Welcome to Arkansas and Public Service

Welcome to Arkansas and Public Service

Mary Steenburgen

9.29.2005

Mary Steenburgen

Mary Steenburgen is an Academy Award-winning American actress. She was born in Newport, Arkansas, where her mother, Nell Steenburgen, was a school-board secretary, and her father, Maurice Steenburgen, was a freight-train conductor. Steenburgen is a notable patron of arts. She is also an active supporter of humanitarian causes. Since 1995 she has been married to actor Ted Danson, and the couple is living in Los Angeles area.

Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen talk to the inaugural class of the Clinton School of Public Service about the students’ aspirations in public service. Danson talks specifically about his influence as a celebrity to bring environmental issues to public attention. Steenburgen touches on the resources, people, potential and charm of Arkansas. She also talks about the effect of the Central High desegregation controversy on the state and its people and how from that point on, the idea of civil rights were palpable among Arkansans. Danson and Steenburgen field questions from the students about perceptions of Arkansas and the influence of news and entertainment media on the importance that the public places on significant policy issues. The couple encourages the students to pursue their dreams and talk about the benefits of reaching out as group to educate others about service.