By: Stacey Axler and Kimberlyn Bennett
Over 200 students, faculty, staff members, and Frederick community members gathered in the Hodson Auditorium at to see former speaker of the house and a current candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination Newt Gingrich speak at the college.
On Monday, April 2, Hood hosted a lecture for the Speaker to address Hood students and faculty and the Frederick community to inform those in attendance about his plans and initiatives if elected president of the United States.
“I enjoyed the visit to Hood [College], I felt the students were prepared, I felt the questions were well thought out, and I felt we had a great dialogue. This is what college is about: communicating and sharing ideas,” said the Speaker.
The lecture began with an introduction from Newt Gingrich’s wife, Callista Gingrich, who is the President of Gingrich Productions which is a production company located in Washington, D.C. Callista Gingrich explained that she is confident that Newt Gingrich will win the 2012 presidential election.
After the introduction, the Speaker addressed the audience for an hour.
The Speaker explained that his lecture covers on the three topics of the “nature of reality, core values of America, and the scale of innovation.”
Overall, the speech focused on the advancement in ideas as a population, as well as highlighting the importance of education and a strong work ethic as keys to success.
“I think working at McDonalds is better than not working at all,” the Speaker said during his lecture.
After the speech, students had the opportunity to ask questions to Gingrich from the back of Hodson Auditorium from two microphones. The topics of the questions ranged from immigration, to marriage equality, and the economy.
After the question and answer portion of the event, the Speaker stayed at Hood for an additional 30 minutes to have a private discussion with the members of Hood College Republicans.
“I’m one of the minority republicans at this school and so I’m really interested to hear what he has to say… Hood says we’re open to all people but a lot of people here are very against conservatism and they treat you different for your views,” said freshman Margaret Negas, a Hood College Republican member.
The Hood community felt split about the Speaker’s visit to campus: with some supporting the Republican candidate’s speech and others opposing his presence on campus.
“To have a presidential candidate at Hood is exactly what we want to see… this event provides the student with a wonderful opportunity,” said History professor Dr. Len Latkovski.
Some students and faculty protested Gingrich’s presence at Hood before, during, and after the speech and question and answer period.
The protestors included several students such as seniors Lindsay Cogdill, Katie Rattigan, and Kyle Hodum, as well as Hood psychology professor Dr. Shannon Kundey.
“I don’t appreciate a person who doesn’t represent Hood ideals,” said Cogdill, as a reason for protesting.
Besides Hood students and faculty, members of the Frederick community came to the campus event to see candidate Gingrich speak.
“Well, I want my children to be prepared for their future and we made it a priority to hear Speaker Gingrich because I believe the American people owe him a debt of gratitude when he was speaker of the house.” said Lisa Deener, Hood Alumni ’91.
The campus visit of Gingrich was the first time a presidential candidate visited the college since John F. Kennedy visited Hood in the 1960s.
“This event provides me the opportunity to see someone who is making on impact of the world… I’m more excited to hear his contribution to the nation and how he’d like to make an impact… this event is “putting us on the map,” said senior Zach Roberson.