The Presidents, 1933 - 2001: History of Presidential Conferences at Hofstra University
September 8 - October 26, 2008
Rochelle and Irwin A. Lowenfeld Conference and Exhibition Hall, Joan and Donald E. Axinn Library, 10th floor
The Presidential Conferences began at Hofstra University in 1982 with the examination of the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The most recent conference, held in 2005, focused on William Jefferson Clinton. Each conference is designed to present a balanced combination of perspectives: academic and scholarly comment, journalist comment and first-hand accounts from decision-makers. Since 1982, the stature and scope of the Presidential Conferences has grown along with international and national interest in the study of the U.S. Presidency. In 2005, growing interest in this area brought forth a gift from long-time trustee and alumnus Peter S. Kalikow, to create a Hofstra University Endowed Chair in Presidential Studies. The selection of Hofstra University for the site of the third Presidential Debate on October 15, 2008, underscores Hofstra’s strong reputation as an international center for the study of the American presidency.
The first conference, Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The Man, The Myth, The Era – 1882 – 1945, was opened by then New York Governor Hugh L Carey and the opening address was given by Dr. William R. Emerson, Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, National Archives and Records Service, Hyde Park, NY. Subsequent conferences have also collaborated with each Presidential Library, including borrowing photographs and artifacts for exhibition. The most controversial presidential conference, Richard Nixon: A Retrospective on His Presidency, brought together key figures of his administration including H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, associated with the Watergate scandal. Former President Nixon declined to attend the conference. The most recent presidential conference, William Jefferson Clinton: The “New Democrat” from Hope, was notable for the attendance of President Clinton and numerous members of his administration, such as Madeleine Albright, David Gergen, Janet Reno and Robert E. Rubin. In all Hofstra has hosted four former Presidents (Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush, in addition to Mr. Clinton) and numerous international luminaries such as Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev. Each conference has included presentations by journalists, such as Tom Brokaw, Arianna Huffington, Mike Wallace, and Bob Woodward, academics and presidential administration staff members. After each conference selected papers and presentations are published, adding to the scholarship on the U.S. Presidency.
This exhibition is presented in conjunction with Hofstra University's Educate '08 programs.