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Common Ground

Common Ground is a forum where speakers discuss contemporary issues and model respectful dialogue from different perspectives

Common Ground

Spring 2020

As part of its continuing Common Ground speaker series, Hamilton is presenting three programs this semester. All programs are free and open to the public.

Wednesday, Jan. 29

Affirmative Action Panel
Julie Park, University of Maryland; Richard Banks, Stanford Law School; Genevieve Bonadies Torres, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights; Jason Riley, The Wall Street Journal; moderator Julie Vultaggio, Harvard University
Panel discussion: “Affirmative Action: Support, Critiques, and What’s Lost in the Discussion”

Panelists included:

  • Rick Banks (professor of law at Stanford Law School and author of Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone)
  • Julie Park (associate professor of education at the University of Maryland and author of  Race on Campus: Debunking Myths with Data
  • Jason Riley (member of The Wall Street Journal editorial board)
  • Genevieve Bonadies Torres (counsel for the Educational Opportunities Project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights)
  • Moderator: Julie Vultaggio (associate dean for strategic academic initiatives at Harvard University)

Tuesday, Feb. 11

John Vecchione ’86 and Philip Klinkner
John Vecchione ’86, principal and member of John J. Vecchione, PLLC; and Philip Klinkner, Hamilton College
Panel discussion: “Impeachment Pro and Con”
  • Philip Klinkner (James S. Sherman Professor of Government at Hamilton College)
  • John Vecchione ’86 (principal and member of John J. Vecchione, PLLC)

Thursday, March 12 (Canceled)

Christine Romer, Greg Mankiw, and Ann Owen
Christina Romer, University of California, Berkeley; Greg Mankiw, Harvard University; and moderator Ann Owen, Hamilton College
Panel discussion: “Income Inequality: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Responses”
  • Greg Mankiw (professor of economics at Harvard University and former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers in the George W. Bush administration)
  • Christina Romer (professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration)
  • Moderator: Ann Owen (Henry Platt Bristol Professor of Economics at Hamilton College and former economist for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors)


The goal is for the speakers to model the kind of respectful dialogue across political boundaries that should occur not just on college campuses, but in the broader society as well. With capable speakers on both sides of a given issue, each willing to acknowledge strengths in the position of the other speaker, we aim to encourage students and other audience members to question their own assumptions and consider carefully the evidence and arguments supporting other viewpoints.

DAVID WIPPMAN — Hamilton President

In October 2017, political rivals David Axelrod and Karl Rove met at Hamilton College as part of a new series called Common Ground. The series has also paired Condoleezza Rice and Susan Rice, Mike Dubke ’92 and Marc Elias ’90, and Jim Messina and Reince Priebus.

Common Ground is supported by the Pohl family in honor of Hamilton graduates Arthur, Class of 1914, Harold, Class of 1915, Leland, Class of 1917, Harold ’50, George ’51 and David ’54 in recognition of their affection for the College and their long association with the Central New York region.

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More Opportunities for Dialogue

Common Ground on the Ground

In September 2019, Hamilton President David Wippman announced that the College has received funding to supplement the series with a new pilot program called “Common Ground on the Ground.”

Contact Information

College Events & Scheduling

Hamilton College
198 College Hill Rd.
Clinton, NY 13323
315-859-4243 315-859-4166 collegeevents@hamilton.edu

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