Ripon College senior (now alumnus) Willie Penterman asks a question during Sunday’s forum.
Ripon College senior (now alumnus) Willie Penterman asks a question during Sunday’s forum.

   It’s not often that news consumers get to ask prominent television anchors the tough questions.

   But that’s what a few Ripon College seniors got to do Sunday morning, a few hours before they crossed the stage and became alumni instead of students.

   During an annual brunch forum in the college’s Pickard Commons, questions on civil discourse, journalism and the future of the United States were thrown at commencement speaker Judy Woodruff, the anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour.”

   Also participating in the forum were state Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, who received the college’s Founders’ Day award as well as an honorary degree; former Ripon Area School District Superintendent Richard Zimman, who received a Distinguished Educator Award from the college; and Ripon College President Zach Messitte, who moderated the forum.

   Messitte told the audience that he used to write questions for Woodruff when the pair worked together at CNN. “Now the tables are turned,” he said.

   In addition to Messitte’s question, a handful of graduating seniors were allowed to question the panel as well.

   Read the panel's thoughts on civil discourse, the future of the country and more in the May 17, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.