On Campus: Stephanopolous To Lecture In Course On Press, Presidents Steve Libowitz ------------------- Editor Odyssey director Tom Crain was hoping for a non-credit offering that would build on last year's successful media and public opinion course. Ghita Levine, that course's coordinator, suggested a course looking at media and politics. The result is the most successful non-credit course ever offered by the School of Continuing Studies' seven-year-old program. More than 350 people have enrolled in the course, Press and Presidents: From JFK to Clinton, which has evolved from a simple course offering into a lecture series rivaling in interest the concurrent Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium on the political and and social importance of movies. The five-week series, which will be held on Wednesdays from Oct. 18 through Nov. 15, will bring to Hopkins some of the leading figures in the U.S. press and in government communications. Among those scheduled to speak are President Clinton's senior adviser and former communications director, George Stephanopolous; President Kennedy's press secretary, Pierre Salinger; the New York Times Washington bureau chief, R.W. Apple; and the former executive editor of The Washington Post, Benjamin Bradlee. Bradlee, whose book, A Good Life, was recently published by Simon and Schuster, also will be the speaker for this year's Kent Lecture, which is free and open to the public on Oct. 25. "What fascinates me is the question of how much does media affect and reflect what we think and the intersection of this effect with the making of public policy," says Levine, the course coordinator and moderator and director of communications at Hopkins. Getting such prominent people to come to Hopkins may be as interesting as the actual series, Levine says. "I basically had no money to offer them as honoraria, but I wanted to have the best speakers I could get," she says. "So I made a list of people I wanted and just started calling them. And they started saying yes." Levine says much of the excitement of offering the course was setting her sights on the speakers she wanted. She didn't get everyone, though, but not for lack of trying. She attributes much of her success to her persistence and to the surprising accessibility of the speakers. "Almost everyone answered their own phone and was interested in participating," Levine says. "Ben Bradlee was charming and funny, really a lovely man." Those she couldn't get--most notably political consultant James Carville and the former press secretary to President Bush, Marlin Fitzwater--begged off only because of scheduling conflicts. "I got the sense that these prominent people were eager to accept because of the prestige of Hopkins," Levine says. "After last year's course, [Baltimore Sun political columnist and speaker] Jack Germond told me he was impressed that a talk about journalism and public opinion could attract such a large number of people," she says. "We had about 100 students for that class, and he commented that they not only were very interested but they asked great questions." New for this non-credit offering, Levine says, is that Hopkins undergraduates will be able to attend the course for free with a current university ID. The arrangement was made possible because Dean of Students Susan Boswell contributed funds to the Odyssey program to help defray the costs. The public can still enroll in the course, says Tom Crain. However, the first class, featuring Pierre Salinger, closed because seating for this session in the Bloomberg auditorium is more limited than in Shriver Hall, the regular meeting place. Enrollment for the remainder of the course is open through Oct. 25 at a reduced fee. Because Ben Bradlee's appearance as the Kent lecturer is open to the public, those enrolled in the course will be invited to a students-only reception with him following his talk. Levine, who says arranging the speakers was the most time-consuming part of her course planning, admits what is keeping her up at nights as the course is about to begin are the myriad details that will need constant attention throughout the next five weeks, like making certain the car meets Salinger at the airport on time and hoping the books the speakers have written--and will sign--arrive as planned. "But I've stopped worrying," she says. "Now I'm mostly looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say." ***************************************************************** Press and Presidents: From JFK to Clinton Although enrollment is closed for the first class of this non-credit Odyssey course, the public can enroll for the remaining four classes--at a reduced fee. Classes will meet in the Shriver Hall auditorium. Hopkins undergraduates can attend for free with proper university ID. (410)516-4842. Oct. 18 Pierre Salinger Press secretary to President Kennedy and longtime Paris bureau chief for ABC News. (Meets in the Bloomberg Center auditorium.) Oct. 25 Benjamin Bradlee Kent Lecture Former executive editor of The Washington Post. Admission is free and open to the public. Nov. 1 Ed Rollins, Frank Greer Republican and Democratic, respectively, political strategists. Professor Mark Crispin Miller will also participate. Nov. 8 George Stephanopoulos, Gwen Ifill Senior adviser to President Clinton and a national correspondent for NBC News. Professor Benjamin Ginsberg moderates. Nov. 15 R.W. Apple, Eleanor Clift, Morton Kondracke Three highly respected veteran Washington correspondents.
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