UIC TO HOST PREMIER PRESIDENTIAL SYMPOSIUM
The University of Illinois at Chicago and the Illinois Humanities Council will host a two-day symposium entitled "The Modern Presidency: FDR to Clinton," Oct. 13 - 14 at the Chicago Illini Union, 828 S. Wolcott Ave. The public conference will provide voters with a timely discussion of the problems, limitations and possibilities of the presidency in modern America.
"The presidency is the most powerful job in the world," said Robert Remini, professor emeritus of history at UIC and chair of the conference organizing committee. "Distinguished panels of scholars will explore the characteristics of what separates the great presidents from the not-so-greats, as well as complete a survey that evaluates presidential leadership, job performance and their historical impact."
To fill an important jobs that demand extraordinary skills, recruiters in both the private and public sectors search for candidates with specific job-relevant talents. Yet for the American presidency, the focus has been largely on the candidate's ability to win the election and his promises, with little emphasis on his capacity to function effectively in the office, says Doris Graber, professor of political science at UIC, who will present her study on the qualities of successful presidential leaders.
Held three weeks prior to the presidential election, the event will include prominent political figures, notable media personalities and national scholars giving analysis of issues surrounding presidential leadership, characteristics and achievements during their tenures.
"These sessions will not focus on intentions and promises. The thrust of these evaluations is whether presidents lacked the necessary executive talent for the position," said Remini. "The question, given the political context, is whether the incumbent was able to achieve his administration's goals satisfactorily and what qualities played a significant role in his successes and failures."
Former Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, who held public office from the Eisenhower through the Clinton administrations, keynotes a dinner Oct. 13, 6:30 p.m., entitled "Presidents Who Have Known Me."
The dinner costs $35 and is open to the public. Attendance at the lectures is free.
Remini will be available to summarize each day's discussions on Friday, Oct. 13, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 14, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. UIC's Melvin Holli, professor of history, and Fred Beuttler, associate UIC historian, also will be available to discuss the ranking of modern American presidents and media coverage of the presidency.
Stanley Fish, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, also will be available to comment on the Oct. 14 discussion of the modern presidency after the roundtable talk ending at 4:30 p.m.
For conference details, visit www.uic.edu/depts/huminst/presidency.htm
Sponsors for the event are: The Office of the UIC Historian, the Institute for the Humanities, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Office of the Chancellor, the UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Illinois Humanities Council, and Jesse White, Secretary of State and State Librarian, Illinois State Library.
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