Margaret Thatcher visited Kutztown U. in 1995

Former prime minister participated in annual Decision Makers Forum

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Published: Apr 09 2013 07:32:21 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 09 2013 08:04:05 AM EDT
Margaret Thatcher at KU
KUTZTOWN, Pa. -

Margartet Thatcher, who passed away Monday, continued to travel the world in the years after she left the prime minister's office in 1990.

Thatcher paid a visit to Berks County on May 3, 1995 as part of the university's Decision Makers Forum. She spoke about democracy since the fall of communism and met with a panel of three history students, who led a panel discussion with their class about the making of modern Britain. The students were studying Thatcher through her biography, "The Downing Street Years."

Thatcher talked with the students about what it was like to be the first woman to serve as British prime minister.

Video: Margaret Thatcher visits KU in 1995

"It didn't make a difference, that being a woman had nothing to do with it, that it was her personality," Kathy Hamilton, one of the students who met Thatcher, said in 1995.

"I expected her to be a very strong woman, and when we first met her before we came on the stage, I was just very taken by the amount of respect she commanded. It was just a very unique experience," said Michael Feigh. 

Thatcher also commented about how much she liked Kutztown and the surrounding countryside.

Thatcher agreed to take part in a photo opportunity for the local media prior to her speech, but she declined to answer reporters' questions while in Kutztown. She said she wanted her visit to be low key both as a personal preference and for security reasons.

Other Decision Makers Forum speakers at Kutztown have included Thatcher's successor, John Major; former President George H.W. Bush; former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell, who would go on to become secretary of state; and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.