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Senator Mark R. Warner to Join Nation’s Top Journalists and Scholars in Discussion of Trump’s

Charlottesville, VA— The Tom Tom Founders Festival, University of Virginia’s Miller Center, and Virginia Foundation for the Humanities’ popular American history podcast, “BackStory,” will convene  leading presidential scholars and journalists, as well as U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner, to weigh in on the current state of the great American experiment: democracy.

Innovations in Democracy: The First 100 Days of Trump” will will be held  April 13, 2017,  at 8 p.m. in Charlottesville’s Paramount Theater. General admission tickets are $20; student tickets are $10.

The three-part program will start with a  high-impact conversation featuring Mark R. Warner, U.S. Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Bill Antholis, director and CEO of the University of Virginia’s nonpartisan Miller Center. Warner and Antholis’ conversation will be followed by a panel discussion, presented by BackStory, on the “History of Media and the Presidency.” The event will close with a  discussion of “Trump at 100 Days,” presented by the Miller Center and featuring some of the nation’s leading journalists covering the White House.

Event speakers include:

  1. Mark Warner, United States Senator

  2. Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent, The New York Times

  3. Chris Cillizza, Journalist and Political Commentator, The Washington Post

  4. Bill Antholis, Director and CEO, Miller Center at UVA

  5. Ed Ayers, President Emeritus, University of Richmond

  6. Brian Balogh, Professor of History, University of Virginia

  7. Christa Dierksheide, Historian, Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello

  8. Russell Riley, Co-chair, Presidential Oral History Program, Miller Center at UVA

  9. Douglas A. Blackmon, Pulitzer Prize-winning Author; Host, American Forum, Miller Center at UVA

  10. Nicole Hemmer, Assistant Professor in Presidential Studies, Miller Center at UVA

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Senator Warner, along with so many other distinguished political experts, to our inaugural ‘Innovations in Democracy’ event,” says Festival director Paul Beyer.  “I can hardly think of a better time or place—Thomas Jefferson’s birthday and hometown—for such an event to occur, nor can I think of a more critical moment during which to examine the future of American democracy. We are grateful to the Miller Center and BackStory for their terrific partnership in helping to make this event happen, and we look forward to an enlightening evening of civic and political discourse with our outstanding guests and speakers.”

“Understanding where our democracy comes from and where it may be going is an obligation we all owe to each other—and to the nation as a whole,” added Bill Antholis, the Miller Center’s director. “Not only will this be an important evening, this lineup guarantees it will be lively and entertaining as well.”

“Innovations in Democracy” is part of the larger programming for the Founders Summit at the Tom Tom Founders Festival, which convenes today’s top innovators and entrepreneurs to share their founding stories. The Founders Summit, which runs April 13–15,  includes  keynote addresses from Kim Jordan (New Belgium Brewing Company), Anne-Marie Slaughter (New America) and Dave McClure (500 Startups).

For more information on “Innovations in Democracy” programming and guests, or to purchase tickets, please visit:

The Tom Tom Founders Festival is presented by the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, American Evolution, the Quantitative Foundation, and the i.Lab at UVA. It is also generously underwritten by a number of leading organizations, including the University of Virginia, Ting, C-Ville Weekly, New Belgium Brewing Company, and the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

About the Tom Tom Foundation and the Founders Festival

The Tom Tom Foundation is the nonprofit organization that hosts the annual Tom Tom Founders Festival. Supporting high-impact events throughout the year, the Foundation seeks to empower the innovators whose creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and dedication to community help ensure a better future for us all. Now in its sixth year, the action-packed Founders Festival is held during the week of April 13 (hometown hero Thomas Jefferson’s birthday) in Charlottesville, VA. Featuring outstanding local music, art, and food, as well as high-stakes startup competitions and high-impact conversations with business, entrepreneurial, and academic and civic leaders, the event attracted more than 38,000 attendees in 2016. Learn more at

About the Miller Center

The Miller Center is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia that specializes in presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history and strives to apply the lessons of history and civil discourse to the nation’s most pressing contemporary governance challenges. Learn more at

About BackStory and VFH

BackStory is a weekly podcast – a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) –available through iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and other popular podcatchers. Each week, Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, Nathan Connolly and Joanne Freeman explore the connections between the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries and the present. BackStory explores the history behind today’s headlines. VFH connects people and ideas to explore the human experience and inspire cultural engagement, reaching an estimated annual audience of 23 million through community programs, websites and digital initiatives, grants and fellowships, radio programs and podcasts, the Virginia Folklife Program, and the Virginia Center for the Book. To learn more, visit


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