George Stephanopoulos, anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America and chief political correspondent for the network, joined members of the Colleges community for a special President’s Forum on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at The Harvard Club in New York City.
Stephanopoulos was welcomed by President Mark D. Gearan and nearly 200 alumni, alumnae and parents. Stephanopoulos and Gearan worked together in the White House where Stephanopoulos was the senior adviser to the president for policy and strategy and Gearan was director of communications and deputy chief of staff.
Stephanopoulos offered general remarks before opening the floor to questions. The topic of conversation ranged from the upcoming 2012 presidential election to the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
“I think Occupy Wall Street is already complete,” Stephanopoulos said in response to a question from the audience. “The sentiment behind Occupy Wall Street is very strong but the protesters themselves never really had much of a chance. In a lot of cities, they haven’t been the most welcomed guests.”
About the uncertainty in the Republican’s bid for the White House, Stephanopoulos commented: “Mark and I grew up in a political world where you would know what Republicans would do – they would elect the next person in line.”
William Smith alumna Heather Ogletree ’09 was in attendance at Tuesday’s forum. “It was great to hear the political climate from someone who really knows and is taking time to understand everybody’s viewpoints,” said Ogletree. “Isn’t that what we learned to do at HWS? It’s great to see alums and trustees getting together and sharing perspectives.”
Stephen Hedges P’14 was also impressed with the event. “It’s very important to have someone like George Stephanopoulos connected to the Colleges,” he said, referencing Stephanopoulos’ affiliation with HWS that goes back to 2001 when he was one of the first President’s Forum speakers. “It connects the school to contemporary events, issues and important people. I think it’s what Hobart and William Smith is all about.”
Recalling the first time Gearan asked Stephanopoulos to speak at HWS, Gearan remembers asking Stephanopoulos if he believes in free speech. “Naturally, the answer was yes,” said Gearan. “So I told him, good, because you’re giving one at Hobart and William Smith.” Gearan credits that exchange with Stephanopoulos as the basis for asking nearly 100 other politicians, activists, journalists, and scholars to speak at the Colleges as part of the President’s Forum series.
Andrew Donovan ’12 attended the event in New York City and provided live updates on the Colleges’ Twitter feed.
You can also listen to a recording of the event.