The President's Forum Series, established in the winter of 2000 by President Mark D. Gearan, is designed to bring a variety of speakers to campus to share their knowledge and ideas with students, faculty, staff of the Colleges, as well as with interested community members. Many speakers draw audience members from the surrounding cities of Rochester, Syracuse and Ithaca.
Forum guests generally take the opportunity to visit classes or gather with students and faculty members to discuss issues. Many people have one-on-one interaction with the speakers for the exchange of ideas or thoughts.
The Forum also offers the speakers a chance to experience the vibrancy of life on this campus. Speakers routinely express their gratitude for the opportunity to have discussions with students and faculty members about the work that they do and their perceptions of the fields of interests of the guests. Since many Forum speakers are national and international policy makers, gathering thoughts and suggestions from the Colleges community aids in their future work.
The President's Forum Series will continue to bring important politicians, intellectuals, and social activists to campus-allowing the community the continual flow and exchange of ideas.
During Homecoming and Family Weekend, Hobart and William Smith welcomed political strategists Mary Matalin P'17 and James Carville L.H.D. '13, P'17 as guests of the President's Forum Series. They were joined by Ithaca Mayor and Presidential Fellow Svante L. Myrick.
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.