Former U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz ’47 came to the Pennington campus on February 27 as the 2012 Stephen Crane Lecturer. In his talk to Upper School students and other members of the community, he recalled the significance of his years as a Pennington student and discussed his view of the United States’ role in the world. He also spoke about his role as President George H. W. Bush’s emissary to an unstable Ethiopia in 1991,where he negotiated with the dictator to release the endangered Ethiopian Jews and allow them to emigrate. As a result of his work, in the course of one weekend in May 1991 over 14,000 Ethiopian Jews were transported by Israeli planes from Ethiopia to Israel in a huge airlift now called Operation Solomon.
Later in the day, the senator enjoyed a visit to an AP Economics class, where he related memories of his personal interactions with influential twentieth-century economists, including Milton Friedman, Arthur Laffer, and former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.
In 1978 Boschwitz was elected to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate; he served two terms. He has remained active in the Republican Party and in various civic and charitable organizations. In 1991 President George H. S. Bush presented him the Presidential Citizens Medal in recognition of his work as envoy in Ethiopia. In 2005 President George W. Bush named him the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.
Boschwitz was born in Berlin, Germany, and came to the United States with his parents at age five. After graduation from Pennington, he went on to Johns Hopkins University and later earned degrees from the New York University School of Commerce (now the NYU Stern School of Business) and New York University Law School. After military service, he practiced law in New York before moving to Minnesota and beginning a career in business as founder and president of Plywood Minnesota Inc. (later renamed Home Valu Interiors).