In an effort to promote civil discourse and a broad-based intellectual appreciation of all viewpoints, the Lindau Symposium, made possible through an endowment by the Lindau family, will host renowned political commentator Dr. Charles Krauthammer on Thurs., April 12, 2012 in Alumni Hall.
The Lindau Endowed Symposium came about when Phil Lindau ’58 perceived a need in today’s generation to be exposed to a broad spectrum of viewpoints and to be able to discuss them civilly.
“As a businessman, Mr. Lindau felt that a lot of the younger people he worked with were unable to respect different opinions or to even understand why they felt the way they did about their own beliefs. He wanted to ensure that Gustavus would continue to teach civil discourse and that politically and fiscally conservative views would continue to be heard on a predominately liberal campus,” Barb Larson Taylor, assistant to the President’s office, said.
The Lindau family’s endowment is intended to ensure that Gustavus students are given the opportunity to examine the pressing issues of the day from a variety of viewpoints, and that a conservative voice will always be represented and heard on the Gustavus campus. A relatively new speaker series, lectures in the past featured Dinesh D’Souza and Reverend Richard John Neuhaus.
“Finding the right speaker is of utmost importance to the Lindau family. They are very involved with that specific part of the process, while the planning and logistics remain the task here at the President’s Office. There are a lot of conservative speakers out there—but so many are adversarial,”Larson Taylor said. “It is important to the Lindaus that we find someone well-respected, well-known, and who will attract a wide variety of students. It needs to be someone that will help students understand their own points of view regardless of which side of the spectrum they gravitate towards.”
With the celebration of the sesquicentennial, both the President’s Office and the Lindau family felt that the Symposium should be a larger event than normal and therefore thought Dr. Krauthammer would be a great fit for the event.
“Dr. Krauthammer is one of the most well known conservative thinkers of our time. His opinion is often looked after for a number of different political issues today. As a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and one of the most well known conservative political thinkers in this country he seemed like a natural fit,” Brandon Hirdler, intern in the President’s Office and project manager of the Symposium, said.
Dr. Krauthammer is well-respected on both sides of the spectrum, having been honored by the liberal People for the American Way and the conservative Bradley Foundation. His syndicated column for The Washington Post is published weekly in more than 275 newspapers worldwide. Krauthammer also appears nightly on FOX News’ Special Report with Bret Baier.
Aside from politics, Dr. Krauthammer is also well-known for discovering a form of bipolar disease and continues to be cited in psychiatric literature.
“I expect that he will be really fun to listen to as he can comment on just about anything from the economy, foreign affairs and the upcoming election to medicine and psychiatry. He is very well-rounded,” Larson Taylor said.
While the Lindau Symposium is considered a conservative event, all involved in the planning of the Symposium and in the Lindau family hope that a wider variety of students find it in their interests to attend.
“Looking back at the goals of this symposium, I think it is vital for both conservatives and liberals to attend this event. Our country has become extremely polarized. This community should invite other viewpoints and continue to work together in creating a great civil discourse among its members in order to learn and live together. Only through these open dialogues can we grow together. So, while this is a conservative event, I implore all Gusties, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, to attend,” Hirdler said.
Bess Folsom, President of the College Republicans, is also excited about the opportunity to hear Dr. Krauthammer speak on the Gustavus campus.
“Gusties should jump at the opportunity to listen to Dr. Krauthammer. It is no one’s expectation that the audience in Alumni will be in agreement with whatever Krauthammer says. It is essential to the cultivation of one’s beliefs to have those beliefs challenged and be exposed to a plethora of other viewpoints. The Gusties that come to hear Krauthammer will leave with a better sense of self and the ability to articulate their own argument in a more sophisticated way,” Folsom said.
Dr. Krauthammer’s lecture entitled, “Politics in Washington,” will be presented in Alumni Hall on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. Attendance is open and free. His lecture will be followed by a question and answer period.