Harvard Students Speak Up: A Town Hall on Politics and Public Service


Associated Program:
John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum
Drew Gilpin Faust
Joe Scarborough
Mika Brzezinski
Office of the President

Introduction by
Drew Gilpin Faust
President of Harvard University

Featuring IOP Fall 2017 Visiting Fellows
Joe Scarborough
Co-host of MSNBC's “Morning Joe”
Author of the New York Times bestseller “The Last Best Hope”, “Rome Wasn’t Burnt in a Day” and “The Right Path”
United States House of Representatives  (1994 -2001)
Mika Brzezinski
Co-host of MSNBC’s "Morning Joe”
Founder, “Know Your Value” movement
Author of best-selling books, “All Things At Once”, “Knowing Your Value” and “Obsessed: America’s Food Addiction and My Own”

Moderated by
John Della Volpe
Director of Polling, Institute of Politics, Harvard Kennedy School
Founder and CEO, SocialSphere, Inc

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” joined moderator John Della Volpe, director of polling at the IOP, for a Harvard student town hall on politics, public service, and the state of the nation. The town hall discussed student feelings about the direction of the country, current anxieties, and ways to bridge the gap in understanding between differing voting blocs and across the political aisle.

Speaker Bios

Drew Gilpin Faust is the 28th president of Harvard University and the Lincoln Professor of History in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

As president of Harvard, Faust has expanded financial aid to improve access to Harvard College for students of all economic backgrounds and advocated for increased federal funding for scientific research. She has broadened the University's international reach, raised the profile of the arts on campus, embraced sustainability, launched edX, the online learning partnership with MIT, and promoted collaboration across academic disciplines and administrative units as she guided the University through a period of significant financial challenges.

A historian of the Civil War and the American South, Faust was the founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, guiding its transformation from a college into a wide-ranging institute for scholarly and creative enterprise, distinctive for its multidisciplinary focus and the exploration of new knowledge at the crossroads of traditional fields.

Previously, Faust served as the Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a member of the faculty for 25 years.

Raised in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, Faust went on to attend Concord Academy in Massachusetts. She received her bachelor's degree from Bryn Mawr College in 1968, magna cum laude with honors in history, and her master's degree (1971) and doctoral degree (1975) in American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania.

She is the author of six books, including "Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War" (University of North Carolina Press, 1996), for which she won the Francis Parkman Prize in 1997. Her most recent book, "This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War" (Alfred A. Knopf, 2008), looks at the impact of the Civil War's enormous death toll on the lives of 19th-century Americans. It won the Bancroft Prize in 2009, was a finalist for both a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize, and was named by The New York Times one of the "10 Best Books of 2008."  "This Republic of Suffering" is the basis for a 2012 Emmy-nominated episode of the PBS American Experience documentaries titled "Death and the Civil War," directed by Ric Burns.

Faust has been a trustee of Bryn Mawr College, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the National Humanities Center, and she serves on the educational advisory board of the Guggenheim Foundation. She has served as president of the Southern Historical Association, vice president of the American Historical Association, and executive board member of the Organization of American Historians and the Society of American Historians. Faust has also served on numerous editorial boards and selection committees, including the Pulitzer Prize history jury in 1986, 1990, and 2004.

Her honors include awards in 1982 and 1996 for distinguished teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. She was elected to the Society of American Historians in 1993, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994, and the American Philosophical Society in 2004.

Faust is married to Charles Rosenberg, one of the nation's leading historians of medicine and science, who is the Ernest E. Monrad Research Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard. Faust and Rosenberg have two daughters, Jessica Rosenberg, a 2004 summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College, and Leah Rosenberg, Faust’s stepdaughter, a scholar of Caribbean literature.

Joe Scarborough is the host of “Morning Joe,” which TIME magazine calls “revolutionary” and the New York Times has ranked as the top news program. The show has been called “the thinking viewer’s choice” by USA Weekend and “an important wake-up call for political and media leaders” by the Associated Press. Previously, Joe hosted “Scarborough Country” on MSNBC, a primetime news show The San Francisco Chronicle called “must-see TV.”

Joe has been named to the prestigious “TIME 100” list of the world’s most influential people while Joe and his co-host Mika Brzezinski have been named to Vanity Fair’s list of top power players in the media. A recent Vanity Fair profile called Scarborough the most influential Republican in America in the 2016 election cycle.

Joe is also the author of the New York Times bestseller “The Last Best Hope” and bestsellers “Rome Wasn’t Burnt in a Day” and “The Right Path.” “Rome Wasn’t Burnt in a Day” correctly predicted the collapse of the Republican majority and the U.S. economy due to reckless spending.

Joe was the publisher and editor of the award-winning newspaper the Florida Sun.

Scarborough served as a member of Congress from 1994 to 2001. While in office, he was a member of the Judiciary, Armed Services, Government Reform and Oversight, and the Education Committee. He was also part of a small group of young Republican congressmen called the “New Federalists” who were said to possess a surprising amount of power given their youth and lack of years in Congress by the National Journal.

He graduated from the University of Alabama and from the University of Florida School of Law. He lives in Connecticut with his four children. 

Mika Brzezinski is the co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and the author of three best-selling books.  Her memoir All Things At Once became a New York Times best seller in January 2010.  Her second book, Knowing Your Value, which examines the role of women in the workplace, reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for business books in 2011. Her third book, Obsessed: America’s Food Addiction and My Own, debuted on the bestseller list in spring of 2013.  In 2015, Mika released Grow Your Value, which is a sequel to Knowing Your Value and explores the intersection between self-fulfillment, family, and career. Most recently, Mika, along with host Joe Scarborough, was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame.

In 2014, Mika partnered with NBCUniversal to produce events based on Knowing Your Value throughout the country.  Know Your Value is a nationwide effort focused on empowering women to express their worth in business and in life.  Through these events, Mika will provide tangible, relatable advice that will support all women – at all ages and stages of their careers.

Prior to joining MSNBC in January of 2007, Mika was an anchor of CBS Evening News Weekend Edition and a CBS News correspondent who frequently contributed to CBS Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes. She reported live from Lower Manhattan for CBS News during the September 11, 2001 attacks.

A native of New York City, Mika is the daughter of Foreign Policy Expert and Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.  She is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and a Williams College alum. 

John Della Volpe is Director of Polling at the Institute of Politics and has been affiliated with the IOP since the late 1990’s. Each semester, John leads a public opinion survey group of students who develop, field and report on the attitudes of young Americans (Millennial Generation) toward politics and public service. Since 2000, the IOP survey has tracked pre- and post-9/11 attitudes; accurately predicted youth turnout since; marked the generational shift in attitudes toward foreign policy; and provided insight into the ways in which Millennials communicate and form opinions. John was honored to receive an Eisenhower Fellowship (China, Korea) in 2008 and selected as a delegate to the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission on Media in 2011. In addition, John is Founder and CEO of SocialSphere, Inc. a big data and social media analytics company located in Harvard Square, Cambridge.