Park University’s Annual Hauptmann Lecture to Feature PBS Host Alexander Heffner

A conversation that will navigate three areas of interest across civic life will be the focus of Park University’s 25th annual Dr. Jerzy Hauptmann Distinguished Guest Lecture Series event on Monday, May 1. The silver anniversary of the Hauptmann Lecture will be held on the University’s Parkville Campus for the first time since 2009 in the Park Distance Learning Conference Center starting at 3 p.m. Admission to the event is free and open to the public.

This year’s Hauptmann Lecture will feature a discussion on “The Future of Civil Discourse” presented by Alexander Heffner, the host of the PBS program “The Open Mind.” Heffner will talk about the millennial citizen; the space of old and new media; and the character of political discourse. From the formation of broadcasting to the emergence of social media, Heffner will consider a blueprint for “civic press.” He will also grapple with questions related to President Donald Trump and think about fresh ways young people can frame public policy, while reflecting on the 2016 campaign and how to improve the political process.

Heffner has covered American politics, civic life and millennials since the 2008 presidential campaign, including serving as a special correspondent for PBS’ “Need to Know” which chronicled the millennial vote in 2012. His work has been profiled in a wide-range of media outlets, and numerous essays, reviews and opinion/editorial pieces have appeared in numerous publications. He was political director and correspondent for WHRB-FM in Cambridge, Mass., and host of “The Political Arena,” a Sunday afternoon public affairs broadcast.

The lecture series is named in honor of the late Park University professor emeritus of political science and public administration, Jerzy Hauptmann, Ph.D. Hauptmann taught at Park for more than 50 years, and launched the University’s first graduate degree program in 1982. In 2001, Park’s School for Public Affairs was renamed the Hauptmann School of Public Affairs in honor of this remarkable educator.

The Dr. Jerzy Hauptmann Distinguished Guest Lecture Series was established through the generosity of alumni, colleagues and friends of Hauptmann upon Hauptmann’s 40th anniversary at Park University. The Hauptmann Lecture brings outstanding scholars to the Kansas City area to address topics related to Hauptmann’s three areas of study: international politics, public administration and democracy.

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