Close Encounters of the American Kind - Spring 2009 Ivy Leaf Magazine

Ivy Leaf - Spring 2009

Close Encounters of the American Kind

He’s dealt with aliens, killer sharks, and overly-needy psychiatric patients, unpopular presidents, and unfocused high school orchestra students. Of course, that was all on the big screen. These days, Academy- Award winning actor Richard Dreyfuss is dealing with a more real issue, and that’s America.

As part of Penn State Altoona’s Distinguished Speaker Series, Dreyfuss visited the college in November to present "Teaching Our Children How to Think, Not What to Think." Dreyfuss talked about the nation, patriotism, and civics, worrying that people have started to lose sight of who and what America is all about. He focused on wanting to bring civics classes back in schools to teach future generations how America was founded and how it should run. That way, according to Dreyfuss, they will understand the country and make better decisions regarding government issues. Dreyfuss stated that he does not want to pass onto children something that is "dirty," and "corrupt." Rather, he wants them to be smarter about what America is and for what it stands.

After the presentation, there was a brief question and answer session followed by a meet and greet. Dreyfuss also took time to autograph DVD copies of his movies. Students and community members packed the Adler gym and were pleased with the event and encouraged by the movie star’s concern and hope for the country’s future.