Watch the entire 67th Annual Alfred E. Smith
Memorial Foundation Dinner
Save the Date!
69th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial
Foundation Dinner

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
The Waldorf=Astoria

2014 Keynote Speaker:
Charlie Rose

Happy Warrior Award Recipient:
Kenneth G. Langone

For ticket information please contact
Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation
1011 First Avenue, Suite 1400
New York, NY 10022

Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner Speakers 1946-2013

For over sixty years, luminous guest speakers have stepped from the world stage to honor and entertain Annual Dinner audiences with their light humor and political savvy.

Stephen T. Colbert
Honorable Barack Obama
Honorable Mitt Rommey
2011   Mr. Stephen A. Schwarzman
Mr. James Carville
Ms. Mary Matalin
2009   Admiral Michael G. Mullen
Honorable John McCain
Honorable Barack Obama
2007   Honorable Tony Blair
2006   Mr. Brian Williams
2005   Honorable John McCain
Honorable Hugh L. Carey
Honorable George H. W. Bush
2003  General Tommy R. Franks
2002   Honorable Colin L. Powell
2001   Honorable Richard B. Cheney
Honorable George W. Bush
Honorable Albert Gore
1999   Mr. Bob Newhart
1998   Mr. Tom Brokaw
1997   Mr. Timothy Russert
Honorable Albert Gore
Honorable Jack Kemp
His Eminence,
John Cardinal O'Connor
1994   Honorable Louis J. Freeh
1993  Honorable Robert Dole
1992   Honorable Robert P. Casey
1991   Honorable John H. Sununu
1990   Miss Beverly Sills
1989   Mrs. George H. W. Bush
Honorable George H. W. Bush
Honorable Michael Dukakis
1987   Honorable William J. Bennett
1986   General Vernon A. Walters
Honorable William Hughes
1984   Honorable Ronald W. Reagan
1983   Mr. Lee A. Iacocca
1982   Honorable George H. W. Bush
Mr. J. Peter Grace
Mrs. Ronald W. Reagan
Honorable Jimmy Carter
Honorable Ronald W. Reagan
Honorable William Hughes
1979   Honorable Walter F. Mondale
1978   Mr. Danny Thomas
1977   Honorable Hugh L. Carey
Honorable Gerald R. Ford
Honorable Jimmy Carter
Dr. Howard T. Rusk
1975   Honorable Ella T. Grasso
1974   Honorable Henry A. Kissinger
Honorable William Hughes
Honorable Kurt Waldheim
Honorable Spiro T. Agnew
1971   Honorable Henry Cabot Lodge
1970   Mr. Bob Hope
Honorable Spiro T. Agnew
Dr. Thomas O. Paine
Honorable Lyndon B. Johnson
Honorable Hubert H. Humphrey
1967   Honorable Arthur J. Goldberg
1966   Honorable Richard M. Nixon
1965   Honorable Hubert H. Humphrey
1964   Honorable Lyndon B. Johnson
His Majesty, King Humpert
of Savoy
1962   Honorable Lyndon B. Johnson
1961   General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Honorable John F. Kennedy
Honorable Richard M. Nixon
1959   Honorable John F. Kennedy
1958   General Mark W. Clark
1957   Honorable Clare Boothe Luce
1956   Honorable Richard M. Nixon
1955   General Maxwell D. Taylor
1954   General Dwight D. Eisenhower
1953   General Alfred M. Gruenther
1952   General Dwight D. Eisenhower
1951   Admiral Alan G. Kirk
1950   Honorable Alben W. Barkley
1949   Honorable Dean Acheson
1948   General Lucius D. Clay
Honorable Winston S. Churchill
(via transatlantic telephone)
Honorable James V. Forrestal
1946   Honorable James F. Byrnes

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About the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner

Lyndon Johnson, 23rd Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, 1968
Although both his state and his country generously honored Alfred E. Smith after his death in 1944, the most unusual and notable memorial to him has been an ongoing series of black-tie dinners. Sponsored by the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation, these annual fêtes were initiated by then-Archbishop (later Cardinal) Francis J. Spellman of the Archdiocese of New York in 1945. Since that time the Foundation has raised millions of dollars for healthcare causes.

Cardinal Spellman, capitalizing on the fact that Governor Smith died in the month of October (the peak of election season), used the dinner to remind later generations of Smith's extraordinary public career and unique role in political history by securing the participation of the leading political figures of those later generations. Over the years, the dinner has attracted the cream of modern American politics: the list of speakers and attendees reads like a who's who of the political landscape.

In the early years of the dinner's existence, this event might have been the only time some of these candidates would share a dais during the entire campaign. By 1960 the Al Smith dinner had truly reached its zenith as "a ritual of American politics," in the words of Theodore H. White.Many of past dinners have generated front-page news items as a result of the program, i.e. joint appearances of opposing presidential nominees.

While commendatory references to Smith and his actions were once common, by chance or by design, many of the addresses at later dinners have taken on a lighter tone. Indeed, the occasion has evolved into something of an opportunity for speakers - particularly ones whose mien is typically quite serious - to show, through quips and slightly irreverent humor, that they can poke fun at a political issue, an opponent, or themselves. In 1988, Michael S. Dukakis solemnly declared, "I've... been told that I lack passion. But that doesn't affect me one way or the other. Some people say I am arrogant, but I know better than that." In the days before Saturday Night Live, the Al Smith dinner served as a kind of "proving ground for the candidate as entertainer," as one reporter described it.

Today the dinner remains a true phenomenon - a living memorial to an uncommon public figure, best known as the first Roman Catholic presidential candidate, who died more than six decades ago. Doubtless the dinner's honoree would be deeply gratified that he is being remembered each year in this fashion. He would be even more gratified to know that the dinner commemorating him and his unique role in American politics has contributed millions of dollars for charitable endeavors in the city he loved so much.

— Donn Neal

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