Bernanke revisits GW as a guest lecturer
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke took a break from his day job Tuesday to revisit the academic life he led before coming to Washington a decade ago.
Shortly after noon, he stood before a class of George Washington University undergraduates and gave the first of four one-hour lectures on the Fed. Students gave him a round of applause when he arrived.
Most showed up a half-hour early. They were dressed better than usual in button-down shirts and slacks. There was a mix of nervous energy and excitement in a classroom that seats about 70 people. Some fidgeted and chatted quietly while anticipating their special guest lecturer.
“We have a chance to speak one on one with a guy who’s arguably one of the most important people in the world,” said Sameer Iqbal, a junior finance major. “He’s taking time out of his schedule to speak to 30 college kids? I think that’s awesome.”
The Tuesday lecture focused on U.S. central banking dating to the panics of the 19th century and early 20th century, which led to the Fed’s creation in 1913. The second lecture, on Thursday, involves the central bank’s actions after World War II.
In the final two, on March 27 and 29, Mr. Bernanke will review the roots of the 2008 financial crisis and the Fed’s response to the crisis and the recession that followed.
GW assembled the class of 30 from 80 applicants who wrote essays on what they hoped to learn from arguably the second-most-powerful U.S. official after President Obama.
For a Fed chief who has set new standards for public accessibility, the GW lecture series marks another first: None of Mr. Bernanke’s predecessors ever helped teach college students while serving as chairman.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke speaks at George Washington University on Tuesday. In doing so, he revisits the life of academia that he left a decade ago.