Brushes With Greatness
Over the years, student reporters covered their share of famous politicians. Quite early in its life, The University Weekly reported on the visit of former President William Howard Taft to Fayetteville in 1917. Taft, whom The Weekly described as a former Fayetteville resident, spoke at the Ozark Theatre about the war in Europe.
Often, whenever someone of political or cultural significance visited Fort Smith, The Traveler sent reporters or photographers to cover the event. In 1961, Johnny Woodruff photographed the visit of President John F. Kennedy. In 1970, Susan Leek and Ann Pride covered Vice President Spiro Agnew during his visit.
When Kennedy returned to the state for the dedication of Greers Ferry Dam in 1963, editor Marian Alford and photographer Johnny Woodruff covered the event. Kennedy praised the rapid strides being made by UA President David Mullins and expressed his hope that the U.S. Senate would pass a bill already approved by the House that would enable universities to use federal funding for construction of campus buildings.
At the end of the decade, Traveler staffers covered the visit by President Richard M. Nixon to the university campus to see a football game between Arkansas and Texas. Jimmy Carter came to speak at the university campus in 1975 prior to announcing he would seek the Democratic nomination for president. In 2000, on the eve of the election, Traveler staff members including Kristin Netterstrom, covering George W. Bush in his last campaign stop at Northwest Regional Airport before voting began the next morning.
The Traveler covered various appearances by Bill Clinton, from his first unsuccessful run for Congress when he was a UA law professor to his many recurring races for governor, his two successful bids for the U.S. presidency and, most recently, his return to campus for the dedication of the statue of the late Senator J. William Fulbright in 2002.
In 2004, staff members covered the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, which included coverage of four of five living presidents -- Clinton, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.
The University Weekly, November 14, 1917
The Arkansas Traveler, October 31, 1961
Ibid., October 4, 1963
Ibid., December 8, 1969
Ibid., October 9, 1970