George Will speaks at honors spring convocation

Posted on Feb 6 2013 - 7:00am by Lacey Russell

 Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will addressed honors college faculty and students at yesterday’s spring convocation.

Cain Madden | The Daily Mississippian
Columnist and conservative commentator George Will delivered an address entitled “The Political Argument Today” at the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College (SMBHC) Spring Convocation on Tuesday night.

Chancellor Dan Jones opened the ceremony with a brief welcome followed by the presentation of this year’s Barksdale Awards to honors college juniors Hunter Nicholson and Neal McMillin by Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the SMBHC.

“Students get to come and talk straight on with the people who are helping frame the national debate as participants, not as spectators,” Sullivan-Gonzalez said of the tradition of the convocations.

“I found the lecture stimulating – certainly controversial – but conceptually clear and fun to listen to,” Sullivan-Gonzalez said.

Freshman chemical engineering major Anne Marie DeLee said she enjoyed the evening.

“I think it’s cool that the honors college can bring in people like this, and I really appreciated what he had to say. I thought there was a lot of wisdom in it,” DeLee said.

Freshman biology major Bennett Barr accompanied DeLee and found Will’s lecture to be thought-provoking.

“I thought he was a delightful speaker. I think he speaks with knowledge about the problems of our nation, has a hope for the future and addresses issues with humor,” Barr said. “I find myself sometimes taking a very pessimistic view of our government, and I think he offers solutions.”

Will described today’s political argument as one largely complicated by Americans’ easy acceptance of dependence.

“I hope students realize that we’re spending a lot of the money that they haven’t yet earned, and we’re going to send them the check at the end of the meal,” Will said. “They won’t have eaten the meal – it’s the elderly world taking all their money.”

Junior exercise science major Adam Ruhl found Will’s commentary on the health care system striking.

“What stuck out most to me was what he had to say about health promotion and preventative treatment in the health care systems,” Ruhl said. “I got something out of the lecture, especially in regards to the comments offered about health care systems, medicine and treatments.”

Peter Frost, visiting professor at the Croft Institute for International Studies, expressed an opinion different from Will’s.

“I was upset because I think he mixed up dependency with compassion,” Frost said. “I think there are people in this country who need help, and it is our responsibility to give it. I also think there are a lot of very good government agencies.”