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Whitworth Welcomes PBS Host and Bestselling Co-Author Alexander Heffner

September 28, 2022

Whitworth University’s English and history departments along with Speakers & Artists are pleased welcome Alexander Heffner, host of The Open Mind on PBS and co-author of the bestselling A Documentary History of the United States, on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. in Weyerhaeuser Hall’s Robinson Teaching Theatre.  

Heffner will discuss the state of democracy in America today and the effects of divisiveness on discourse, campaigns and governance, as well as the influence of new media, dis/misinformation and filter bubbles that polarize American society. 

Bert Emerson, associate professor of English and director of the George F. Whitworth Honors Program, invited Heffner to speak and says his work in media and politics combined with the new edition of his book provides him with a distinct perspective on the state of U.S. democracy.

“His visit will appeal to students and community members across a range of disciplinary perspectives, Emerson says. “It will add a new dimension to Whitworth University’s ongoing conversations about civil discourse.”

Heffner has covered American culture, politics and civic life since the 2008 presidential campaign. He co-authored A Documentary History of the United States with his grandfather, Richard Heffner, the creator and first host of The Open Mind. Heffner will discuss the 11th edition of their book, which has been updated with a new chapter on the COVID-19 pandemic and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Heffner is the recipient of Johns Hopkins University’s Agora Institute Fellowship, University of Denver’s Anvil of Freedom Award, Franklin Pierce University’s Fitzwater Medallion for Leadership in Public Communication, and Yale University’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism. 

Heffner’s work has appeared in publications like Time magazine, The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor. He has given lectures at the National Constitution Center, the Museum of American Finance, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum, the Civil Discourse Lab at the University of New Hampshire, and the Center for Constitutional Democracy at Marshall University.

This event is free and open to the public. Learn more about Alexander Heffner here

About Whitworth University:

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or