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Alberto Gonzales

Former Attorney General of the United States

Certainly, when I was in college, I was influenced by a Constitutional Law professor named Doc Colbertson at Rice University, and he taught Constitutional Law. We referred to him affectionately as Doc C. And that's when I really developed an interest in the law and thought that this would be something that I would enjoy doing. I enjoyed the constitutional law issues and the discussions about what, in fact, what does our Constitution mean and what rights are we to derive from the words in the Constitution. So he had an effect on me. And in fact, occasionally I still get correspondence from him. I sometimes see him quoted in stories about me. And so I think he takes special pride in what I've been able to achieve.
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Alberto Gonzales

Former Attorney General of the United States

I know I wanted to go back home to Houston, so I joined a large firm in Houston. It was a firm that I had clerked at, Vincent and Elkins. It was a very fine firm, and I knew that I would get the best training possible as a lawyer. And so I began working at Vincent and Elkins as a business lawyer. I never had any ambitions to get involved in politics or government service, didn't think about that. But early on, I did get involved in community service in Houston. I realized that someone of my experience, where I was at -- at Vincent and Elkins, a very powerful player in the business and legal community in Houston and in Texas -- that I could have a significant impact, and that people were interested in having me involved in various causes, particularly in the Hispanic community. And so I got involved very early on, joining various groups and serving on various boards. My law firm was very supportive. I think they realized the importance of civic involvement for their lawyers, and so I was able to be involved in lots of groups, and the Houston Bar Association, Big Brothers and Sisters, Catholic Charities, Leadership Houston. There were a lot of groups that I wanted to be involved with, because I realized that that was important, and I felt that, some obligation to try to give back to our community, particularly the Hispanic community, where I saw too many of our kids dropping out of school, and I wanted to be involved in issues and with people that were focused on addressing that problem.
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Alberto Gonzales

Former Attorney General of the United States

I could leave today, government service today, and just thank God and be appreciative and grateful for everything that's happened in my life. It's been a terrific ride, as far as I'm concerned. I've got a wonderful family, a wonderful wife who loves me, wonderful kids, and so it's -- I really do not have any complaints. I wish I'd get more sleep in the job that I do, but to be able to, you know, to walk into the Oval Office and brief the most powerful person in the world on a Supreme Court vacancy, or to be in the Situation Room when the President orders our young men and women into battle, or to walk into the residence and give the president a piece of paper that you drafted for him to sign -- a piece of paper you know is going to be analyzed and reviewed by historians for years to come -- that's some pretty good stuff, and so I've got no complaints.
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Jane Goodall

The Great Conservationist

Jane Goodall: When I was at Olduvai, I wasn't there because I wanted to be a paleontologist, but I was in the middle of the Africa I dreamed about. It was one of the most magic times of my life. I wasn't totally thrilled with digging for fossils, but I was totally thrilled with digging for fossils in the middle of the wilderness in Africa. And just every so often, I would hold a bone in my hand and I would almost seem to it would be almost like a mystical experience. I remember once holding the tusks of one of these big prehistoric pigs and just there stood the pig. And I could smell it and see the color and hear the sound of the pig. And then I came back to reality and it was the bone in my hand. But it was the walking out on the plains, the smell, the animals, the wilderness, the wildness. It was just complete magic. And afterwards, Louis told me that he deliberately selected someone with no degree because he wanted somebody whose mind was, as he said, unbiased by the reductionist attitude of the animal behavior people of that time in Europe, the ethologists. He didn't tell me that, he just that's what his idea was.
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Jane Goodall

The Great Conservationist

I came out as an activist, because in that session on conservation, seeing right across Africa the destruction of habitat, seeing the beginning of the bushmeat trade, the commercial hunting of wild animals -- including chimps -- for food, the session on the secretly filmed footage in some of the medical research labs, utterly shocking. And now I have this new self-confidence, because of publishing that book and learning what I didn't learn, know before. I came out as an activist. And since that day, I haven't spent more than three weeks in any one place, except once when I tore the ligaments on both ankles and I needed an extra week or so to get better.
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Doris Kearns Goodwin

Pulitzer Prize for History

When I was six years old, my father taught me that wonderful and mysterious art of keeping score, so that when he went to work during the day, I could stay home and record the history of that day's Brooklyn Dodger game, play by play, inning by inning. And at night when he would come home, and you're only six years old, and he tells you, "You're doing great as a miniature historian." I think in some ways, that made history have a magic that it still holds for me to this day.
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Doris Kearns Goodwin

Pulitzer Prize for History

My mother was very sick from the time I was born, and died when I was 14. So I think my love of books in some ways came from knowing that she was pretty much bound to the home, and read all the time as a way of learning about other worlds that she would never be able to experience, because she couldn't travel very much because of her heart condition. So books took on a certain kind of magic for me, just as the baseball scores did. So between those two experiences, somehow history and reading became a very important part of my childhood.
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