2011 Farmers Bank and Trust Distinguished Speaker Series
Victims’ rights advocate and television host John Walsh will be the featured lecturer at the seventh annual Farmers Bank and Trust Distinguished Speaker Series on Monday, Sept. 26, at Southern Arkansas University.
Most people know Walsh as the dedicated host of America’s Most Wanted, the man whose groundbreaking television program has helped take down over 1,050 dangerous fugitives and bring home more than 50 missing children in the past 22 years. But it is not the career he envisioned for himself. Born in Auburn, N.Y. and educated at the University of Buffalo, Walsh moved to Florida with his wife Revé, and was living the American dream. He was a successful businessman, building high-end luxury hotels and building his life. But after Adam’s murder, everything changed.
The Walsh’s experience taught them that the nation was in desperate need of leadership in the fight to protect children, and they decided to create something positive out of their personal tragedy. From the ad hoc organization they put together to help with the search for Adam, they established the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center, which eventually merged with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), which they co-founded in 1984. The NCMEC provides invaluable resources to parents, children and law enforcement in the United States and internationally.
Walsh’s search for justice and his determination to not let Adam’s death be in vain led him to fight back like few other Americans have. Although he has never held political office, Walsh has been the driving force behind major pieces of child protection legislation. This hard work led to Walsh being honored five times by four presidents: Ronald Reagan (twice), George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. One of Walsh’s proudest moments was when he and his wife stood beside President George W. Bush as the “Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act” was signed into law on the 25th anniversary of Adam’s murder.
In December 2008, the Hollywood, Fla. Police Department officially closed Adam’s case, naming the man who had always been the prime suspect, as Adam’s killer.
Thousands of crime victims have received justice in their own cases thanks to Walsh and Revé’s never ending dedication to fighting back. In addition to being named “Man of the Year” by both the U.S. Marshals and the FBI, Walsh was also made an honorary U.S. Marshal. Walsh is only the third man to receive this honor in the organization’s two hundred year history.
The Farmers Bank and Trust Distinguished Speaker Series was established in 2005 to benefit students of Southern Arkansas University through a scholarship endowment with the Southern Arkansas University Foundation. In fulfilling its mission, the series brings speakers of national and international prominence to the SAU campus, providing a memorable experience and enhancing the visibility of the University.
Previous speakers have included Steve Ford, Oliver North, Michael Reagan, James Carville, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and FOX News contributors Monica Crowley and Alan Colmes.
For more information or to obtain tickets, contact the SAU Foundation toll free at (877) 235-7409.