In light of the upcoming presidential election, the Student Government Association, President’s Office and the Murray State Foundation are providing students with a unique political experience. The Presidential Lecture Series will have a special guest to weigh in on the 2016 election.
Chuck Todd, moderator of “Meet the Press,” is following an impressive number of former guests to Murray State for the lecture series. Previous guests include two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, F.W. de Klerk and Former President of Poland, Lech Walesa.
In 2007 Benazir Bhutto, first elected female Prime Minister of an Islamic state, visited Murray State. Following Bhutto was Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is known for being a relative of the political leaders John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy Sr. as well as being an environmental activist.
The most recent speaker in the Presidential Lecture Series was Bill Nye in the spring of 2014.
Nye was relevant to a college audience, and a large crowd flocked to the lecture last February. Todd may not be as largely recognized by a college audience. However, Jeanie Morgan, SGA adviser, believes that Todd has a lesson that will appeal to all students.
“Students grew up with Bill Nye, he is a household name and made learning fun,” Morgan said. “He is a phenomenon. Chuck Todd is someone that most students will not recognize the name but he will bring insight to them if they will attend and listen. He is very good at explaining things without being biased. He could be to politics what Bill Nye is to science.”
Grant Grissom, SGA vice president, said that Todd is a leader in global and current affairs as well as an editor for First Read which analyzes political news stories.
Todd also has 15 years of experience with NBC’s “Hotline” and has written the books “How Barack Obama Won” and “The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House” that are relevant to current political affairs.
“Politics is something that people tune out but probably shouldn’t,” Grissom said. “(Todd) is very good at reporting what is going on in politics.”
While politics may attract certain majors more than others, Grissom said there are many reasons why Todd is a speaker that may appeal to all students’ interests.
He said this particular lecture will be aimed for a college audience.
“(Todd) brings politics to a younger generation,” Grissom said. “He uses a lot of statistics and predictions and is great at applied technology.”
Grissom and Morgan both said there are areas students need to be aware of, especially in politics. Grissom said Congress has a lot more to do with daily life than what the president does and Todd will attempt to explain that as well.
Morgan said with all of the events happening around the world right now, students need to do their research and one way is to have Todd talk to them.
“Everyone needs to be aware: students, faculty and staff,” Morgan said. “We all need to know what’s going on not just in Murray, Ky. or in their home state, but the whole world.”
Grissom said Todd will not be telling students who to vote for but instead, the facts about politics.
“I want to personally invite all students, faculty and staff to attend,” Grissom said. “University money is going toward this to be the best experience possible at Murray State. I am excited and I hope everyone else is, too.”
Todd will begin his lecture, “Politics and Current Events,” at 8 p.m. on Feb. 24 in Lovett Auditorium.
Story by Tiffany Whitfill, Staff writer