An alumnus contribution made to the Dean’s Fund of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LA&S) is bringing Ambassador Dennis Ross, a former special assistant to President Obama for the Middle East, to New Paltz as the spring Distinguished Speaker.
Howard Goldblatt, a 1973 graduate and LA&S advisory board member, made a gift pledge that will go toward bringing Ross and other LA&S speakers to New Paltz in the next five years.
The lecture, “Challenges for American Foreign Policy in the Middle East,” will take place on April 16, 2013. James Schiffer, dean of the College of LA&S, said a question and answer session following the lecture will be moderated by the 2013 Ottaway Professor of Journalism, Deborah Amos. Schiffer said Amos’ Ottaway lecture, also on the Middle East, will take place on April 18.
“I find [Ross] to be a very cogent speaker, someone who gets at the key issues of one of the most difficult political and diplomatic places in the world,” Goldblatt said. “He’s able to translate that to those of us who only have passing understanding or knowledge of what’s going on.”
Goldblatt is currently working as director of government affairs for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud in Washington, D.C. Goldblatt said he reflects on his experience at New Paltz as being a “diving board” that helped him jump into his career.
“I look back at my time at New Paltz as an awakening,” he said. “It broadened my view of what I saw out in the world.”
Goldblatt said he is supporting future speakers to enhance students’ education.
“Last year, when I came up for the advisory board…I attended the Ottaway lecture and found it to be an enthralling discussion,” he said. “I remember going to lectures as a student. It really helps expand a student’s knowledge base, hearing about someone with an expertise talking about something that has a direct impact on what they might be interested in.”
Schiffer stressed the value of alumni contributions like Goldblatt’s.
“When alumni give back to the college, it really benefits everyone,” he said. “Obviously [Goldblatt] got a lot from his New Paltz education and he is being very generous in turn, and I hope a talk by Ambassador Ross or Deborah Amos might inspire an undergraduate now one day to give back generously as well to [the] college. It’s kind of a circle of generosity.”