Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)

The McConnell Center’s Distinguished Lecture Series continued Monday with U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) joining U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for a wide ranging discussion about how leadership principles transformed Scott’s life, ultimately culminating with his election as the first African-American senator from his home state of South Carolina.

“I learned from my mother, who worked 16 hours a day as a nurse’s assistant, that leadership sometimes comes out of chaos,” Scott said. “Some of the best opportunities that you’ll ever see come out of greatest challenges of your life, so you have to embrace these challenges. Leadership is about influence. It is about taking a stand because it has to happen – that there is something in you that you believe that if you apply your best to a situation or problem, amazing things can happen. That’s why my mom is my American hero – because she took a stand for me that no one else has ever done.”

Scott also spoke about the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, acknowledging that America’s greatest challenge in the 21st century will center on how to create an effective foreign policy that effectively addresses international terrorism.

“How do we deal with a radical group of people who believe that their anchor in their faith is a part of their violent activities?” Scott said, “Ultimately, we are tasked with finding the best approach where we’re focusing on the actual greatest risk to western civilization as we know it today – and that’s obviously ISIS from a military standpoint.”

Scott, 50, appointed in 2013 to fill a vacant Senate seat in South Carolina and re-elected last year, is one of only two African Americans in the Senate. He is the first such senator elected from the U.S. South since 1881.

“Senator Scott inspired our audience to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves,” said Gary Gregg, director of the McConnell Center. “It was a message that I know will move those who heard it to action and to helping make our communities better places for us all.”

The non-partisan McConnell Center, created in 1991, prepares Kentucky’s top college students to become leaders and offers civic education for teachers, students and the public. Its Distinguished Lecture Series has brought 47 high-profile leaders to UofL’s campus.

Matt Lambert
Matt has served in multiple communications and marketing roles since joining UofL in 2012 and is currently a communications specialist in charge of national media outreach for research and academics. He came to UofL following a successful tenure as the Associate Director of Public Affairs and External Relations at Loyola University New Orleans. In his 20-plus year career in communications, Matt has worked as an award-winning journalist, owned his own political consulting firm and served as a communications director in the U.S. Congress. He is not only employed by UofL, but also a recent graduate, earning his MBA from the College of Business in May 2016.