This past Wednesday, Oct. 24, Kean spearheaded their 2018-2019 Lecture Series with guest speaker Jon Meacham, an author and presidential historian. The North Avenue Academic Building (NAAB) was filled with students and listeners alike who were anticipating Meacham’s speech.
The first speech of the evening was from president of Kean University, Dawood Farahi, Ph.D. He began by inviting everyone to the Lecture Series, which Kean launched last year with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Bob Woodward, TV journalist and women’s activist, Soledad O’Brien and former Mythbusters’ host, Grant Imahara. Kean was more than excited to expand the Lecture Series to the 2018-2019 school year.
President Farahi explained to the audience that the Distinguished Lecture Series is an opportunity to listen to the ideas from renowned speakers from different fields of work. It gives students the opportunity to learn about events that are transpiring in the world and different fields of work, in case they are interested in it for their future. The students of Kean University will soon move on to become the next generation to have a voice, therefore they should be educated on issues that transpire in society today.
Following the president was Dr. Jonathan Mercantini, acting dean of the College of Liberal Arts who spoke about the guest speaker. He explained all of Meacham’s accomplishments, including being the former executive editor and executive vice president at Random House, former editor-in-chief of Newsweek, writer for the New York Times book review and editor for Time Magazine. Additionally, Meacham is known for his writing since he is a Pulitzer-prize winning author. His newest work is "The Soul of America: The Battle For Our Better Angels," which he spoke about in his speech.
After being introduced by Dean Mercantini, Meacham came to the podium to give his speech. The focus of his speech was American politics and current events as that is his study of expertise as a presidential historian. He spoke on political issues such as leadership in America, since he studies presidents, their lives and their time spent in the office.
Additionally, Meacham spoke on the American soul and how it may be impacted by the current political climate that exists. He said, "Every era, every generation, is defined by the extent to which our better angels defeat our worst instincts for a given period of time."
Overall, Meacham presented many interesting thoughts and ideas to the audience. Everyone seemed to enjoy the speech as they nodded along and laughed at his jokes. Meacham was very comfortable in front of the audience and seemed very passionate about the issues he was discussing.
The next Distinguished Lecture Series event will be on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 4:30 p.m. in the New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics Auditorium. The guest speaker will be Judy A. Smith, the founder and president of Smith & Company, a strategic advisory firm. She also is the co-executive producer and inspiration for the television show "Scandal," as she deals with crisis management, communication, media and politics. Be sure to check out the event on Cougar Link for more details.