Veteran Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile will join Hobart and William Smith as the next President’s Forum Series speaker on Monday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Albright Auditorium. Brazile is vice chair for civic engagement and voter participation at the Democratic National Committee (DNC), a nationally syndicated columnist, and in 2000 became the first African-American to manage a presidential campaign.
Author of the best-selling memoir, “Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics,” Brazile is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, a syndicated newspaper columnist for Universal Uclick, a columnist for Ms. Magazine and O, The Oprah Magazine, and an on-air contributor to CNN and ABC, where she regularly appears on ABC’s This Week. She is the former interim national chair of the DNC as well as the former chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute. She has worked on every presidential campaign from 1976 through 2000, when she managed Al Gore’s campaign.
Currently she is on the board of the National Democratic Institute, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. She is founder and managing director of Brazile & Associates LLC, a general consulting, grassroots advocacy and training firm based in Washington, D.C.
Brazile remains active in her hometown of New Orleans where she serves on the executive committee of the Tricentennial Commission, responsible for the 2018 celebration of the city’s founding. Also passionate about recovery efforts in Louisiana following two catastrophic hurricanes, Brazile was appointed by former Governor Kathleen Blanco to serve on the Louisiana Recovery Board to work for the rebuilding of the state and to advocate for Gulf recovery on the national stage.
Brazile is passionate about encouraging young people to vote, to work within the system to strengthen it, and to run for public office, having lectured at more than 125 colleges and universities since 2000. She’s also made cameo appearances on CBS’s The Good Wife and on Netflix’s House of Cards.
In September 2014, Brazile received the WNBA’s Inspiration Award. In August 2009, O, The Oprah Magazine chose her as one of its 20 “remarkable visionaries” for the magazine’s first-ever O Power List. In addition, she was named among the “100 Most Powerful Women” by Washingtonian Magazine, “Top 50 Women in America” by Essence magazine, and received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s highest award for political achievement.
Brazile has honorary doctorate degrees from Louisiana State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Grambling State University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Northeastern Illinois University, Thomas Jefferson School of Nursing and Xavier University of Louisiana.
The President’s Forum talk is free and open to the public. 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. The important politicians, intellectuals and social activists who visit campus as President’s Forum guest speakers expose the Colleges and the local community to a continual flow and exchange of challenging topical issues.
Recent guests include Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren and Ithaca Mayor and HWS Presidential Fellow Svante L. Myrick, HWS Trustee and “60 Minutes” Correspondent Bill Whitaker ’73, L.H.D. ’97; Political Strategists James Carville L.H.D. ’13, P’17 and Mary Matalin P’17; and The Hon. Shireen Avis Fisher ’70, Justice of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone.