DC Fundraiser Audience Talks Politics with Hickenlooper '74, Shumlin '79, Bennet '87

November 14, 2013

With the U.S. Capitol glowing to the east, the White House 10 blocks west and Pennsylvania Avenue buzzing eight stories below, a crowd of more than 160 Wesleyan alumni, parents and friends gathered June 19 to “Talk Politics” with three high-profile Wes alums.

The event, a fundraiser for financial aid and the annual Brown Lecture, featured a lively discussion among Colo. Gov. John Hickenlooper ’74, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin ’79 and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet ’87, who all credited Wesleyan’s interdisciplinary programs and spirit of inquiry for their political success. “If you were to ask any of the people I went to college with, I’d be the last, absolutely least likely to be a governor,” said Hickenlooper, who received both a B.A. in English and an M.S. in geology from Wesleyan. “It was learning to ask questions and figure things out that put me on the path.”

The event, which took place on the top floor of the Newseum, was underwritten by generous Wesleyan donors; the full value of the admissions went to financial aid fundraising.

“One of the reasons Wesleyan is the way it has been is our emphasis on diversity: racial, ethnic, economic, and international,” said President Michael S. Roth ’78. “Continuing to preserve access to Wesleyan and to provide that diversity is crucial. This is why we are here.”

Under questioning from Roth, who served as moderator, and nearly a dozen questions from the audience, the panel of politicians covered everything from the Tea Party’s influence in Congress to gender equity and fracking.

This event was part of a series in the $400 million THIS IS WHY campaign to support the University’s endowment. All proceeds from ticket sales—100%—go directly to financial aid for Wesleyan students.