Senator George J. Mitchell was born and raised in Waterville, Maine and graduated from Waterville High School, Bowdoin College, and Georgetown University Law Center. He served as United States Attorney for Maine, and as United States District Court Judge for Maine.
He was appointed to the United States Senate from Maine in 1980 to complete the un-expired term of Senator Edmund S. Muskie, who resigned to become Secretary of State. He was elected to a full term in the Senate in 1982, and reelected in 1988. He left the Senate in 1995 as the Senate Majority Leader, a position he had held since January 1989.
Senator Mitchell served as chairman of the Peace Negotiations in Northern Ireland. Under his leadership, the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom and the political parties of Northern Ireland agreed to the historic Good Friday peace accord. At the request of President Clinton, Prime Minister Barak, and Chairman Arafat, Senator Mitchell served as chairman of an International Fact Finding Committee on violence in the Middle East. The committee’s recommendation, widely known as The Mitchell Report, was endorsed by the Bush administration, the European Union, and by many other governments. In 2009, President Obama appointed Sen. Mitchell as Special Envoy for the Middle East.
Senator George Mitchell is the son of immigrants who, though they did not receive formal education, deeply understood the power that education would provide for their children. His family was poor and they embraced the American dream. With the support of scholarships and financial aid, Senator Mitchell and his siblings were all able to go on to college. With a personal knowledge of the importance of higher education, Senator Mitchell established the Mitchell Scholarship Program (now the Mitchell Institute) in 1995, with a goal of increasing educational opportunity for Maine students. To date just under $8 million in scholarships has been awarded to nearly 1,800 Maine students to support their pursuit of a college education.
Senator Mitchell is also the author of five books: Men of Zeal, World on Fire, Not For America Alone: The Triumph of Democracy and The Fall of Communism, Making Peace and The Negotiator.