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Office of News and Information
212 Whitehead Hall / 3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-2692
Phone: (410) 516-7160 / Fax (410) 516-5251

August 28, 1996
CONTACT: Leslie Rice

Defining Generation X:
The 1996 Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium at Hopkins

Author Douglas Coupland first used the phrase Generation X to describe all Americans born after Kennedy's assassination and before the end of disco. Yet it is a generation of people that has remained something of a puzzle for the media and advertising industries which want desperately to know them.

This year, the Johns Hopkins University's 1996 Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium will take a close look at the culture of this group and attempt to come closer to defining this inscrutable Generation X.

Throughout September and October, prominent speakers will visit the Homewood campus to explore issues and events that have shaped the minds of Generation Xers. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., supermodel Tyra Banks, gold medal diver Greg Louganis, best-selling author Tom Clancy and MTV News journalist Alison Stewart are among those who will share their perspectives on topics like AIDS, racism, global warming and the telecommunications explosion.

The Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium was established in 1967 by Hopkins' undergraduate student council to honor the university's eighth president. Every year since then, a team of two to three students chosen by the student council has arranged and managed all aspects of the free series. Usually about six prominent figures are booked to address a current national issue.

Covering topics like the nuclear arms race, human sexuality, freedom of the press and foreign policy and race, the symposium has drawn speakers like Aaron Cropland, Kurt Vonnegut, Carl Bernstein, former senators George McGovern and Eugene McCarthy, Pat Robinson and Isaac Asimov.

This year's symposium chairs are seniors Jeff Shalom and David Capece. They can be reached at (410) 516-7683.

Included are the dates and times of events scheduled so far.

Defining Generation X: The 1996 Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium

All lectures are free and open to the public.

Monday, Sept. 9, 8 p.m., Shriver Hall Auditorium
MTV News journalist Alison Stewart will kick off the symposium by addressing the evolution of the term Generation X, which she believes is simply a marketing label. She will discuss how advertisers and television in general are trying to market their products to Americans between the ages of 16 and 36.

Stewart has danced with Tony Bennett, partied with Michael Stipe and whisked cross-dresser RuPaul through a New Jersey shopping mall. She has interviewed rock stars from U2 lead singer Bono to Mick Jagger. But it is her serious pieces, such as the "Choose or Lose" campaign coverage of the 1992 presidential election that won her a Peabody award and secured herself a place as one of MTV's top journalists.

Wednesday, Sept. 11, 8 p.m., Glass Pavilion, Levering Hall
Should marijuana be legalized? A town hall meeting co-sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Thursday, Sept. 19, 8 p.m., Shriver Hall Auditorium
One of the most shocking moments in recent history was the announcement that Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis has been living with AIDS. In his symposium talk, he will discuss the impact of the AIDS epidemic on Generation X. He will share his personal story about living with AIDS and his own message of hope for the future.

At age 16, Louganis won his first Olympic medal for diving - a silver on the platform in the 1976 Olympics. Since then, in 1984 and 1988, he's become the only man in Olympic history to sweep back-to-back gold medals.

After retiring from diving, Louganis wrote his autobiography, Breaking the Surface, which instantly reached number one on the best-seller list. His openness concerning his sexuality, his difficulties in the past and his hope for the future have made him a role model for millions.

Tuesday, Sept. 24, 8 p.m., Shriver Hall Auditorium
Eric Liu, former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and founder of The Next Progressive, will no doubt debunk some of the myths and stereotypes credited with Generation X, like its political apathy, "slacker" mentality and generational "war" with the Baby-Boomers.

Liu graduated from Yale University in 1990 and then served as speechwriter for President Clinton and Secretary of State Warren Christopher. He is also founder and editor of The Next Progressive, an acclaimed journal of political thought produced by men and women in their twenties. He is editor of the anthology NEXT: Young American Writers on the New Generation and an author of a book on Asian-Americans and the politics of race. Currently, Mr. Liu is a Generation X political correspondent for MC-NBC, the newly launched Microsoft-NBC News cable channel. He is also finishing his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Thursday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m., Shriver Hall Auditorium
Supermodel and actress Tyra Banks will talk about how the fashion industry has been a major player in the consumer culture of Generation X. Banks, who was also a regular on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and held a leading role in the movie Higher Learning, will offer her opinions on image, fashion trends and popular perceptions of beauty. She will also talk about her experiences as one of the few African-American supermodels in the fashion industry, the one industry she says "that can be openly racist." Banks will also discuss her efforts to change the portrayal of African-American young women in the media.

Thursday, Oct. 3, 8 p.m., Shriver Hall Auditorium

Best-selling author Tom Clancy's books have covered international and political topics like the Cold War, the Irish Republican Army, Columbian drug cartels and the inner-workings of the CIA. During his talk, Clancy will share his perspective on the international events that have significantly impacted Generation X. He will also discuss the challenges that lie ahead for this generation in the post-Cold War international arena.

The story of Clancy's success is a publishing fairy tale come true. His first novel, The Hunt for Red October, sold briskly as a result of rave reviews, then catapulted onto The New York Times best-seller list. He has also written Red Storm Rising, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger and Executive Order. All of Clancy's books have sold by the millions and have been ranked #1 on The New York Times best-seller list for both paperback and hardcover novels.

Oct. 9, 8 p.m., Shriver Hall Auditorium
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s will talk about the challenges that lie ahead for this generation in confronting pollution and global warming. Kennedy's reputation as a resolute defender of the environment stems from a history of successful legal actions: prosecuting governments and companies for polluting the Hudson River and Long Island Sound; winning settlements for the Hudson Riverkeeper; arguing cases to expand citizen access to the shore line and suing sewage treatment plants to force compliance of the Clean Water Act.

Kennedy is a clinical professor and supervising attorney at the Environmental Litigation Clinic at the Pace University Law School, a senior staff attorney for the Hudson River Fisherman's Association and a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. He is also an author of several books and has worked on several political campaigns.

Wednesday, Oct. 16, 8 p.m., Shriver Hall Auditorium
Dr. Judy Kuriansky has taken love and sex advice to new heights with her radio call-in show, Love Phones. Among the many dramatic moments of her show, Kuriansky has stopped a child molester from shooting his daughter, prevented an obsessed fan from killing a soap star and talked a suicidal man down from a ledge. Her counsel and humor is so compelling that Love Phones is the No. 1 radio show in New York and other markets across the country. In her entertaining and educational presentation, "Dr. Judy" will discuss the impact of the sexual revolution on Generation X. She will offer straightforward, honest questions about AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases and anything else related to sex.

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 8 p.m., Shriver Hall Auditorium
The beginnings of symposium speaker Michael Bloomberg's financial empire can be traced to the founding of Bloomberg Financial Markets in 1981. Bloomberg Financial Markets has since become the leader in the financial markets industry, providing important information to more than 60,000 terminals at investment and security firms worldwide. Bloomberg's clients include most of the world's central banks, commercial banks investment institutions and United States government agencies.

Today Bloomberg is in a position to help shape the future of Johns Hopkins University. A 1964 Hopkins graduate, he is now chairman of the university's board of trustees and the largest individual donor in the university's history. During his talk, Bloomberg will discuss how recent technological advances in the telecommunications and computer industries will impact the lives of Generation Xers for years to come. He will also address the challenges this generation will face as they strive towards the American Dream.

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