The Oberlin Review
<< Front page News February 24, 2006

Oberlin Alum, Steven Shapiro, Becomes Republican Benefactor
Steven Shapiro: Businessman returns to his alma mater to promote poitical diversity.

The buzz that Michelle Malkin’s recent lecture created on campus will be a recurring phenomenon, thanks to the collaboration between Oberlin alumnus Steven Shapiro, OC ’83, and the Oberlin College Republicans.

Malkin was the first speaker in the Ronald Reagan Lectureship Series, a series that began when College Senior and OC Republicans President Barry Garret proposed the idea to Shapiro. The series will bring one to two diverse speakers to Oberlin each semester.

Garret first got Shapiro’s name through the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs. Shapiro, currently an investment banker in New York City, had funded previous Oberlin speakers including New York Times columnist David Brooks and Reagan era economist Art Lather.

During a meeting with Shapiro, Garret presented ideas for speakers, the infrastructure of the OC Republicans and the club’s plans for the next few years.

“[My pairing with the OC Republicans] was a good fit for bringing out pretty conservative speakers to campus,” said Shapiro.

Shapiro and Garret now work in conjunction on the lectureship series. Garret and other club members actively seek out speakers and organize for the lectures.

“You really need someone on campus doing the legwork,” said Shapiro.

“[Garret] got publicity, lined things up and organized everything,” he said, referring to Malkin’s lecture.

With Shapiro’s support, the club can now afford to bring prominent speakers to campus.

“It helped us in the fact that we can do things that we wanted to do, and now we have the money,” said Garret.

Shapiro said in an interview with the Review that during his years at Oberlin, there was little ideological diversity on campus. “I thought it was pretty politically correct,” he said.

Shapiro said that he feels the speakers he is funding help make Oberlin a better place. “It’s important to have assumptions challenged,” he said. “It creates a more dynamic environment.”

Although some people suggested that the series be named after Shapiro, he said he felt this would limit the possibility of other alums participating. The series’s name was chosen because Reagan was president at the time Shapiro attended Oberlin.

“[The series’s name] seemed to capture the kinds of speakers coming here,” said Shapiro.

Shapiro, Garret and OC Republicans club members are busy planning who the next speaker will be. Shapiro plans to continue sponsoring the series indefinitely.

“As long as there’s appetite at the other end, I’m certainly more than happy to continue to contribute,” he said.


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