Purdue University Northwest engaged the Region yet again with the first in the 2017 series of the Sinai Forum, featuring host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Joe Scarborough.
More than 700 people filed into the James B. Dworkin Student Services and Activities Complex at PNW’s Westville campus to hear Scarborough’s speech on “Politics and Media.” Scarborough gave a lively 45-minute presentation and took questions from the audience.
“The Sinai Forum is important for the Region because it allows us to bring amazing speakers like Mr. Scarborough, and last year’s opening speaker Ted Koppel. We host famous thought leaders, but also people who are lesser known to the area,” Executive Director of the Purdue University Northwest Sinai Forum Leslie Plesac said. “It gives people this opportunity in an intimate venue, in a smaller format to engage with the speaker. It’s just an opportunity that allows people to consider different subjects and viewpoints.”
The Sinai Sunday Evening Forum began in 1953 and was founded by Dr. Milton and Sylvia Bankoff. The purpose of the forum is to enlighten those who attend, and those listening to Scarborough’s speech experienced just that.
While introducing the forum, PNW Chancellor Thomas Keon discussed the many other ways that PNW is currently educating members of the community before Scarborough’s speech. According to Keon, PNW’s freshman class has more than 1,080 students with an average ACT score of 22, and the university is currently experiencing its highest retention rate in its history. With an impressive freshman class of innovators and creators, PNW is eager to provide those students and the community with opportunities to see such distinguished speakers as Scarborough.
After being introduced by Christopher White, publisher of The Times, Scarborough took to the stage. He began by discussing his time in Congress, specifically discussing the time he first met then-President Bill Clinton. Scarborough discussed his disagreements with Clinton, but then told the audience how awestruck he was when he met President Clinton in person. Despite their differences and despite the fact that a Democratic president was working with a Republican Congress, the two branches of government balanced the budget for the first time since the 1920s.
Political unity became a recurring theme in Scarborough’s speech, especially as he discussed the current administration.
“We can disagree with each other politically and still work together,” Scarborough said. “We can put our country ahead of our political party.”
Scarborough noted that he received the question that he gets at every speaking engagement: “Where’s Mika?”
Mika Brzezinski is Scarborough’s co-host on “Morning Joe” as well as his fiancée. To answer the question, Scarborough contacted Brzezinski via FaceTime – then announced Brzezinski was getting a facial at the time. Through laughter, Brzezinski greeted the audience.
Shortly after ending the FaceTime call, Scarborough bid the audience farewell and thanked them for listening to his speech. Audience members responded with a roar of applause, and Scarborough left the stage.
Thanks to the Purdue Northwest Sinai Forum, citizens of the Region broadened their outlook on the nation’s current political situation and engaged themselves in their community.
Other speaking topics that will be covered throughout the year as part of the Sinai Forum include Genetics and Sport, Wall Street and Greed, Race and Understanding, Science and Story, and Trump and History. For more information on the 2017 Purdue University Northwest Sinai Forum, click here.