The event will help kick off American Solutions’ national campaign that reaches out to activists, volunteers and government officials in identifying and solving problems facing America.
Gingrich, a Republican, is the former speaker of the U.S. House and a history professor at West Georgia College. He is also a possible presidential candidate.
According to Jerry Mock, the UWG interim vice president for business and finance, the university so far has had one meeting with the organization about renting the school’s Education Center for a presentation by Gingrich, which is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 29. Although the exact time of the event has not been set yet, Mock said that it will probably begin around noon or 1 p.m. and will end about 3 p.m.
“Right now, we are still waiting on his staff to get back with us in terms of the nature of the production they want to do,” he said.
“He’s going to talk about the basic problems facing the country,” said Dr. Mel Steely, the director of Georgia’s Political Heritage Center at UWG and friend of Gingrich. “He’s also going to get feedback from individuals as to what they see as the basic problems - whether it’s integration, the war in Iraq, stem cell research or whatever it may be.”
The workshop, which is not affiliated with UWG, will be fed over the Internet and possibly be covered by the cable television station C-SPAN. Representatives with American Solutions are not sure how many people will attend the event, which will be housed on the Education Center’s first-floor, said Mock. However, he estimates that there will be approximately 500 or more visitors.
“The attendance depends on their effort to promote the event and how many people they are trying to get here,” he said. “We also are hoping that it will interest our students, who may want to come to participate. But it is the same day as homecoming, so that will be a challenge, too.”
West Georgia will be charging the organization for holding its event, but Mock said the university is still working out the costs, which will depend on whether the group needs security personnel on hand or any other technical support for Gingrich’s presentation.
American Solutions is a grassroots organization that attempts to eliminate partisanship gridlock, transform a highly decentralized country and “create a wave of change that meets America’s challenges, seizes our opportunities and builds a better future for all Americans,” according to the group’s Web page.
On Sept. 27, the 13th anniversary of Gingrich’s unveiling of the “Contract With America,” American Solutions is hosting a workshop by Gingrich at its first annual “Solutions Day” in Atlanta.
Gingrich, the former U.S. speaker of the House, has close ties with the University of West Georgia. He was a history professor - when the school was West Georgia College - for six years before heading the new Environmental Studies Program for four years. He last visited the university in August of 2006 to take part in an introduction for a television program detailing aspects of higher learning.
Steely and Mock an appearance by Gingrich should be a real boost to the university by giving it national exposure.
“He’s always had a very strong feeling for West Georgia,” said Steely. “West Georgia started him in his career teaching and served as a base for him to work from when he was in politics.”