One of my own officers told me I should not expect more than forty people to show up. Indeed, I was considered very optimistic when I stated my hope that fifty to sixty might drop by. Surely, Stanford students, already predominantly apathetic, and certainly some of the busiest college students in the United States, could not be bothered with the kick-off event of the Stanford Conservative Society, even if it included former Secretary of State George Shultz. But this was not the case: Despite previous obligations, students showed up in droves and rapidly overflowed our seats to such an extent that my officers were rushing to grab more – and still people were left standing. As I said, some expected forty. Seventy-eight came.
Now, that’s not to say the event was perfect. We showed up early to find that no chairs had been set up at all and that we were missing a podium. But through quick action, we were able to track down everything we needed in the valuable minutes that preceded the event. Mostly due to this lack of pre-preparation, the microphone failed to work, but I am glad to say that a reverential silence overtook the crowd as our featured speaker gave his compelling speech.
As I indicated in my introduction, we had the opportunity to present one of the preeminent statesmen of the 20th century, a rare conservative academic, and a Republican strategist. His long career has included a stint in the Marine Corps during World War II, three separate Cabinet positions under two Presidents, a vastly successful career in the private sector, and several jobs teaching at such venerable institutions as MIT, the University of Chicago, and certainly most hugely, Stanford University. Mr. Shultz has been the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, and currently is the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution. But perhaps most significantly to our audience, Mr. Shultz was the Secretary of State to President Ronald Reagan – for whom there continues to be a great deal of respect from America’s youth. I, for one, can attest to that insofar as I spent my 18th birthday on a pilgrimage to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library… and my experience there enhanced my already positive opinion of Mr. Shultz.
Bow tie and all, Shultz was a quiet man who held the crowd captive, and in the words of the Stanford Daily, fired up the conservative crowd. Equally able in recounting anecdotes from the Reagan Administration and discussing the policy issues that face the United States today, Shultz’s presence most certainly assured that his reputation is well-deserved.
And indeed, his opening anecdote, which recollected the successes over the years of groups of dedicated conservatives, is really the story that we hope to tell at the Stanford Conservative Society. That so many would show up for our kick-off event, and that such an eminent speaker would show up are tributes to what we hope to accomplish. We want to facilitate discussion and socializing – and ensure that our members are role models and agents of socialization. Over the next few weeks, we shall continue to grace the pages of the Stanford Review, recruit interested parties, and talk to as many people as possible. Our bottom line is simple: we want people to do three things. Be informed. Be yourself. Be conservative.
And next month we hope to continue our speaker series with Craig and Mary Romney, the co-chairs of Students for Mitt, and the son and daughter-in-law of Governor Mitt Romney, a leading Republican Presidential candidate. Bringing information and opportunity, the pair will talk about the campaign trail, the personal side of a Presidential candidate, and what can be done if one wishes. Be sure to check it out, and if you require more information, go ahead and visit our website at conservative.stanford.edu or email me, the President, at [email protected]. I look forward to talking to you!