Women’s Leadership Institute
Posted on November 20, 2020
Mount Mary was honored to welcome Visiting Fellow Eleanor Clift to campus, virtually, the week of October 5 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. With the purpose of creating better understanding and new connections between the academic and nonacademic worlds, Clift provided online guest lectures and conversations with over a dozen undergraduate courses and scholar programs at Mount Mary University. She also delivered a public community keynote and Q&A moderated by local newscaster Shannon Sims of WTMJ.
Clift is currently a political columnist for the Daily Beast, an online publication. However, Clift began her career at Newsweek and was one of the first women at the magazine to move from secretary to reporter. During her 50 years with the magazine, Clift covered every presidential campaign since 1976. While also an accomplished author, Clift is probably best known as a longtime panelist on the syndicated talk show, “The McLaughlin Group.”
Coordinated by the Women’s Leadership Institute, the Visiting Fellows Program engages students in exploring the most significant and complex issues of our time with experts on the front lines. Clift spoke from a place of experience on topics such as how the dissemination of media has changed over the years, the importance of voting, and key takeaways from the vice presidential debate that took place that same week. She also spoke from a place of compassion and interest when she provided feedback to students on their individual projects.
One student shared, “I think it’s great to connect a successful woman [like Eleanor] who has contributed to society with her knowledge and opinions with other young woman who are trying to also make a difference and make their presence known. It’s very helpful to learn from someone who’s done so much as a reporter to inform the public on major topics like the elections.”
A professor shared, “The students really appreciated the chance to talk with such an experienced, wise, and interesting speaker. While the topic of Eleanor’s talk wasn’t centrally related to the main thrust of our new media class, there were a surprising amount of connections and the students learned a lot, I think, and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the class period. I got the impression that the majority of students were really impressed by Eleanor and that they would welcome many more opportunities like this on campus.”