Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno will speak about her career in public service tonight at CSU. The event is free for students and $5.50 for everyone else.

Not only was Reno the first woman attorney general in the nation, she served longer than any other attorney general since the Civil War. She is probably best remembered for her actions during the 1995 siege at Waco and her decision in 1999 to return Elian Gonzalez to his father in Cuba.

Reno made a serious misjudgment during Waco siege, and in a gesture not too often seen among politicians, she accepted the blame:

“I made the decision. I’m accountable. The buck stops with me,” she said at the time, silencing some of her critics with her characteristic bluntness.

She received a lot of flak over her decision to return Elian Gonzalez to his father, which she based on what she termed “a sacred bond” between a father and son, and then more criticism for her inability to get his Miami relatives to hand him over after her ruling.

Reno has suffered from Parkinson’s Disease since 1995. Yet, that didn’t stop her from running for Governor of Florida in 2002. She lost in the Democratic primary.

Her talk should be inspiring. If it isn’t, I bet the question and answer session will make up for it. The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom on the CSU campus.