During Homecoming and Family Weekend, Hobart and William Smith will welcome political strategists Mary Matalin P’17 and James Carville L.H.D. ’13, P’17 as the next guests of the President’s Forum Series. They will be joined by Ithaca Mayor and Presidential Fellow Svante L. Myrick and The Echo Group President Dan Fee ’92.
Moderated by President Mark D. Gearan, the forum will take place at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17 in Albright Auditorium where Carville, Matalin and Myrick will discuss their take on the 2016 Presidential Election.
Carville’s and Matalin’s cross-aisle marriage has resulted in more than two decades of political commentary on every major television network and news organization, informing Americans across the political spectrum.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Matalin and Carville relocated their family from the Washington, D.C. beltway to Carville’s home state of Louisiana where they have been vocal supporters of the renaissance of New Orleans. Together, they have taken part in a range of environmental, educational, economic and cultural projects in support of the Gulf Coast. Matalin and Carville have co-authored two national, best-selling books including Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home, published in 2014.
Matalin is one of the most celebrated and popular conservative voices in America. As an author, television and radio host, and widely sought after political contributor, pundit and public speaker, she is noted for her straightforward manner and insightful political repartee. Among her many roles and accomplishments, she has served under President Ronald Reagan, made her mark as George H.W. Bush’s campaign director, was assistant to President George W. Bush, and assistant and counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney, making her the first White House official to hold that double title. A graduate of Western Illinois University, she attended Hofstra University School of Law.
Carville is a political commentator and media personality who is a prominent figure in the Democratic Party. Often referred to as The Ragin Cajun, Carville has devised some of the most dramatic political campaign victories of our generation. He was the lead strategist for the successful election in 1992 of Bill Clinton as the 42nd president of the United States. Carville is the former co-host of CNN’s Crossfire and has provided consultation to campaigns in more than 20 countries. He teaches political science at Tulane University. A former U.S. Marine, Carville received his undergraduate and law degrees from Louisiana State University. In 2013, Carville delivered the Hobart and William Smith Commencement Address and received an honorary degree.
A graduate of Cornell University where he studied communications, Myrick was sworn into office in January 2012 and became, at 24, the City of Ithaca’s youngest mayor and first mayor of color. When he took office as mayor, he inherited a $3 million deficit. His first budget included a major overhaul of city government that merged departments and streamlined processes, all while delivering Ithaca’s lowest tax increase since 2000. In his first year of office, his advocacy in Albany and in Washington, D.C., resulted in more than $20 million of grants and awards from state and federal governments. By the end of Myrick’s second year in office, his budget had successfully closed the deficit. In 2015, the city saw its first operating surplus since 2008 and Myrick was reelected to a second four-year term as mayor, defeating write-in candidate Phoebe Brown by a margin of eight to one.
A seasoned communications and political strategist, Fee is president of The Echo Group, a strategic communications firm that has led dozens of successful political campaigns, development projects and issue-advocacy efforts.
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 forum guests include HWS Trustee and “60 Minutes” Correspondent Bill Whitaker ’73, L.H.D. ’97; The Hon. Shireen Avis Fisher ’70, Justice of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone; and Chancellor of the State University of New York Nancy L. Zimpher.