September 12, 2011

Exploring ‘America’s Boundless Possibilities’

Seven notable speakers to headline Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium

Jerry Springer will lead off Johns Hopkins’ annual Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium on Wednesday, Sept. 21, on the Homewood campus.

Springer’s lecture is the first of seven events making up this year’s symposium, America’s Boundless Possibilities: Innovate, Advance, Transform. Also scheduled are Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern, a Johns Hopkins alumna and trustee, on Wednesday, Oct. 12; Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, on Saturday, Oct. 15; actor Michael Kenneth Williams, best known for playing Omar Little on HBO’s The Wire, on Wednesday, Oct. 19; actor and comedian Aziz Ansari, of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, on Wednesday, Oct. 26; David Axelrod, adviser to President Barack Obama, on Tuesday, Nov. 8; and Karl Rove, adviser to President George W. Bush, on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

All lectures are at 8 p.m. in Shriver Hall Auditorium. Each lecture lasts approximately 45 minutes and is followed by a question-and-answer period and a reception where guests mingle with members of the audience.

Established in 1967 to honor the university’s eighth president, the annual MSE Symposium is an undergraduate-run lecture series, free and open to the public, that brings to campus renowned speakers with a variety of perspectives on issues of national importance.

The symposium is managed entirely by undergraduates, led this year by co-chairs Elizabeth Goodstein, a junior from New York majoring in film and media studies; Jonathan Kornblau, a senior from New York majoring in international studies; and Jonathan Mest, a senior from Mount Laurel, N.J., majoring in applied mathematics.

The chairs receive some funding from Student Council and raise the balance from university departments, corporations and foundations. The undergraduates also are responsible for everything else, an array of tasks that include booking auditoriums; arranging for hotels, dinners and receptions for the guests; securing the sound system; and publicizing the series.

First in the series is Springer, best known as the host of several TV shows, including The Jerry Springer Show and, most recently, America’s Got Talent. In the United Kingdom, he is the host of a new game show called Nothing But the Truth, where contestants take a lie detector test while being asked increasingly personal questions. Before achieving fame as a cultural figure, Springer was a politician, serving five terms on the Cincinnati City Council and becoming the city’s mayor at age 33. In 1998, Springer wrote his autobiography, Ringmaster, which was turned into a movie of the same name as a fictionalized chronicle of his TV talk show. He is a graduate of Tulane University and earned his law degree at Northwestern University.

The students are selling $60 season passes that will secure seating near the stage; reserved seats for single events can be purchased for $20. [See box for details.]

For more information, go to the MSE Symposium website, or contact the symposium’s publicity chair, Elizabeth Goodstein, at