On Oct. 12, legendary journalist Helen Thomas and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) will come to Mills College to discuss presidential leadership and insights from the White House. The talk will take place from 7 – 8:30 pm in the Concert Hall.
The event, entitled “Listen Up, Mr. President: An Insider’s View of Leadership,” will feature excerpts from Thomas’ new book Listen Up, Mr. President. Copies of Lee’s book Renegade for Peace and Justice will also be available for signing.
Thomas has worked in political journalism for almost 60 years, having reported on the administrations of ten presidents and known for her famous closing line of “Thank you, Mr. President,” which she first said to President John F. Kennedy.
She became the first female to serve as a White House bureau chief for a news wire when she earned the position for United Press International in 1974, the first female member of the White House Correspondents Association and the first female officer of the National Press Club.
Thomas has authored five books, the latest of which is Listen Up, a primer for presidents based on observations and examples of past presidents. It is coauthored by Craig Crawford. According to Thomas’ website, the book also tells the American people what they should look for and expect Lee, who earned her BA from Mills in 1973, has represented California’s 9th District in the United States Congress since 1998.
Lee earned international recognition in 2001 for being the only member of Congress to vote no on the the bill which allowed the U.S. to invade Iraq, “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists.’’
While Thomas and Lee are both nationally renowned women who have made their names in fields dominated by men, the event does not seem to be gathering the excitement on campus among students that one might expect. The event has been advertised in the daily student news email.
“I haven’t even heard anything about the event,” junior Anna Cunningham said.
Other students, when asked about the event, either did not know who the women were, did not understand what they were coming to talk about, or were simply uninterested.
“I think I might have heard vague things about Barbara Lee coming,” sophomore Kate Smith said. “I don’t even know who Helen Thomas is.”
The public policy and economics double major said she would probably go just because of her interest in the subject.
Although the event has not been highly publicized, many professors on campus are looking forward to the event.
“I’m really excited,” public radio professor Holly Kernan said.