School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Alumnus honors Speakes’ life

Posted on: February 12th, 2014 by

Washington, D.C. businessman makes gift to UM speaker series

Larry Speakes with former president Ronald Reagan.

The late Larry Speakes, an Ole Miss alumnus, left, served as White House spokesman to President Ronald Reagan. Another alumnus, Joel Wood of Washington, D.C., has provided a generous gift to the Overby Speakers Series Endowment to pay tribute to Speakes’ life.

Joel Wood, a University of Mississippi graduate and prominent Washington, D.C., businessman and lobbyist, has committed a generous gift to the Overby Center Speakers Series to pay tribute to the late Larry Speakes, former spokesperson for a U.S. president.

Wood’s contribution coincided with a recent tribute to Speakes at the university’s Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics. Speakes, a journalism student at Ole Miss in the late 1950s, became the White House spokesman for President Ronald Reagan in 1981. After a long illness, Speakes died Jan. 10 at the age of 74. Read more at