Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Alumni series to include Gephardt at Pick-Staiger

Former House Democratic leader and presidential candidate Richard Gephardt will return to Northwestern for a program April 18 as part of the annual Alumni Speaker Series, presented by Associated Student Government and A&O.

Gephardt, Communication ’62, was elected to the Student Senate, the precursor to ASG, in 1961. He was known for advocating for a pre-registration system and against the discrimination against a black student at an Evanston barbershop.

He attended law school at the University of Michigan. Gephardt became a grass-roots organizer in his hometown of St. Louis. After serving in the Air National Guard for six years, he was elected alderman in 1971. He served as a congressman from Missouri for 26 years.

Gephardt’s last visit to campus was in 1992, when he was the keynote speaker for graduation. Rob Luchow, director of speakers and special events for A&O, said various groups have worked to bring Gephardt back.

“This is a real opportunity that students shouldn’t miss out on,” said Luchow, a Weinberg senior. “They’re getting the chance to see a great politician.”

Luchow said that in addition to speaking about his political career, Gephardt may also address his experience at NU, to add a “fun element” to his speech.

The program will be free for students and is scheduled to take place in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Last year, the Alumni Speaker Series was run mostly by ASG. This spring and next year, Luchow said, it will be a joint venture that should include a speaker every quarter.

Communication freshman Becca Donaldson, who served on the speakers committee, said the group hopes to fill the 1,000 available seats at Pick-Staiger.

“With the high level of political discussion here, we think that a lot of students will be interested,” Donaldson said.

Gephardt’s people skills are often cited as one of his political strengths. Donaldson said he has been one of their easiest speakers to work with.

“He’s just very laid back and easygoing,” she said. “He’s very well-respected because he never played the dirty politics game.”

— Kristyn Schiavone

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Alumni series to include Gephardt at Pick-Staiger