For more than a decade, the President’s Forum Series has brought dynamic speakers to campus, highlighting the multitude of perspectives that comprise the HWS community. This spring, the President’s Forum is pleased to welcome a diverse group of individuals, viewing the world from religious, environmental and political perspectives. The Colleges will be joined this semester by internet entrepreneur Daniel L. Rosensweig ’83, Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson, Public Radio International host John Hockenberry, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer, and environmental activist Philippe Cousteau Jr.
Daniel L. Rosensweig ’83, accomplished internet entrepreneur, will join the President’s Forum Speaker series with a talk on Entrepreneurial Leadership on Tuesday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m. Rosensweig has become a national leader in combining technology and communication to create innovative consumer experiences. He has served as the publisher of PC Magazine, the CEO of ZDNET, president of CNET, and the chief operating officer of Yahoo! – all before reaching the age of 40. From his position at Yahoo!, Rosensweig moved on to become the president and CEO of the Guitar Hero franchise, and today is Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Chegg, an online company that allows students to rent, instead of buy, textbooks.
In addition to his significant career, Rosensweig participates on the Advisory Board of the non-profit DonorsChoose.org, contributes as a member of the Executives in Residence program at Columbia University, and is on the Board of Directors of Adobe Systems, Inc., & Katalyst Media, Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg’s leading social media company.
Over the course of his career, Rosensweig has remained dedicated to his alma mater. Through the Salisbury Center for Career Services, he has participated in the ‘Professionals In Residence’ series, mentoring HWS students on careers in technology. He has created internship opportunities for HWS students to work directly with him, offering job opportunities following graduation. In 2008, Hobart and William Smith honored his significant contributions to the Colleges by naming The Rosensweig Learning Commons in his honor. Located on the first floor of the Warren Hunting Smith Library, The Rosensweig Learning Commons has revolutionized the ways in which students and faculty members interact with one another and with information. The space combines multimedia technology support and production with the main desks for Information Technology Services, library research and support, and the Center for Teaching and Learning.
During his time as a Hobart student, Rosensweig was a political science major, a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity and studied abroad in London.
Bishop V. Gene Robinson, the 9th bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church, will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5 in the Geneva Room. Robinson has been an outspoken advocate for civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Working at the state, national and international levels, he has lobbied for equal protection under the law and full civil marriage rights. Robinson made headlines in 2003, when he became the first non-celibate gay clergyman in the Anglican Communion to become bishop. At his controversial consecration, he wore a bulletproof vest under his gold vestments because he had received death threats.
Since his ordination, Robinson has been featured in numerous newspapers and magazines, as well as the 2007 documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So.” In 2009, Robinson was the recipient of the Stephen F. Kolzak Media Award, an honor bestowed by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. He is the author of “In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God” which was released in 2008. In 2009, Robinson was invited by President Barack Obama to give the invocation at the opening inaugural ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial. He is also a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. He holds a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Sewanee: the University of the South, and a master’s of Divinity from the Episcopal General Theological Seminary. The Bishop’s next book, “God Believes in Love: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage,” will be published by Alfred Knopf in the spring of 2012.
As part of the Colleges’ Festival for Disability in the Arts, award-winning journalist John Hockenberry will join the President’s Forum at 7:30 p.m. in the Vandervort Room on Thursday, April 7. Currently, Hockenberry serves as co-host of “The Takeaway,” a radio broadcast for Public Radio International and New York Public Radio, and is a contributing broadcaster to both “The DNA Files” and “The Infinite Mind.” Hockenberry has been the recipient of four Peabody Awards, four Emmy Awards, an Edward R. Murrow Award, and a Casey Medal for his work at ABC and NBC. During his tenure at NBC, Hockenberry served as a correspondent for “Dateline,” and hosted two of his own programs on MSNBC, “Hockenberry” and “Edgewise.”
He is the author of two books, “Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs and Declarations of Independence” and “A River Out Of Eden.” Hockenberry is a paraplegic, having suffered a spinal cord injury in a car crash at the age of 19.
During the first Gulf War, Hockenberry reported from an extensive number of countries including Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Iran. He also spent a significant amount of time broadcasting from Kurdish refugee camps in Iraq and Turkey, and was one of the first Western journalists to do so. Hockenberry also reported on Palestinian uprisings from Jerusalem for two years during the height of conflict.
In addition to his work as a reporter, Hockenberry has served as a contributing editor for Condé Nast Portfolio and Metropolis magazines. In the past, he has written for the New York Times, The New Yorker, Wired and The Washington Post. Hockenberry holds degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Oregon.
U. S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13 in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library. Verveer has served the nation since April 2009 when she was appointed by President Barack Obama. As director of the Department of State’s Global Women’s Issues office, Verveer coordinates activities and foreign policy issues concerning the economic, social, and political advancement of women around the world. Verveer organizes initiatives and programs designed to promote empowerment, support women’s rights, and combat violence against women and girls. Verveer is responsible for ensuring that women’s rights are fully incorporated in all U.S. foreign policy. In March, 2011, Newsweek named her among the “150 Women Who Shake the World.”
Before stepping into the role of U.S. Ambassador, Verveer served as chair and chief executive officer of Vital Voices, a nonprofit organization she co-founded that works to expand the roles of women in politics and as leaders. Vital Voices works to safeguard human rights. Verveer was an integral member of the Clinton administration, serving as Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady. During Hillary Clinton’s efforts to advance the rights of women and promote social development, Verveer was chief assistant to Clinton.
In conjunction with the Colleges’ celebration of Earth Week, Philippe Cousteau Jr., the chief executive officer of EarthEcho International, a non-profit organization that encourages youth to take action to protect and restore the planet’s water, will bring the series to a close at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26 in the Vandervort Room. The son of Jan and Philippe Cousteau, Sr. and grandson of the legendary Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Philippe is also the co-founder of Azure Worldwide, a strategic environmental design, development and marketing company.
Cousteau serves as the chief ocean correspondent for the Animal Planet and Plant Green channels. With these networks, Cousteau has worked on several documentaries focused on water and oceans. Recently, he hosted the series “Oceans,” produced by the Discovery Channel and the BBC. At the Discovery Channel, he serves as the chief spokesperson for environmental education. He has written articles for – and been featured in – a number of notable publications including National Geographic.
Cousteau serves on the board of directors of The Ocean Conservancy, Marine Conservation Biology Institute, the National Environmental Education Foundation, and the Advisory Board of Discovery Communications Inc.’s Planet Green. He holds a master’s degree in history from the University of St. Andrews.
Established in the winter of 2000 by President Mark D. Gearan, the President’s Forum Series is designed to bring a variety of speakers to campus to share their knowledge and ideas with students, faculty and staff of the Colleges, as well as with interested community members. Before serving as President of HWS, Gearan was the director of the Peace Corps. He also served in the White House as Assistant to the President and Director of Communications, as well as Deputy Chief of Staff during the Clinton administration.
Chief White House Correspondent and political director of NBC Chuck Todd was the first forum speaker of the 2010-2011 academic year. Past speakers include author, civil rights activist and Princeton University Professor Cornel West, former Governor of Vermont Howard Dean, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Wangari Maathai SC.D.’94, P’94, P’96.