Policy Makers Breakfast brings big names to Trinity

Tuesday, Oct. 2, begins the 33rd annual season of the Trinity University Policy Maker Breakfasts. Featured speakers for the 2012-2013 calendar year include Bill Bradley, David Gergen, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Mark Zandi. Bradley and Gergen will appear during the fall semester and Goodwin and Zandi in the spring.

The Policy Maker Breakfasts originated in 1979 when members of the Stevens Academic Enrichment Fund donated to Trinity for the purpose of bringing speakers to the university and to San Antonio as a community outreach tool.

Ann Knoebel, director of conferences and special programs at Trinity, has been responsible for the program’s development since its inception. In partnership with the Office of the President, Knoebel is in charge of selecting and recruiting speakers.

“The most challenging part is finding a date when the hotel is available, when the speaker is available and a date that coincides with the president’s schedule,” Knoebel said.

With the existing format, Policy Maker attendees can be back in their offices by 9 a.m. following the breakfast.

People who have pre-registered arrive in the Tamayo Ballroom of the DoubleTree before the start of the breakfast at 7:30 a.m. They are greeted by the Trinity Student Ambassadors, who stay for the lecture and question-and-answer portion.

“It was a great experience. I saw Jon Huntsman and got to learn more about a subject that I previously did not know enough about. It was nice to sit and meet local area businessmen,” said senior Lucy Cevallos, a current ambassador.

With only two Policy Maker Breakfasts each semester, the caliber of speakers is high.

“I select speakers who have a timely topic, who are well known, who are real policy makers and who have strong opinions,” Knoebel said.

The first lecturer, Bill Bradley, is a national leader who has represented the United States in the Senate and in the Olympics, winning a gold medal in basketball in the 1964 Tokyo Games.

Bradley’s address is entitled “We Can All Do Better,” which is the name of his most recent nonfiction book. He will most likely draw on his experiences in the Senate, as an author, as a university professor and as the managing director of Allen & Company, LLC.

More than a month later, David Gergen will present “Eyewitness to Power: Leadership in America.” Gergen currently works as a professor of public service at the Harvard Kennedy School and acts as the director of its Center for Public Leadership. Prior to becoming a political analyst for CNN, Gergen worked as an adviser to four U.S. presidents, from Nixon to Clinton.

On February 21, Doris Kearns Goodwin will kick off the spring Policy Makers Breakfasts. Her talk is called “No Ordinary Time” and is based on her experiences as a world-renowned historian.

Since graduating from Colby College and later Harvard University, Goodwin has appeared on network television programs and has operated as an on-air consultant for PBS documentaries. Steven Spielberg will release a feature film based on her biopic of Abraham Lincoln, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” this upcoming November.

Concluding the 2012-2013 series is Mark Zandi, who is the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, a leading provider of economic research, analytical tools and data.

Zandi’s speech is entitled “Financial Shock: Could It Happen Again?” and will be a major pull for the San Antonio business elite that tend to frequent Policy Maker Breakfasts. Zandi continues to work as an adviser to policymakers and testifies in front of Congress regularly about financial reform.

The Policy Maker Breakfasts continue to be in high demand; all of this year’s ticket have sold out. Series tickets cost $150 and individual breakfasts cost $45. Tickets help with speakers’ travel and the cost of the breakfast.