The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Public Programs

Professor Wheelan on “The Rationing: A Novel about a Pandemic in the Time of a Pandemic”

On Wednesday, May 20th, 2020, students and community members tuned in once again to Rocky Watch, the Rockefeller Center’s series of virtual public policy broadcasts. The series welcomed Professor Charles Wheelan, a senior lecturer and policy fellow at the Rockefeller Center. Professor Wheelan’s recent fiction novel, The Rationing, came out just months prior to the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. In his lecture, entitled “The Rationing: A Novel about a Pandemic in the Time of a Pandemic,” Professor Wheelan discussed the unsurprising nature of the current pandemic, as well as other long-term public policy issues that we tend to neglect in favor of more pressing problems.

(Virtual) Recaps with Rocky: Watch Past Public Programs

With the continual and dangerous spread of COVID-19, staying home and social distancing are the safest options. Spend your newfound free time (virtually) recapping what’s been going on at Rocky. Great speakers and discussions came to Hanover just to engage with students, faculty, and the public. 

For those who are looking to scratch that public policy itch or are looking for something interesting to do with you time, there are a lot of great programs to watch! While the Rockefeller Center won’t be hosting any more in-person public events in the near future, catch up on old programs here. BUT be on the lookout for our new virtual public program series, Rocky Watch, coming soon to a screen near you!

Rocky Watch: A Series of Public Policy Discussions

Rocky Watch

Welcome to Rocky Watch: A Series of Public Policy Discussions! Each week in the Spring 2020 term we broadcast a live event with a public policy expert.


Missed a past Rocky Watch?

June 3rd, 2020

"Covid-19 and the Fate of Globalization"

Daniel Benjamin
Norman E. McCulloch Jr. Director
John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding
Dartmouth College

Co-sponsored by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center and the John Sloan Dickey Center

Keeping Up with the First-in-nation Primary

On the evening of February 11, 2020, students, faculty, and community members convened in the TV Lounge at the Collis Center for Student Involvement to watch and discuss coverage of the New Hampshire presidential primary. “Rocky’s Most-Watched Watch Party for Dartmouth Students,” co-sponsored by the Rockefeller Center and the Collis Governing Board, included opening remarks, a raffle for students who voted that day, and participation from ABC News Live, which covered the primary from Collis. As election results from around the state were processed, students and community members enjoyed pizza and discussed their thoughts and predictions on the potential victor. 

General Carter Ham discusses “War, Peace and Remembrance” over Veterans Day with the Rockefeller Center

On Tuesday, November 12th, 2019, General Carter Ham came to Dartmouth for an event co-sponsored by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center and the John Sloan Dickey Center titled “War, Peace and Remembrance.” During the event, Ham and Daniel Benjamin, the director of the Dickey Center, reflected on the meaning of Veterans Day and contemporary issues facing the U.S.military. 

General Ham, a United States Army Commander who served as the second Commander of the United States Africa Command, described himself as having grown up in an upper-middle class family with the expectation of going to college; however, he describes his time at university as “just not feeling right,” and one day choosing to enlist in the army instead. For Ham, this ignited a career that made him one of the few US army members to rise from the rank of private to general in the US army.  

Ned Helms, Tom Rath ‘67, and Andrew Smith Preview a Packed Primary Season

On January 22, 2020, in a discussion moderated by Senior Lecturer and Policy Fellow Charles Wheelan, panelists Ned Helms, Tom Rath ‘67, and Andrew Smith sought to provide students and visitors at the Rockefeller Center with a preview to the 2020 New Hampshire presidential primary, set for February 11. As seasoned experts in the local and national political sphere, Helms, Rath, and Smith each used their diverse experiences in campaign work and analysis to draw connections to past elections, describe modern-day campaign challenges, and explain why New Hampshire has become such a critical state in our national election cycle. 

The Journey of an Anti-Apartheid Lawyer in Namibia – Justice David Smuts

Before he became Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Namibia, Justice David Smuts played a key role in dismantling the apartheid system in Namibia. On October 14th, 2019, Justice Smuts gave a lecture at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center, co-sponsored by the Department of English and Creative Writing. During the lecture, entitled “Dark Days to a Brighter Future,” Justice Smuts reflected on his experience with social justice and apartheid and read passages from his memoir, Death, Detention, and Disappearance: One Lawyer’s Battle to hold Power to Account in 1980’s Namibia. 

Tom Burack ’82 Delivers Perkins Bass Distinguished Lecture

Environmental attorney, 2019 Perkins Bass Distinguished Visitor and former Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Tom Burack ’82 arrived at the Rockefeller Center on Oct. 23, 2019 to deliver a talk, “Courageous Government: The Audacity of Collaborative Leadership,” about the importance of collaborative leadership in devising and implementing public policy. “It is only by working together, by collaborating in our efforts to find solutions, that we will find durable and lasting solutions that really allow us to address the big challenges that face us today,” Burack said.

During his time as the Perkins Bass Distinguished Visitor, in addition to speaking to the Rockefeller Center, Burack has visited public policy classes, participated in a panel at the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society, and even performed Daniel Webster’s acclaimed peroration in a reenactment of the famous Supreme Court case Dartmouth College v. Woodward

Mariame Kaba Advocates for Transformation of the Criminal Justice System

On Tuesday, October 8, 2019, community organizer, educator, and prison abolitionist Mariame Kaba spoke in Filene Auditorium. Her talk, “Free Them All: Defending the Lives of Criminalized Survivors of Violence,” emphasized what she considers the tragic flaws in the United States criminal justice system by highlighting how its laws and legal systems structurally disadvantage some groups based on gender and race. 

Kaba grew up in New York City in the 1970s and 80s in what she called a “political family.” Her father was active in anticolonialism in Guinea and “was always talking about politics in some sort of way.” While still in high school, she began working in anti-police brutality work, and in college became active in the anti-apartheid movement at McGill University. “I’ve been working on the issues that I’ve cared about since I was a teenager to this day,” she said. 

Rather than focusing on broad negative trends in the criminal justice system, Kaba opted to drive home her point by focusing on the story of how the criminal justice system impacted one girl, Bresha Meadows. 

Bringing the World to Dartmouth

Each year, the Rockefeller Center hosts a robust agenda of public programs to complement students’ learning. These programs offer a close look at public policy and policymaking through the lens of public officials, distinguished scholars, political figures, journalists and other civically engaged leaders and activists. Invited guests serve as an important part of the educational experience for students by often taking the time to visit classes while on campus. During these interactions, they expose students to career experiences, sharing insights and perspectives from their fields.

“The public programs build on the material I learn in my classes, and provide enriching examples of the real-life implications of theoretical studies. I have been surprised by the level of access I have had to famous writers, prominent activists and policymakers, who sit down with us over lunch or dinner and share their experiences and expert knowledge,” says Olivia Bewley ’19.


The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences