John Brademas, a Greek - American politician who served 22 years in Congress and more than a decade as president of New York University died on Monday in Manhattan at the age of 89.
Brademas served as United States Representative in Congress from Indiana's 3rd congressional district for 22 years (1959–81), the last four as House majority whip. While in Congress he was a member of the Committee on Education and Labor, where he played a leading role in writing most of the federal legislation enacted during that time concerning schools, colleges and universities; services for the elderly and the handicapped; libraries and museums; and the arts and humanities.
Brademas holds the distinction of being the first Greek-American member of Congress, preceding, among others, Olympia Snowe, Paul Tsongas and Paul Sarbanes.
Cosponsor of the 1965 legislation creating the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Brademas for ten years chaired the congressional subcommittee with jurisdiction over them. He was chief House sponsor of the Arts, Humanities and Cultural Affairs Act; Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Act; Museum Services Act; Library Services and Construction Act; National Commission on Libraries and Information Services Act; Education for All Handicapped Children Act; Alcohol and Drug Abuse Education Act; and International Education Act. He was also a major co-author of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965; the Higher Education Acts of 1972 and 1976, which focused on student aid; and the measure creating the National Institute of Education.
In December 1963, the Studebaker Corporation closed its South Bend, Indiana automobile manufacturing plants, putting more than 5,000 people out of work. Brademas was instrumental in helping the South Bend area recover from the Studebaker closing through his contacts in Washington. In 1964, after receiving an $81 million contract from the government, Kaiser Jeep Corporation purchased the Chippewa Avenue truck plant from Studebaker, and put a sizable number of people back to work building military and postal vehicles. Today, although the Chippewa plant is no longer in use, AM General, successor to Kaiser Jeep and American Motors Corporation, produces the military Humvee and the Hummer H1 and H2 in Mishawaka, Indiana, just east of South Bend. This would have been nearly impossible without the work of John Brademas in the mid-1960s. Brademas was defeated for reelection on November 4, 1980, by Republican John Hiler.
After leaving Congress, he moved to New York and served as president of New York University from 1981 to 1992. In 1990, he co-chaired the bipartisan independent commission mandated by Congress to review the grant-making procedures of the NEA. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton as chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and is also chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy, as well as a member of the Consultants' Panel to the Comptroller General of the United States.
Film actress Paulette Goddard left her multimillion-dollar estate to New York University in large part due to her friendship with the much younger Brademas.
On October 3, 2011, the King of Spain bestowed on John Brademas the Order of Isabella the Catholic (Spanish: Orden de Isabel la Católica), a Spanish civil order granted in recognition of services that benefit the country.
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