Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

In 1974, Richard Nixon became the only United States President in American history to resign from office. It was not without cause that Nixon stepped down, as his involvement in illicit and unethical activities drew negative press for nearly two years prior to his resignation. However, without the unrelenting investigative journalism work of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the American people might never have known the extent to which Nixon exploited the power of his office.
On Nov. 1, West Chester University was lucky enough to host Bob Woodward for a two-part presentation in which he addressed an excited audience in Phillips Memorial Building. Woodward’s presentation focused on his most recently published book, The Price of Politics, in which he describes interactions between President Obama and the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties. Eighteen months of interviews with the president and party leadership allowed Woodward to share firsthand interactions with the most powerful individuals in America. In particular, he discussed the importance of leadership and the negative impact a lack of relationship-building has had on the gridlock in Washington and our nation’s continued economic troubles.
The evening provided much in terms of laughter and insight into the current political struggle, but lessons of leadership seemed to be a major takeaway.
“Woodward’s sentiments on leadership were very impactful,” West Chester freshman Sam Stalford said. “His words about how leaders must be honest and flexible, and his focus on communication and teamwork really stuck with me.”
Woodward’s points proved germane for students interested in becoming campus leaders. Speculation on the troubles in Washington can be heard everywhere, but for someone so close to the turmoil to share a clear explanation of lacking communication and leadership added a level of relevance to the message.
In the hours preceding the event, students from the Honors College gathered for a screening of All the President’s Men, the critically acclaimed film focusing on Woodward’s reporting on Nixon. The general feeling following the night was that the movie provided a clear context for the presentation.
“If I hadn’t seen the movie beforehand, the presentation would not have been as valuable,” said first-year student Devon Stroup. “It provided a lot of background on Bob Woodward and the role he played in the Watergate reporting.”
Another student, Evan Marabella, thought the movie helped connect Woodward’s work in his early career with the experiences he shared with the audience.
“The film really showed the benefits of persistence and hard work. Woodward’s determination has helped him achieve so many great things and provided an incredible sense of credibility,” said Marabella.
Through Woodward’s unique experiences with the leaders of the United States and eye-opening lessons on leadership, students and community members were treated to a night they will not soon forget. The President’s Speaker Series will continue next semester, as West Chester University will be hosting another acclaimed news personality and “Living Legend” as determined by the Library of Congress, Cokie Roberts. She will be speaking on campus on Mar. 7. If Bob Woodward’s presentation is any indication, students are in for another treat.
Christopher Whittall is a second-year student majoring in accounting and finance. He can be reached at

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