Journalist Alexander Heffner, host of The Open Mind on PBS, will give a public talk at Sewanee on the topic "Civil Discourse in an Uncivil Age: The Quest for a Post-Partisan Future.” Students, faculty, staff, and the entire Sewanee community are invited to attend the evening presentation at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, in Convocation Hall; a reception will follow.
Heffner is a journalist and civic educator who has contributed to the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and TIME magazine, among other publications. As host of The Open Mind, Heffner invites public figures to discuss timely, critical topics in a forum marked by respect and civility. He has covered American politics, civic life, and Millennials since the 2008 presidential campaign. His work has been profiled in the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Christian Science Monitor, and on NBC News, C-SPAN, NPR, CNN, and other media outlets. Heffner has lectured at the Newseum, National Constitution Center, FDR Library and Museum, and universities across the U.S. and around the world.
Judy Woodruff, a recent guest at Sewanee and host of PBS NewsHour, has said: "The Open Mind is a refreshing change from typical TV fare, and no wonder. Alexander Heffner has taken his grandfather's ground-breaking program and made it just the right fit for today's audience, keeping ideas at the forefront, and with the probing, skeptical, yet confident approach of a millennial."
Heffner will meet with students and faculty throughout the day while on campus. His visit to campus is hosted by the Office of the Dean of the College, and is tied to the University's “Learning to Speak—Speaking to Learn” initiative aimed at improving students’ oral communication skills. The Center for Speaking & Listening is the co-sponsor of some of the day's events.