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story.lead_photo.caption Ben Stein begins his lecture at the Distinguished Speaker Series on Thursday at the Texarkana, Ark., Convention Center. Stein was the first guest speaker of the series that was organized to raise funds for Texarkana College students looking to transfer to Texas A&M University-Texarkana. Photo by Hunt Mercier / Texarkana Gazette.

Author, actor, economist and pop culture icon Ben Stein spoke Thursday in Texarkana as part of the Farmers Bank & Trust Distinguished Speaker Series.

Stein's lecture on politics and economics is the first in the series and was made possible through a partnership with Texas A&M-University-Texarkana and Texarkana College. Funds from the event will be used to benefit students continuing their education from Texarkana College to A&M-Texarkana.

Stein, whose wife is from Prescott, Ark., complimented the area's organizations that are working to improve higher education.

"You guys are making it possible for many, many people to get an education," he said. "You're increasing human capital. This is a surefire way of increasing their financial capital by increasing their intellectual capital."

Stein also commented on how well people in Texarkana work together to not only improve education but to improve the community as well.

"It seems to me if all America were like this community, we would have a community without so much suspicion and rage," he said. "We would have a community that gets things done. Do you know how rare that is in America? You get things done. That's a miracle in America today."

Ben Gresham talks to Ben Stein during the Famers Bank & Trust reception event on Thursday in Texarkana, Texas. Ben Stein was the first guest speaker in the Distinguished Speaker Series that was organized to raise funds for Texarkana College students looking to transfer to Texas A&M University-Texarkana.
Photo by Hunt Mercier/Texarkana Gazette.

Stein is a former speechwriter for Presidents Nixon and Ford, a longtime columnist for The Wall Street Journal, Barrons and the New York Times, professor of law and economics at Pepperdine University and a multiple New York Times best-selling author. He is also an Emmy award-winning host of "Ben Stein's Money" and has had roles in dozens of movies and television shows, including "Ferris Beuller's Day Off" and "The Wonder Years." Two of his books are being used in graduate schools for those studying finance: "Yes, You can Time the Market!" and "The Little Book of Bulletproof Investing: Do's and Don'ts to Protect Your Financial Life."

His most recent books include the best-selling humorous self-help book, "How to Ruin Your Life," "How Successful People Win," Using Bunkhouse Logic to Get What You Want in Life" and "26 Steps to Succeed in Hollywoodor Any Other Business," which he co-authored with Al Burton.

Texarkana College President Dr. Jason Smith and Dr. Emily Cutrer, president of Texas A&M University-Texarkana, both thanked Farmers Bank and Trust for working with them to establish the series and the scholarships to help the students and the region.

"Through this, we are able to reach students we would not otherwise be able to reach," she said. "This helps provide the leaders of tomorrow. It helps create an educated workforce. This event is especially wonderful because students frequently find it difficult to get their four-year degree after attending Texarkana College because the price tag to move from one to another is prohibitive. These scholarships will do something really tremendous for our community. This will enable students to finance their bachelor's degree, stay in this region, become the leaders of tomorrow and become employees of tomorrow."

For more information on the scholarships, contact LeAnne Wright, associate vice president of university advancement for A&M-Texarkana at 903-223-3078.

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