The Center is launching a new season of our premiere series around the themes of leadership and civic engagement. We host world-class talks, debates, seminars, and conferences to inform citizens who seek to understand how other peoples and generations have confronted the challenges they have faced. Partnering with organizations at Grand Valley and around the state and nation, we create programs that equip leaders, and apprentice-leaders to tackle today’s challenges.

2013 – 2014 Speakers

An Evening with Three Presidents

8/22/13, 7 pm, Grand Haven High School Auditorium

Gleaves Whitney of the Hauenstein Center will moderate what promises to be an entertaining and enlightening conversation with three presidents. Bill Barker first started interpreting Thomas Jefferson in 1984 for an appearance at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Chuck Chalberg is a seasoned interpreter whose oldest interpretation is of Theodore Roosevelt. Paddy Morrissey has been interpreting Ronald Reagan since 1981 and performed at the 1984 Democratic Convention. The Hauenstein Center is proud to sponsor this event with the Loutit District Library and the Grand Haven Area Public Schools.

Gleaves Whitney:
Is Common Ground Possible?

9/9/13, 7 pm, Loosemore Auditorium, GVSU

Congress is dysfunctional. Citizens are cynical. Soundbite junkies dominate the public square. Is there any hope that the American people and their representatives might find common ground on the tough issues facing our nation? Or do we settle for cable TV-style shouting matches over the issue de jour? Join Gleaves Whitney for a lively presentation that examines the historic reality of common ground in America’s past, and seeks audience insight into the possibilities of rediscovering common cause in the future.

This program is part of Grand Valley’s campus-wide recognition of Constitution Day.

Jonathan Haidt:
The Righteous Mind

10/22/13, 7 pm, Eberhard Center, GVSU

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has done the seemingly impossible—challenged conventional thinking about morality, politics, and religion in a way that speaks to everyone on the political spectrum. He shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. He shows why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and he shows why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns. This event is in partnership with the Business Ethics Center at GVSU

Amity Shlaes:

11/21/13, 7 pm, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum 

Amity Shlaes delivers a brilliant and provocative reexamination of Calvin Coolidge and the decade of unparalleled growth that the nation enjoyed under his leadership. Coolidge restored national trust in Washington and left office with a federal budget smaller than the one he inherited. Renowned as a throwback, Coolidge was in fact strikingly modern—an advocate of women’s suffrage and a radio pioneer. Our 30th president gestures to the country we once were and reminds us of qualities we had forgotten and can use today.  This event is in partnership with the Gerald R. Ford Foundation and Museum.




Senator Olympia Snowe:
Fighting for Common Ground: How to Fix the Stalemate in Congress

12/12/13, 7 PM – Eberhard Center, GVSU

In this timely call to action, Senator Olympia Snowe explores the roots of her belief in principled policy-making and bipartisan compromise. A leading moderate with a reputation for crossing the aisle, she will propose solutions for bridging the partisan divide in Washington, most notably through a citizens’ movement to hold elected officials accountable. Senator Snowe recounts how the tragedies and triumphs of her personal story helped shape her political approach.

Colin Woodard:
American Nations

1/23/14, 7 PM, Loosemore Auditorium, GVSU

According to journalist and historian Colin Woodard, North America is made up of eleven distinct nations. He discusses the history of our continent, offering a revolutionary and revelatory take on American identity, and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past and mold our future. From the Deep South to the Far West, to Yankeedom to El Norte, Woodard reveals how each region continues to uphold its distinguishing ideals and identities today.

Deborah Mower:
Civility in Politics and Education

2/14/14, 7 PM, Loosemore Auditorium, GVSU

Deborah Mower examines the concept of civility and the conditions of civil disagreement in politics and education. Although many assume that civility is merely polite behavior, it functions to aid rational discourse. She offers multiple accounts of civility and its contribution to citizenship, deliberative democracy, and education. Given that civility is essential to all aspects of public life, it is important to address how civility may be taught. This event is in partnership with GVSU ‘s Department of Philosophy.

Rick Atkinson:
The Guns Last Light

5/13/14, 7 PM – Eberhard Center, GVSU

The Hauenstein Center is proud to bring you this American Conversations event featuring Rick Atkinson, a multiple Pulitzer Prizing winning author and journalist.

D-Day marked the commencement of one of the greatest common ground initiatives in world history – the final campaign of the Allies to take Europe back during WW II. Pulitzer Prize-winner Rick Atkinson’s riveting account of that bold gamble sets the pace for the masterly narrative that follows. Historic events come alive with a wealth of new material and a fascinating cast of characters. Atkinson tells the tale from the perspective of participants at every level, from presidents and generals to war-weary lieutenants and terrified teenage riflemen. When Germany at last surrenders, we understand anew both the devastating cost of this global conflagration and the enormous effort required to win the Allied victory. This Hauenstein Center event is in partnership with the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation and Library & Museum.


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