Ripon Society Hosts Holiday Reception to Celebrate the Season and an Important Milestone in the History of the Group

WASHINGTON, DC – The Ripon Society hosted a holiday reception Tuesday night to celebrate not just the season, but an important anniversary, as well. 

“We’re here tonight to celebrate the holidays,” stated Jim Conzelman, the President and CEO of The Ripon Society. “But we’re also here to mark a very important milestone in the history of our organization – The Ripon Society turned 50 this year. The group was founded on the campus of Harvard University in 1962. In fact, 50 years ago tomorrow night, there was a meeting at the Harvard Faculty Club, with Professor Morton Halperin as host, at which the objectives of The Ripon Society were first discussed.” 

Conzelman noted that these objectives included influencing “Republican Party policy through research and publication,” and changing “the image of the Republican Party from one of reaction to action.” Further noting that these same objectives continue to shape and define The Ripon Society today, Conzelman then introduced six founding members of the centrist Republican public policy organization, some of whom had attended the meeting at the Harvard Faculty Club a half century ago and had been invited to attend the anniversary celebration Tuesday night. 

The six founders attending the reception included Gene Marans, Emil Frankel, John Topping, John Price, Lee Huebner, and Congressman Tom Petri, who as the Representative of Wisconsin’s Sixth Congressional District, represents not just the birthplace of the Republican Party, but the town from which The Ripon Society gets its name. “Gentlemen,” Conzelman declared, before presenting each with a book about Theodore Roosevelt, “as the President of the organization that you founded, I would like to thank you for your vision 50 years ago, and for taking the time to be with us tonight.”

A crowd of nearly 200 people attended the event, which was held in the Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill. Also attending were Representatives Fred Upton, Greg Walden, Spencer Bachus, Frank Lucas, Ed Whitfield, Howard Coble, Leonard Lance, Doug Lamborn, John Shimkus, Walter Jones, Jim Renacci, Patrick Meehan, Steve Stivers, Cory Gardner, and Pat Tiberi, who serves as the Chairman of the Ripon Society’s Honorary Congressional Advisory Board. In attendance as well were former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, former Representative Bill Clinger, and former Representative Bill Frenzel, the Chairman Emeritus of The Ripon Society. 

“I would like to thank all of you for your continuing support,” Conzelman told the crowd. “Our membership is up over 200 percent since 2010, we have hosted over 100 Members of Congress the past year, and we have another full schedule of events and activities planned in 2013. In short, 50 years after its founding, The Ripon Society is alive and kicking and – true to the vision of its founders – still trying to shape and change American political thought.”