by Jim Ryan, the former Illinois attorney general, who serves as director of the center.

Adopted at birth and educated at Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown University School of Law, Steele has worked in both the public and private sectors. He was an associate at a Washington, D.C., law firm and later served as lieutenant governor in Maryland before an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 2006.

Steele served in various capacities in state and national party politics before he was elected RNC chairman in 2009. Since his exit from the chairmanship, Steele consults and writes on law, business and politics. His articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times,, and The Journal of International Security Affairs.

Established in 2005 under the direction of Ryan, a 1968 Benedictine graduate and Distinguished Fellow at his alma mater, the civic leadership center seeks to shape a new generation of public leaders and responsible citizens.

Each year, the center invites prominent public figures to speak about the importance of active citizenship and public service.

In recent years, the center has hosted then-state Sen. Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, Washington Post columnists Bob Woodward and David Broder, CNN's Peter Bergen, Children's Defense Fund Director Marian Wright Edelman, University of Chicago legal scholar Cass Sunstein, human rights advocate Paul Rusesabagina and former Illinois Gov. James Edgar.

The public event is free, but seating is limited.

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