GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs will host the grand opening of its new building Wednesday and Thursday. The event will feature panel discussions with SMPA faculty and nationally renowned speakers, including CNN correspondent Wolf Blitzer and Bob Scheiffer, chief Washington correspondent for CBS.
“I truly believe this will be the biggest and brightest level of star power on this campus in such a short period of time,” said Gretchen King, director of media relations.
King said all construction on the MPA building will be complete by the event.
Wednesday night events include a ribbon-cutting ceremony with GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, Shapiro Fellow and former head of the National Press Corps Helen Thomas and city council member Jack Evans, King said.
Ted Leonsis, vice chairman of America Online and partial owner of the Washington Capitals hockey team, will join the festivities Thursday.
Two simultaneous panel discussions will take place Thursday morning. “The Web: Death of the Word?” will spotlight Scott Woelfel, founding editor and former general manager of CNN.com.
“The Paul O’Dwyer Forum: Ethics and Politics” will feature Dean of the Graduate School of Political Management Christopher Arterton and American University’s Carol Whitney, program director for the Campaign Management Institute.
GW picked Blitzer, a Colonials basketball fan, to serve as the keynote speaker at a lunch reception Thursday afternoon. Events will conclude with the President’s Millennium Seminar. SMPA Director Jean Folkerts, Thomas and CBS news correspondent Richard Hottelet will discuss media and democracy.
Another event will celebrate Westwood One Radio’s donation of historic reel-to-reel radio broadcasts, which will be housed in Gelman Library.
“This compiles thousands of reel-to-reel tapes that span more than 50 years of radio broadcasting,” King said. The programs include Larry King’s first broadcasts and full coverage of events from John F. Kennedy’s assassination to the O.J. Simpson case, she said.
King said the grand opening will focus on the future of media.
“What’s next? Students are thinking about that all the time, what’s in the future,” she said. “(The events) offer something probably for anyone who is interested in media and politics.”
All events are free and open to students, faculty and staff, King said, although some require reservations. Students should call University Relations at 994-6460 for ticket information.