The New Albany Community Foundation presented Chris Matthews, New York Times bestselling author and host of MSNBC’s Hardball, as part of this season’s Jefferson Series lectures. Matthews spoke to central Ohio students in the afternoon and followed with an engaging evening lecture that included such lively audience participation that organizers needed to cut off questions.

Les Wexner, Chairman and CEO of L Brands, introduced Matthews, who was a late addition to the 2017-2018 Jefferson Series lineup. Wexner presented Matthews to the audience as “…a new friend of ours, a new friend of the community…somebody who is interested in the greater good, interested in giving his time and devoting a substantial part of his life to the public.”

During his afternoon with the student audience that included over 500 students from nine area high schools, Mathews implored students to take initiative with their own lives, telling them “Don’t say no to yourself”. He went on to say, “If you’re waiting for people to come to you and say ‘You gotta do this,’ they’re not coming. Nobody’s coming door-to-door asking ‘What are your dreams?’”

Matthews began the sold-out evening lecture saying “My life has been learning,” and he spent the next 75 minutes sharing his experiences and opinions on topics such as the Kennedys, his time as chief of staff for legendary Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill and as a presidential speechwriter, the leaders he respects most in Washington today and the future direction of the country. He also reflected on some of his most memorable career moments. “There was nothing better than flying around the country on Air Force One and writing words that you know will come out of the president’s mouth at the next stop,” said Matthews.

When asked by an audience member what gave him hope for the future, Matthews answered, “This country, of course. This country always rebuilt itself. It has always been resilient. America is a great country, and it’s magical in many ways.”