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A healthy republic depends on active, engaged citizens who think critically and participate in civic life. At a point in history when citizens have ubiquitous access to information and, presumably, unfettered connection to one another via social media, more and more citizens talk past one another. Rather than striving to understand both sides of an argument and treating those we disagree with in a civil manner, many allow unfettered outrage to rule the day. Rather than cursing this darkness, Colorado Mesa University intends to light a candle in 2019 by continuing its effort to engage students, faculty and staff and the broader community in though-provoking events designed to spur critical thinking and, perhaps, challenge one another to engage with civility on issues big and small.

The CMU Civic Forum is committed to making engaging speakers, topics and institutions available to campus and the community at large on topics including: history, civic engagement, individual freedoms, equality, social justice and other current events. While the Initiative will continue partnering with outside groups, organizations and institutions to bring such events to campus, we will also look inward at the wealth of expertise and knowledge among faculty and staff members who may be interested in participating in some fashion. Whether it’s a lecture on Cicero or a conversation about being nice on Twitter, Colorado Mesa University faculty and staff have tremendous ability to make an impact on this project.


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Bob Silbernagel was the editorial page editor for The Daily Sentinel newspaper in Grand Junction for 19 years. He retired in 2014, but he continues to write a regional history column for the newspaper. He is the author of three books involving the history of western Colorado and eastern Utah. He also serves as an advisor to the CMU Criterion student newspaper and serves on the board of two non-profit groups. He enjoys horseback riding, bicycling, four-wheeling and camping. He and his wife, Judy, live near Palisade.


Stephen Woody was the publisher of community daily newspapers for 38 years in four distinctive small cities in Arizona, North Carolina, Colorado and Wyoming. The newspapers he published were cited five times by press associations and the Colorado Associated Press for general excellence. He gave presentations to newspaper groups, colleges and press associations regarding community newspaper management, news coverage, marketing, ethics and column writing. He is a member of the HopeWest hospice advisory board in Montrose. He enjoys jazz, books, baseball, and golf. Retiring at the end of 2017, he and his wife, Susan, live in Montrose.