Johns Hopkins Gazette: October 16, 1995

On Campus:
Stephanopolous To Lecture In Course On Press, Presidents

Steve Libowitz

     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

     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

     "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

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

Nov. 15   R.W. Apple, Eleanor Clift, Morton Kondracke
     Three highly respected veteran Washington correspondents.

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