Ralph Nader

portrait of Ralph Nader
BYU Alternate Commencement, photo by Don LaVange (27 April 2007)
Ralph Nader signature

Born: 27 February 1934, Winsted, Connecticut

Nader's parents were Maronite Catholics from Lebanon, Arabic was his first language. He graduated from The Gilbert School (1951), Princeton University (1955), and Harvard Law School (1958). After six months in the US Army he practiced law at Hartford, taught at the University of Hartford for two years, and in 1963 joined the staff of Assistant Secretary of Labor Patrick Moynihan and advised a Senate subcommittee on auto safety. He wrote Unsafe at Any Speed (1965), attacking the safety of American automobiles. While this led to establishment of federal standards for auto safety, including the first seat belt requirements, the book pilloried the Corvair, a small fuel-efficient car no less safe than other small cars of the day, arguably setting back the market for fuel-efficient vehicles. He created the Public Interest Research Group, with numerous state chapters, and founded at least forty-five non-profit organizations devoted to various causes. He also wrote about thirty books. All of this activity galvanized tens of thousands of activists to devote time and energy to what they saw as the public interest, which has to count as a significant contribution. On the other hand, those that are pleased by the issues he raised in his several presidential campaigns probably regret that his 2000 campaign put George Bush in the White House, at least arithmetically if perhaps not ethically.

Biography from Wikipedia and His 2008 campaign website

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