By Jaci Schneider, Staff Writer
Peter Roussel, a former White House press secretary, visited campus Monday to speak at a luncheon cosponsored by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Pope Fellows and the Center for Building Community.
Roussel, now an author and commentator, spoke to students and members of the community about the relationship between the press and the president. He was press secretary for President Reagan and also worked for President Ford in the White House and President George H.W. Bush while Bush served in Congress. Roussel stayed after the luncheon to sign copies of his book, Ruffled Flourishes.
Roussel’s nephew attends ACU, and because he was already traveling for his book tour, Roussel called the Journalism Department and asked if he could speak to some of the classes, said Dr. Cheryl Bacon, chair of the department. She said the department decided it would like to have Roussel speak at a luncheon instead.
“It was too good of an opportunity for us to pass up,” Bacon said. “Any time we can have a speaker with his experience during an election year is an excellent opportunity for our students and community.”
Roussel spoke to students, professors and members of the community about some of his experiences in the White House and gave some tips on how to watch presidential campaigns.
He said his job as White House spokesman gave him knowledge of elections.
“I’ve seen a lot and learned a lot,” he said. “The White House press corps are the toughest, smartest, more aggressive reporters you’ll find anywhere in the world. It’s like being in the middle of a taffy pull every day.”
Roussel emphasized that spontaneous humor, the subject of his book, that occurs between the politicians and the press accomplishes more in politics than discussing over a conference table.
“I’m a great believer in humor as a universal language,” he said.
Several student groups attended the luncheon, including journalism majors, Pope Fellows, the Multicultural Council and the Love Your Neighbor As Yourself, or LYNAY, group.