75th Anniversary Event Raises $425,000 and Makes Hundreds of Worldwide Headlines
Westminster College was front and center before an international audience earlier this month as media from across the country and around the world covered the 75th anniversary of a speech that forever linked the words “Westminster,” “Fulton,” “Churchill,” and “Iron Curtain.”
Newspapers, radio and television stations, and cable networks in the United States, England, Ireland, Czechoslovakia, Russia, and other nations produced nearly 400 known news and feature stories, reaching as many as 400 million readers/viewers/listeners worldwide.
The coverage also includes nearly 104 million social media impressions and 6,130 individual engagements, a record for Westminster’s social media accounts.
The 75th anniversary commemoration at Westminster and America’s National Churchill Museum — all conducted virtually as a result of COVID-19 precautions — commemorated the 75th anniversary of former British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill’s “Sinews of Peace” address, often called his “Iron Curtain” speech, at Westminster College on March 5, 1946.
“It was an amazing turnout for our virtual commemoration activities,” said Donald P. Lofe, Jr., Interim President and Chief Transformation Officer of Westminster College, pointing out the livestream reached approximately 2,200 people, and the event raised $425,000. “The tremendous news and social media coverage continued to elevate the global reputation and prestige of the College and America’s National Churchill Museum.”
The commemoration activities and Churchill’s speech were the focus of news and feature stories that originated across the United States, England, Ireland, Russia, Czechoslovakia, and other countries, which then were redistributed via social media and other digital outlets.
A New York-based TV news crew from Russia-1, Russia’s state-owned TV network, actually visited the campus on March 4 and conducted interviews and toured the Museum.
“The Russian news coverage was highly interesting,” Lofe said, adding “the Russians have a different perspective on Churchill, as one might imagine.”
Westminster and the Museum also were prominently featured in several Czech TV news stories about a new, 35-minute documentary, titled Franta and Winston, which debuted during the day’s commemoration events. The documentary focuses on renowned Czech-British sculptor František “Franta” Bělský (1921-2000) and his larger-than-life-sized statue of Churchill that greets campus visitors as they approach the Museum.
Ceska Televize aired the news stories produced by Czech TV news correspondent Bohumil Vostal, who worked closely with the Museum and producer Steve Stinson, ’73 ΣΑΕ, of Roanoke, VA.
C-SPAN, which is available in 150 million U.S. households, virtually created “Churchill Weekend” March 5-8, a period in which it broadcast 31 programs based on the College and Museum’s archived photos and video/live programming from the commemoration event.
The video included Westminster-branded speeches by former President Ronald Reagan, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, and former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Madeleine Albright.
Additionally, Timothy Riley, the Sandra L. and Monroe E. Trout Director and Chief Curator of America’s National Churchill Museum, was a guest on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Saturday March 6, while Reel TV and C-SPAN 3 broadcast a forum with Churchill’s granddaughter Edwina Sandys and Truman’s grandson Clifton Truman Daniel. It also broadcast the 34th Enid and R. Crosby Kemper Lecture by George Will, Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator and columnist with the Washington Post.
The “Sinews of Peace” 75th Anniversary virtual commemoration was free and open to the public thanks to the generosity of Mr. William Reller, Dr. Monroe E. and Sandra Trout, Harold Oakley, Signe Oakley, and the Edwin Malloy Jr. Endowment for America’s National Churchill Museum. Additional support was provided by Colin Brown, Barbara and Richard J. Mahoney, Philip and Erin Boeckman, Anonymous, Isabelle and Jean-Paul Montupet, Keith Harbison, Earle Harbison, Jr., William and Susan Piper, Kathleen Utz, John Pope, Ed Hardin, John and Carla Marshall, and the International Churchill Society. Please visit the website of America’s National Churchill Museum if you would like to make a gift in support of the Museum.