I thought of Michelle Obama a couple of nights ago as I watched Ben Shapiro speak at Stephens Auditorium on the Iowa State University campus on Thursday, April 28.
His topic was the effect of wokeness on American culture.
In Feb. 2008, Michelle Obama told an audience at a Wisconsin presidential primary event, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country because it feels like hope is making a comeback … not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."
At the Shapiro event, for the first time in my adult life, I felt really proud of my alma mater Iowa State University because, similar to Mrs. Obama, I also feel like hope is making a comeback. I think the audience showed a hunger for change.
I have a triple connection to Iowa State. As a student, I collected an undergraduate and master’s degree. More recently, I taught at Iowa State after a successful career in corporate business, retiring as a Professor of Practice from the Iowa State College of Business. My experience with Iowa State spans about 50 years.
The audience at the Shapiro event was respectful and appreciative. No demonstrations or cancel culture shout downs. I was surprised the event was allowed to take place. I expected the administration to create a false claim to derail it. And to their credit, they did not.
I feared the Q&A period would devolve into a demonstration of disdain for ideas that diverge from university groupthink. I was relieved the event avoided another 2014 national Veishea embarrassment for ISU. The auditorium has 2602 seats and was packed. The line outside was blocks long.
Many were turned away, but I doubt you will not hear this reporting from local faux news sources.
“Hopeful change.” The Shapiro audience was another sign that that positive change is on the way.
Dan Malliet is a retired professor of practice at the Ivy College of Business and an Iowa State alum.