Washington College Remembers Paul Newman’s Visit

Paul Newman is remembered as a caring and involved parent at Washington College. His son Scott was a student at Washington College from the fall of 1969 to December 1971. Scott Newman died in November 1978 in Los Angeles from a combination of alcohol and prescription drugs. He was 28. After his only son’s death, Paul Newman established the Scott Newman Foundation to finance the production of anti-drug films for children.

In May of 1970, Paul Newman spoke to the students about the war in Vietnam. Several weeks before the anti-war May Day demonstration in Washington, at that time the largest mobilization against the war, Newman called college president Dr. Gibson and asked if he could talk to the students about the importance of protesting. Newman established a couple of ground rules: the students were to be truly committed to the cause; and, they were to understand that the demonstrations in Washington were not an excuse for a party or a riot. The 600-seat Tawes Theater was packed on May 6, 1970 when Paul Newman spoke about the escalation of the war and advancement of U.S. ground forces into Cambodia. The Elm estimated 650 people attended Newman’s roughly 30-minute talk on a Wednesday morning. After the formal presentation, Newman mingled with students.