Benjamin F. Marsh ’50 endowed the Benjamin F. Marsh Lecture on Public Affairs. In doing so he encouraged others to follow his path and choose to devote a portion of time to active participation in public affairs. Through exposure to lectures by officials, researchers and academics from a wide range of governmental entities and non-profit organizations, students at Ohio Wesleyan University will come to appreciate their need to give back.

        The 2020 Marsh Lecture  

7 PM September 16, 2020, via Zoom
with Registration Required

Fear and Loathing in the 2020 Election

Rachel Bitecofer

Guest Speaker: Rachel Bitecofer, elections researcher and public policy expert

Bitecofer, Senior Fellow, Niskanen Center, former professor and assistant director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University in Virginia, says negative partisanship is fueling the American people and influencing the 2020 election. Negative partisanship is the idea that voters form their political opinions based on disliking the other party.

As part of her analysis, Bitecofer created an election-forecasting model that predicted the 2018 midterms five months before they occurred – far ahead of other forecasting models. In it, she argued that American elections have become increasingly nationalized and highly predictable with partisanship serving as an identity-based, dominant vote determinant for all but a small portion of Americans.

Register for the virtual Marsh Lecture

Previous Lectures

Academic Year Lecturer(s) Lecture Information
2018-19 Jonathan T. Overpeck “Global Climate Change, Water Security and Ecosystem Disruption: Higher Scientific Confidence Than You Might Think”
Interdisciplinary climate scientist, professor of environmental education, and dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan
2017-18 David C. Colby ’67 “Health Policy:  Addressing the Challenges We Face”
Vice President of Policy, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Retired)
2016-17 The Honorable Susan Phillips Read ’69 “Judicial Personae: Thoughts on the Wellsprings of Appellate Judging”
Judge, New York State Court of Appeals (New York’s Highest Court) – retired; Greenberg Traurig, LLP as Of Counsel; Albany and New York Offices; University of Chicago School of Law, ’72
2015-16 Sean Trende “Why Trump? Why Now?”
Sean Trende is the Senior Elections Analyst for RealClearPolitics. He is the author of The Lost Majority: Why the Future of Government Is Up for Grabs and Who Will Take It, and co-author of Almanac of American Politics.
2014-15 Morris P. Fiorina “Unstable Majorities, Polarization, and the Contemporary American Electorate” – 03/25/2015
Wendt Family Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution. He received an undergraduate degree from Allegheny College (1968) and a Ph.D.
2013-14 Michel L. Swers “Women in the Club: Gender and Policy-Making in the Senate” – 03/20/2014
Associate Professor of American Government, Georgetown University.
2012-13 Valerie Martinez-Ebers “Who Are These Immigrants? What Do We Do About Them?” – 4/16/2013
Professor of Political Science at the University North Texas, former Vice President of the American Political Science Association, and former President of the Western Political Science Association.
2011-12 Linda Killian “The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents” – 03/06/2012
Washington Journalist; Senior Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Director, Boston University Washington Center; Boston University Professor of Journalism.
2010-11 Paul A. Beck “Obama and the Tea Party: Unsettled American Politics in a Polarized Era” – 03/16/11
Distinguished Professor of Social and behavioral Sciences at The Ohio State University.
2009-10 Andrew Revkin “The Energy Quest” – 10/22/2009
Environmental reporter for The New York Times
2008-09 Jeffrey E. Cohen “Prospects for Presidential leadership in the Early 21st Century: The Obama Case” – 02/03/2009
Professor of Political Science at Fordham University and Visiting Senior Research Scholar at The Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton
Mitchell A. Seligson “Challenges of Democracy: A View from the Americas Barometer, 2008” – 03/18/2009
Centennial Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University; Founder and Director, Latin American Public Opinion Project
2007-08 Bruce Katz “Metro Nation: How the United States is Changing and What it Means for National Policy and Politics” – 09/25/2007
Vice president and Director, Metropolitan Policy Program and The Adeline M. and Alfred I. Johnson Chair in Urban and Metropolitan Policy at The Brookings Institution
2006-07 Jeffrey Rosen “The U.S. Supreme Court: Why Personality and Temperament Matter” – 02/25/2007
Professor of Law, The George Washington University Legal Affairs Editor, The New Republic
2005-06 Sara (Gebhart) Ott ’00
Regan Parsons ’92
Susan (Berton) Sherman ’88
“Cities in the 21st Century” – 03/23/2006
Panel of City Managers/Assistant Managers, Moderated by Thomas Homan, City Manager, City of Delaware
David M. O’Brien “The New U.S. Supreme Court” – 03/30/2006
Leone Reaves and George W. Spicer Professor, specializing in judicial politics and public law at the University of Virginia
2004-05 Paul C. Light “The Incredible Shrinking Presidency: The Prospect for Legacy in the Bush Second Term” – 03/28/2005
Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service, Wagner School of Public Service, New York University.  For additional information contact the Department of Politics & Government
2003-04 No lecture in 2003-04
2002-03 Lawrence Baum “Supreme Court in American Politics” – 10/02/2002
Professor, Political Science, Ohio State University, Author
2001-02 Millie Jeffrey “The Secret to Change” – 03/26/2002
Social Justice Activist, Political Leader, Presidential Medal of Freedom Winner, OWU Honorary Doctor of Humanities (1997)
2000-01 John Kessel “President Bush’s Beginning” – 04/26/2001
Author, Presidential Scholar

Benjamin Marsh Biography

Benjamin Marsh ’50

Mr. Marsh’s own career included a number of activities which made him an excellent role model for all those interested in public service. He traced his interest in civic affairs back to his undergraduate days when students signed pledge cards committing them to be active citizens in the life of the community. Mr. Marsh served in the U.S. Navy (1945-1946) and as Personnel Officer of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (1950-54). After obtaining his law degree from George Washington University, he returned to the Toledo area to practice. Along the way he served as the Solicitor for the City of Maumee, a member of the Lucas County Board of Elections, President of the Ohio Municipal League, President of the Lucas County/Maumee Valley Historical Society and President of the Maumee Chamber of Commerce.

Benjamin Marsh was called by U.S. Presidents and federal agencies to undertake international assignments, including being an Elections Supervisor in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1997-98, a member of the U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission from 1990-1994, a member of U.S. National Commission for UNESCO from 1969-1975, and a delegate to the 17th General Conference of UNESCO in 1972.

In addition, he was very active in Republican Party activities in Ohio and nationally. This included running for the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio’s 9th District in 1968, chairing the Lucas County Republican Party in 1973-74, serving as Co-Chairman of the Ohio Steering Committee for Bush for President in 1988 and serving as a Bush At Large delegate to the 1988 Republican National Convention.

Mr. Marsh was a Past Commander of American Legion Toledo Post #335 and a former member and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Medical College of Ohio. He was a National Chairman of the Ohio Wesleyan University Alumni Association. In 2000 he was awarded an Ohio Wesleyan University Distinguished Achievement Citation and was listed several times in Who’s Who. Mr. Marsh served as a member and Chairman of the Ohio Elections Commission from 2001-2007. In addition, he was member of the Board of Directors of the Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services Foundation.

Mr. Marsh continued to practice law with the firm of Marsh McAdams Ltd. in Maumee, Ohio, until he passed away in 2014. His passing was a great loss to the Toledo area and to the Ohio Wesleyan community.