Bernie Sanders to speak at Westminster on Sept. 21
BY JIM MALVEN
United States Senator Bernie Sanders will deliver the 2017 John Findley Green Foundation Lecture on campus later this month, according to an announcement made Friday by Dr. Carolyn Perry, Westminster acting president, and Dr. Kurt Jefferson, director of the Churchill Institute for Global Engagement.
Sanders was a candidate for the 2016 U.S. presidential election and is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history.
Perry said that Sanders will speak on Sept. 21 at 11 a.m., discussing “American leadership in a time of global crisis.”
At that time, Sanders will become one of several world-renowned individuals to have given Westminster’s Green Foundation Lecture. Established in 1936, the address has been delivered by prominent figures such as Winston Churchill (1946), Mikhail Gorbachev (1992) and Margaret Thatcher.
“Here at Westminster, the dynamic voices and different viewpoints that we bring to our students through our visiting lecturers and our engaging academic experiences educate and inspire,” Perry said. “They teach our students to lead and to change the world.”
Nikita Thompson, a senior majoring in global leadership and social entrepreneurship, and Nicholas Spain, a junior majoring in communications with media studies, said that they are, indeed, eager to learn from Sanders during his visit.
When asked what they are most looking forward to about the senator coming to Westminster, Spain said, “Just for him to give us wisdom, insight, educate us.”
Thompson replied, “Kind of show us a potential different perspective on the future of world politics than the one we’re currently experiencing.”
Perry and Jefferson’s announcement was filmed in front of the Berlin Wall “Breakthrough” sculpture in Latshaw Plaza and live-streamed on Facebook.
Spain and Thompson were walking by Latshaw moments before the filming and decided to stop and watch when they saw the small crowd of reporters and videographers, they said. However, both students said that they did not expect to witness what they did.
“We’re huge fans of Bernie Sanders,” Spain said. “I’m awe-struck; I didn’t expect ‘Bernie Sanders’ to be announced.
In fact, Spain’s and Thompson’s jaws dropped when Perry did say Sanders’ name.
“This is by far the greatest lecture we could have possibly gotten for this year,” Thompson commented. “His role globally — this is one of the biggest names in today’s age on everybody’s table. I’m not sure how we got him; I’m not sure how we got him. This is incredible.”
He continued: “It kind of rings truth to this college’s significance. It’s a place in the middle of nowhere, but yet, Bernie Sanders is coming to speak here. Incredible.”
Jefferson, too, expressed excitement about Sanders’ upcoming appearance at Westminster.
“To Senator Sanders, we look forward to welcoming you to campus on September 21,” he said during the announcement. “To our students, get ready, for an incredible Hancock Symposium and Green Foundation Lecture is coming. This will be one of the most interesting and memorable events of your Westminster experience.”