Lee H. Hamilton, who became Director of the Wilson Center in 1999, earned a B.A. from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, in 1952, and a J.D. from the Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington, in 1956. For the next ten years he worked as a lawyer in private practice. After that, he was elected, as part of the national Democratic landslide of 1964, to the House of Representatives, where he chaired many committees during his 34 years in the office, including the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress, the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran. Since leaving Congress, Hamilton has also served in many political-related capacities, including as a member of the Hart-Rudman Commission; Co-Chair of the Baker-Hamilton Commission to Investigate Certain Security Issues at Los Alamos; as Vice-Chair of the 9/11 Commission; as a member of the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform; and as Co-Chair, along with former Secretary of State James A. Baker, of the Iraq Study Group. Hamilton also sits on many advisory boards, including those to the CIA, the President’s Homeland Security Advisory Council, and the United States Army. In addition, he is an advisory board member and Co-Chair of the Partnership for a Secure America, and Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University.
Hamilton is also the author of two books: How Congress Works and Why You Should Care and A Creative Tension: The Foreign Policy Roles of the President and Congress. In addition, he co-authored, with former Governor Thomas Kean, Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission.
A nine-mile stretch of I-265 and Indiana 265 in Floyd and Clark counties, part of Hamilton’s former House district, was designed the “Lee H. Hamilton Highway” shortly after his retirement from the House in 1999.