D.C. policy-maker comes back home to share knowledge with MTSU students

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As a way of giving back to his alma mater, a successful policy maker who served in the Carter White House and later as a government relations professional is returning to MTSU as a visiting professor.

Jim Free, co-founder of The Smith-Free Group LLC, will be a Distinguished Visiting Professor for the 2018-2019 academic year. He is slated to speak to more than 230 students in political science, recording industry and business law classes on Wednesday, Sept. 26, and political science and history classes on Thursday, Sept. 27.

"I am honored to be asked to be a visiting professor," Free said. "MTSU changed my life. It was a great education and a great experience."


Free said he wants the students to understand not only the importance of education but also the importance of the university as a socialization experience, helping students learn about interactions among people.

A former administrative assistant to Tennessee House of Representatives Speaker Ned McWherter, Free ascended to chief clerk of the House and became president of the American Society of House Chief Clerks and Senate Secretaries.


In 1977, Free served in President Jimmy Carter's administration as special assistant to the president for congressional affairs. Issues for which Free argued the administration's perspectives included the Clean Air Act, the Alaska Lands Act and national energy legislation.

Prior to co-founding The Smith-Free Group in 1995, Free had served as vice chairman of Walker-Free Associates. With both groups he had represented major global companies in the arenas of health care, financial services, transportation, energy and entertainment over a span of three decades.

"Jim is at the pinnacle of an important policy-making career in Washington, and for him to volunteer his time and his talent as a distinguished visiting professor shows his deep commitment to MTSU and its students" said Louis Kyriakoudes, director of MTSU's Albert Gore Research Center and a history professor.

For more information on Free's schedule, contact Kent Syler, a professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at 615-898-5625 or kent.syler@mtsu.edu.

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