Just a Typical Tuesday: 8 Speakers, 3 Events


The day began with a morning talk with a U.S. senator discussing details of the upcoming midterm elections and ended in the evening with a top executive of the world’s second-largest retail company explaining the intricacies of his job. In between, a panel including two former White House appointees tackled the thorny topic of the handling of classified information. Just a typical day at the Schar School.

Sen. Bill Cassidy and Steven Pearlstein sit on stools in front of an audience in a room at Fenwick Library
Cassidy (l) and Pearlstein. Photo provided
  • U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) was the guest for Robinson Professor of Public Affairs Steven Pearlstein’s “First Tuesday” series, which took place at 9 a.m. at Fenwick Library’s Main Reading Room in Fairfax. Cassidy joined Pearlstein and students—many of them Schar School Democracy Lab Learning Community participants—for a discussion regarding November’s bellwether congressional elections; he also described his experience as a medical doctor serving the uninsured and detailed what led him to run for public office. The next “First Tuesday” guest is GOP media strategist (and Mason grad) Danny Diaz on Tuesday, September 27, also at 9 a.m. The speaker series is open to all. The complete schedule is here.
Four people sit in chairs on a stage in front of an American flag.
From left, Michael Morell, Mary DeRosa, John Fitzpatrick, and Larry Pfeiffer discuss what Top Secret means. Photo by Buzz McClain/Schar School of Policy and Government
  • Why does information become classified, and what does that mean? And what are the ramifications if classified material isn’t secured and falls into the wrong hands? Who better to answer those questions than Schar School Distinguished Visiting Professor Michael Morell, former acting director and deputy director of the CIA, and Larry Pfeiffer, director of the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security and former senior director of the White House Situation Room. They were joined at 7 p.m. in the Hayden Center’s first live event in two years—called “Keeping Secrets”—by former National Security Legal Adviser Mary DeRosa and chief security officer for Ball Aerospace and former White House senior director for records access and information security management John Fitzpatrick. Morell moderated the conversation which drew some 75 attendees to the auditorium at Van Metre Hall at Mason Square and 95 watching via livestream. Another 355 have watched it at the Hayden Center’s YouTube channel this week.
A woman in a white blouse smiles as a man in a dark jacket and white shirt in glasses speaks.
Schar School assistant professor Ally Coll, right, with Amazon general counsel David Zapolsky. Photo by Buzz McClain/Schar School of Policy and Government
  • At 7:30 p.m. undergraduates from the Schar School’s new Jurisprudence Learning Community, Mason’s Patriot Pre-Law program, and the Scalia Law School Business Law Society hosted senior vice president and general counsel of Amazon David Zapolsky at Hazel Hall at Mason Square. Schar School assistant professor of legal studies Ally Coll moderated a conversation in which Zapolsky described how it is to manage a team of thousands of in-house lawyers and how he goes about addressing complex legal issues while conducting international commerce.

    He also reflected on his own career path and gave advice to students about how to pursue their passions and find legal jobs that they will find both challenging and rewarding. His advice? Always be open to questioning the status quo, and don't assume something has to be done the way it's always been done in the past.