Thursday, November 12, 2009

The third Heritage Day was a great success and all who took part had a fun time. The topic was the history of the Mock Presidential Convention and civic participation at Ohio Wesleyan University. Dr. Craig Ramsay, Chair of the Politics and Government Department at Ohio Wesleyan, helped to guide the audience from the first Mock Convention in 1884 up through the next Mock Convention in 2012. Along this journey, various speakers came up to add insight and personal stories about what they remember from the Mock Convention and civic participation at Ohio Wesleyan. Benjamin F. Marsh, Class of 1950, spoke of Professor Ben Arneson, who had revived the Mock Convention in 1920 after a 28 years hiatus in holding the event. Jon Peterson, Class of 1976, and Dave Staley spoke of acting as chairs for various Mock Conventions over the years. Jon Peterson chaired many Republican conventions, while Dave Staley chaired many Democratic conventions. Jon Peterson also spoke of his father Art Peterson, who helped to run the Mock Convention as a professor at Ohio Wesleyan. Professor Joan McLean and Professor William Louthan discussed their memories of many of the recent conventions. Professor McLean has been the Faculty Advisor for the Mock Convention since 1996. Professor Louthan has been the Parliamentarian since 1972. Laura Hausman, Class of 1984, and Nicole Daily, Class of 2000, were members of the Mock Convention in 1984 and 2000, respectively. They spoke of their work and what they remember from the conventions. Laura Hausman was also able provide a unique perspective since she worked as the Faculty Advisor in 1992. Dan Sharpe, Class 2005, spoke of building the stage for the 2004 Mock Convention. All the speakers spoke of civic participation and how it is so crucial for everyone to be involved.

In addition to the speakers, a variety of other attractions were involved in the celebration. The a cappella group, The OWtsiders, entertained the audience with a variety of campaign songs that spanned the history of the Mock Convention. Songs ranged from Benjamin Harrison’s “He’s All Right” to Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can.” There was a slide show that included pictures of the speakers and items relating to the Mock Convention. Heritage Day intern Chris Potterton was responsible for the media presentation. There were even video clips from some of the later Mock Conventions. These include a mock interview Nicole Daily did with Steve Forbes from 2000 and Professor Louthan giving his “ Party of the People” speech from 2004. At the end of the celebration, members of the audience were asked so sign pledge cards to be civically engaged, just like Ben Arneson asked his students to do when he used to teach.