Spring President’s Forum Series – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Spring President’s Forum Series

The Spring Semester President’s Forum Series at Hobart and William Smith Colleges will bring speakers to campus to address the major issues of the day including environmental preservation, global citizenship, politics, and health care from a liberal and conservative viewpoint.  The five nationally known speakers will deliver remarks and answer questions from the audience in addition to visiting classrooms and small groups.

On Monday, Jan. 25, David Oliver Relin, award-winning journalist and author of the bestselling “Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time,” will speak at 7:30 p.m. at the Smith Opera House.

David Relin

“Three Cups of Tea” is the inspiring story of Greg Mortenson, an American mountain climber and nurse who became an unlikely champion of education and literacy in remote, volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Relin is a graduate of Vassar and was awarded the prestigious Teaching/Writing Fellowship at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.  After Iowa, he received a Michener Fellowship to support his groundbreaking 1992 bicycle trip the length of Vietnam, where he spent two additional years reporting about the country opening to the world.  For two decades, Relin has focused on reporting about social issues and their effect on children, both in the United States and around the world.  He has won dozens of national awards for his work as both an editor and investigative reporter.  His interviews with child soldiers (including a profile of teenager Ishmael Beah, who would later write the bestseller “A Long Way Gone”) have been included in Amnesty International reports.  And his investigation into the way the INS abused children in its custody contributed to the reorganization of that agency.

Michael Tanner

On Thursday, April 22, Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, will speak as part of the President’s Forum at 7:30 p.m. in the Geneva Room in the Warren Hunting Smith Library.

Before joining Cato-where he heads research into a variety of domestic policies with a particular emphasis on health care reform, social welfare policy, and Social Security-Tanner served as director of research of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and as legislative director for the American Legislative Exchange Council.  Under Tanner’s direction, Cato launched the Project on Social Security Choice, which is widely considered the impetus for transforming the system into a private savings program.  Time magazine calls Tanner, “one of the architects of the private accounts movement,” and Congressional Quarterly named him one of the nation’s five most influential experts on Social Security.

His most recent book, “Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution” (2007), chronicles the demise of the Republican Party as it has shifted away from its limited government roots and warns that reform is necessary to avoid continual electoral defeat.  His other books include, “Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It” (Second Edition, 2007), “The Poverty of Welfare: Helping Others in Civil Society” (2003), and “A New Deal for Social Security” (1998).  Tanner’s writings have appeared in nearly every major American newspaper, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.  

Vicki Spruill

On Thursday, Feb. 25, Vikki N. Spruill P’12, president and CEO of the Ocean Conservancy, will join the Forum with a lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the Geneva Room.

On Dec. 1, 2006, Spruill began serving as president and CEO of the Ocean Conservancy, becoming the fifth person, and the only woman, to hold that title.  Prior to her appointment at the Ocean Conservancy, she was president and founder of SeaWeb, a non-profit organization that uses strategic communications techniques to advance ocean conservation.  Before SeaWeb, she spent 15 years in public relations, including five years as a senior vice president at Ruder Finn, one of the largest independently held public relations firms in the world, where she was responsible for client management and new business development.  Most recently, Spruill founded FoundationWorks, a nonprofit organization working with foundations to enhance effectiveness for foundations and grantees.  Spruill graduated cum laude from Loyola University in New Orleans with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in religious studies.  She received her master’s degree from the University of West Florida, also in communications.

Howard Dean

On Thursday, March 25, Howard Dean-physician, former governor of Vermont and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee-will join the spring 2010 President’s Forum Series at 7:30 p.m. at the Smith Opera House.

Dean earned his undergraduate degree from Yale and his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  In 1986, he was elected lieutenant-governor of Vermont and, in 1991, was elected governor, a post he held until 2003, when he declared his intention to run for U.S. president in 2004.  In February 2005, Dean was elected as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, the party’s guiding organization.  Dean is the founder of Democracy for America, the nation’s largest progressive political action community, and is currently serving as a senior adviser for the DFA healthcare campaign.

Kevin Roose

On Wednesday, April 7, 21 year-old writer Kevin Roose will round out the spring 2010 President’s Forum series with a lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the Geneva Room.

During his sophomore year at Brown University, Roose met a group of students from Liberty University, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell’s “Bible Boot Camp” for young evangelicals.  Inspired by that meeting, he decided to leave Brown and spend a semester “abroad” at Liberty, learning about his conservative Christian peers by living among them. He chronicled his experiences in “The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University” (Grand Central Publishing, March 2009).

Roose has written for national publications like Esquire, SPIN and mental_floss, on topics as wide-ranging as barbershop quartets, 19th-century magicians, and cell-phone ringtones.  He is a staff writer for the College Hill Independent, a regular columnist for the Brown Daily Herald, and a Rose Writing Fellow.  In 2008, he was given a Royce Fellowship for his journalism, and graduated from Brown in 2009 with an English degree. 

President’s Forum events are open to the public.

Established in the winter of 2000 by President Mark D. Gearan, the 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.