Ezra Klein, American journalist and founder of Vox, which describes itself as a news site for the 21st century, will give a lecture at Trinity as part of the Maverick Lecture series. Klein will share insights on current political issues at the lecture.
The series honors the late Maury Maverick Jr., a lawyer, politician and columnist from San Antonio. Sharon Schweitzer, assistant vice president for university communications, shared information about the Maverick Lecture series and its history.
“Since 2008, we have been hosting the Maverick Lecture,” Schweitzer said. “Each year we try to bring a speaker that represents the individuality and iconoclastic individualism that honors the memory of Maverick. Klein was selected this year from a group of possible speakers, and Bill Scanlan is representing the William and Salome Scanlan Foundation, which is helping to support the lecture, along with the university which helped select Ezra Klein.”
Previous Maverick Lecture speakers have included Seymour Hersh, Andrew Bacevich, Rashid Khalidi, Naomi Wolf, Amy Goodman and Sebastian Junger.
“These are activist journalists who are working in the field to promote human rights, civil rights “” those kinds of things,” Schweitzer said. “Ezra Klein was one of the founders of Vox.com, which is a new site that’s dedicated to explaining the news. It’s a very new news platform, and I think that a big part of their focus is what is going on in Washington D.C.”
Schweitzer explained that the Maverick Lectures are important to both the Trinity and the San Antonio communities. The speakers who are brought in for the Maverick Lecture series are individuals who focus on issues that Maverick considered important: freedom of speech, civil rights and human rights.
“I think all of our lecture series really enliven the civic and cultural landscape of our campus as well as San Antonio because we open these lectures up to everyone in the community,” Schweitzer said. “I’ve been to almost all of these lectures, and these individuals are really trying to hold up the rights and the ability of the underdog to have the kind of life that they want to have. I think they bring a perspective that reminds us of the liberties that we have in this country and how easy it is to lose them, depending on the luck of the draw and where you were born and how you’re living your life.”
Kay Casey, assistant vice president of Alumni Relations and Development, helped coordinate Klein’s lecture. Casey elaborated on the importance of the Maverick Lecture series.
“Both the Maverick and Scanlan families have deep American and Texan roots,” Casey said. “They’re very interested in the public discussion and the preservation of civil liberties. This lecture brings forth a keynote speaker who is currently taking the lead in making sure that there’s a public discussion and dialogue about civil liberties and civil freedom. Trinity has a phenomenal lecture series program, not only the Maverick Lecture. We bring in outstanding keynote speakers that many universities can’t even touch. Trinity students are enriched because of this dedication to a public speaker series.”
Casey also expressed her excitement about the opportunity to have Klein speak on campus.
“He’s vibrant; he’s young; he’s on the cutting edge,” Casey said. “It’s really a unique opportunity for him to come to San Antonio. Public lectures like this can be found on university campuses for sure, but it’s quite common that they’re ticketed. It’s because of the commitment of community leaders who have given willingly of their resources that they’ve endowed these lectures so that they are free to the public “” not just to students, but to the whole community. That’s something to take a lot of pride in. I’ve had the privilege to work at four other colleges, and there’s a reason that Trinity is ranked number one in the West. This is just one very small example.”
Communication professor Aaron Delwiche explained why he is excited for Klein to speak at Trinity.
“Journalism is the lifeblood of democracy,” Delwiche wrote in an email interview. “At a time when traditional journalism outlets have struggled to find an audience, Ezra Klein’s Vox has done a terrific job of reaching younger readers. We are living through a very strange moment of American history. According to a recent poll, seven out of 10 Americans believe that political polarization is at least as bad as that of the Vietnam era. As President Anderson’s recent message to the campus community demonstrates, Trinity has been deeply affected by the wider political climate.”
Delwiche explained that the lecture is important to Trinity students and all citizens because they desperately need to be informed about what is going on in the world.
“Trinity students aren’t just students,” Delwiche wrote. “They are also citizens. In times like these, citizens desperately need access to information about the world. They need to know what’s happening, they need to know why it matters, and they need to know what they can do to make things better. Journalists like Ezra Klein, and sites like Vox, have an important role to play in delivering this information.”
Delwiche believes that journalism matters and that it and this lecture is relevant to all sides of the political spectrum.
“Whether it comes from the political right or from the political left, journalism matters,” Delwiche wrote. “Fox News matters, and so does CNN. The Wall Street Journal matters, and so does the New York Times. President Trump has attempted to discredit the press, and he has accused journalists of being “˜enemies of the people.’ Americans on all sides of the political spectrum should be appalled by these attacks on the free press. Trinity students can show their support for the institution of journalism “” and the values of our nation “” by attending this lecture.”
Trinity University Press recently published the book “Maverick” by Lewis F. Fisher, which includes information about the Maverick family and Maury Maverick, Jr. The book will be available for purchase at the lecture. Fisher and his wife, Mary Maverick Fisher, will be attending the lecture and signing the books. A hardbound copy of the book will be presented to Klein at the end of the lecture.
The lecture will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 13 in Trinity’s Stieren Theater. The lecture is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.