The spring semester of the President’s Forum Series will open with Former Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, the first woman in American history to serve in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of Congress. She will present her lecture, “What’s Gone Wrong in Washington, and Why It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way,” in Boston following a reception at the Boston Public Library on Thursday, Jan. 23.
Snowe, a member of the Republican Party, retired at the end of her third term in January 2013. With her election in 1994, she became only the second woman Senator in history to represent Maine, following the late Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, who served from 1949 – 1973.
Before her election to the Senate, Snowe represented Maine’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for 16 years. She is only the fourth woman in history to be elected to both houses of Congress. When first elected in 1978, at the age of 31, Snowe was the youngest Republican woman, and the first Greek-American woman, ever elected to Congress. She has won more federal elections in Maine than any other person since World War II.
Snowe earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Maine, Orono and entered politics in 1971 by winning a seat on the Auburn Board of Voter Registration and working for then-Congressman William Cohen. When her husband, Republican state legislator Peter Snowe, was killed in a car accident, Olympia Snowe ran for and won his seat in the Maine House of Representatives and was reelected to the House a year later. In 1976, Snowe won election to the Maine Senate, and was named delegate to both the state and national Republican conventions.
She was elected to the U. S. Senate in 1994, reelected in 2000 and in 2006, at which time she received 74 percent of the vote. Snowe served on a number of committees, including: Commerce, Science & Transportation (Communications, Technology & the Internet; Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries & Coast Guard – Ranking Member); Finance (Taxation & IRS Oversight); Small Business & Entrepreneurship – Ranking Member; Select Intelligence. In 2013, she published “Fighting for Common Ground: How We Can Fix the Stalemate in Congress” (New York: Weinstein Books).” She also published “Nine and Counting: The Women of the Senate,” (William Morrow, 2000).
In 2006, Snowe was named one of America’s Best Senators by Time magazine. She was renowned for her strong sense of bipartisanship and ability to compromise.
Snowe is currently a Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., where she also co-chairs the Center’s Commission on Political Reform.
Click here for ticket information on Snowe’s President’s Forum reception and lecture.
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 the HWS community to share their knowledge and ideas with students, faculty and staff of the Colleges, as well as with interested community members. The most recent guest of the President’s Forum was Cleveland L. Sellers Jr., president of Voorhees College, who spoke in November. Other guests have included activist speaker Judy Shepard; Mayor of Ithaca Svante Myrick, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund; political activist and author the Rev. Dr. Marvin A. McMickle.
On Thursday, Jan. 30, the President’s Forum continues on campus as the Colleges host Gus Schumacher, executive vice president of policy and co-founder of Wholesome Wave. Schumacher previously served as undersecretary of agriculture for farm and foreign agricultural services at the USDA from 1997 to 2001, where he oversaw the Farm Service Agency, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and the Risk Management Agency.
Todd S. Purdum, senior writer at POLITICO and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, also will present in Geneva as part of the Series on Monday, Feb. 24. Purdum was formerly with The New York Times, where he worked for 23 years covering politics from City Hall to the White House.