Although late, Reich’s presentation inspires

Although late, Reich's presentation inspires

Ava Nadel/Guilfordian

A man whose small stature only hides his fiery determination, Robert Reich,  captured audiences last Tuesday.

Originally scheduled for Feb. 17, Robert Reich, who is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration and director of the documentary “Inequality for All,” gave a presentation on April 7 as part of the Bryan Series.

Titled “Bipartisan Solutions for America’s Economic Future,” Reich’s talk highlighted his skill set as an orator, the same skill set that made him a perfect fit for the Bryan Series.

“We do a lot of research on speakers before we invite them to the Bryan Series,” said Associate Vice President of Communications and Marketing Ty Buckner. “Robert Reich has been on our ‘radar’ for a while. “As a distinguished professor and former labor secretary and as a very popular and skillful presenter, (Reich) was a person we believed would be great for the series.”

Like the event’s organizers, the Guilford and Greensboro communities buzzed with excitement as the event drew closer.

“We’re very excited because he’s just such a dynamic speaker,” said event attendee Joan Smith.

Even before the big night, Reich connected with the Guilford College community in a question-and-answer session. Held in Bryan Jr. Auditorium, the session allowed Guilford students and faculty exclusive access to Reich.

“I thought (the Q & A) was amazingly engaging,” said sophomore Seth Rose.

“It was extremely stimulating on a mental level in terms of tangible ways of attacking the complex theories we discuss in the classroom.”

The hour-long session saw Reich answering the questions of students and staff in a relaxed yet practical manner.

“He was wonderful with interacting on an intimate level and making sure everyone had a chance to ask a question,” said Instructor of English Caroline McAlister.

“Sometimes I worry that students don’t get enough access at Guilford to the Bryan Speakers, but I thought this was a very nice opportunity for any students that took advantage of it.”

A few hours after the session, Reich gave his larger presentation in the Greensboro Coliseum.

Reich’s larger talk drew in Guilford students as well as a massive crowd from the Guilford County area.

“I’m part of the AP Academy at Western Guilford High School,” said event attendee Symone Smith. “When I heard we had this opportunity, I was very excited to take advantage of it.”

During the talk, Reich expounded on the value of investment in education and the importance of bipartisanship while humorously working in references to buying cars, hip replacements and even meeting Hilary Clinton in high school.

“Talent and responsibility,” said Reich to the crowd. “That’s what will revive education in this country.”

After concluding with another brief, albeit less personal, Q&A session, Reich excused himself, leaving behind a satisfied and entertained crowd.

“I found the talk very inspiring,” said Early College senior Morgan Klenke. “He was very down to earth and his story about Hilary Clinton was fantastic.”

The Bryan series has always brought interesting speakers into an environment where their presentations enrich the Guilford College and Greensboro communities, and Robert Reich’s humorous yet practical talk stands well among them.

The next Bryan series event will host international reporter Anderson Cooper sharing his experience as journalist on April 19.