2015 Past Speakers

2016 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

Dr. Donald O. Castell

Dr. Castell is a Professor of Medicine and the Director of the Esophageal Disorders Program in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Medical University of South Carolina. He received his medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine, completed his residency at the National Naval Medical Center, and was a Research Fellow […]

John Hartwig

Dr. John Hartwig

John F. Hartwig was born outside of Chicago in 1964 and was raised in upstate New York. He received a B.A. degree in 1986 from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. degree in 1990 from the University of California, Berkeley under the collaborative direction of Robert Bergman and Richard Andersen. After an American Cancer Society postdoctoral […]

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Dr. Andrew Barker

A biographical sketch provided by Dr. Andrew Barker: A bald summary of my academic career would look something like this. In 1970, after a first degree in Lit. Hum. at Oxford and a PhD in the philosophy of biology at the Australian National University, I joined the University of Warwick’s Philosophy Department as their ancient […]


Dr. Shane Butler

Shane Butler works on Latin literature from antiquity through the Renaissance. His special interests include media history and theory; sensation, cognition, and aesthetics; rhetoric and poetics; the history of sexuality; classical reception; and the history of classical scholarship. His published books reconstruct the material context of the production and circulation of Roman oratory (The Hand […]

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Dr. Bruce Rittmann

Dr. Bruce E. Rittmann is Regents’ Professor of Environmental Engineering and Director of the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology in the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. His research focuses on the scientific and engineering fundamentals needed to “manage microbial communities to provide services to society.” Services include generating renewable energy, cleaning water and soil, […]


Dr. Meave Leakey

Dr. Meave Leakey was born Meave Epps in 1942 in London. She attended the University of North Wales, where she earned joint honors in Zoology and Marine Zoology. In 1965, she began to pursue a Ph.D. in Zoology. That same year, she had her first contact with the Leakey family; she took a staff position […]

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Dr. Simon Richter

Dr. Simon Richter is Professor of German in the Germanic Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Richter has authored 3 books and (co-)edited three more on Goethe and German Classicism; he has also pusblished more than forty scholarly articles on a broad variety of topics. Among his many fellowships and […]


Randy Brecker

Jazz trumpeter and composer Randy Brecker has helped shape the sound of jazz, R&B and rock for more than four decades. His trumpet and flugelhorn performances have graced hundreds of albums by a wide range of artists from James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and Parliament/Funkadelic to Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, Jaco Pastorius and Frank Zappa. Born […]

Paul Jaskot

Dr. Paul B. Jaskot

Paul B. Jaskot is the 2014-2016 Andrew W. Mellon Professor at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (National Gallery of Art) in Washington, D.C. and a Professor of Art History at DePaul University. His research focuses on the cultural history of National Socialist Germany and its postwar impact on art and architecture. More […]

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Dr. Aline Helg

Professor Helg is an authoritative scholar of worldwide recognition in the field of Latin American History and Politics who has written extensively on issues of slave liberation movements and equal rights in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Her works focus on questions of social hierarchies based on race and color distinctions, and the participation process of Blacks and Mulattoes […]


David McCollough

Hailed as a “master of the art of narrative history,” David McCullough is a two-time winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, and is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. Included among the many bestselling titles that he has authored over the course of his […]


Dr. David Maslanka

David Maslanka was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1943. He attended the Oberlin College Conservatory where he studied composition with Joseph Wood. He spent a year at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and did masters and doctoral study in composition at Michigan State University where his principal teacher was H. Owen Reed. Maslanka’s music for […]

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Dr. Rita Charon

Rita Charon, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. A general internist with a primary care practice in Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Charon took a Ph.D. in English when she realized how central storytelling and listening to stories […]


Mark R. Wiesner

Mark R. Wiesner holds the James L. Meriam Chair in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University where he has appointments in the Pratt School of Engineering and the Nicholas School of Environment. He serves as Director of the National Science Foundation’s Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT) and Chair of the Department […]


Hans Abrahamsen

Hans Abrahamsen was born in 1952, and received his musical education from, amongst others, Per Nørgård, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen and György Ligeti. An early beginner – his first published works date from when he was sixteen – he had produced a sizeable output by the time he reached thirty: several orchestral works (including Nacht und Trompeten […]


John Solaro, PhD

Dr. Solaro received his PhD in Physiology from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine in 1971. In 1972, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Physiology at the Medical College of Virginia. As a British-American Heart Fellow in 1975-76, he worked with Professor S.V. Perry at the University of Birmingham in England and as a […]


Julian I. Schroeder

Prof. Schroeder is a AAAS Fellow and as of April 28, 2015, a newly elected member of the National Academy of Sciences. He also currently serves as the President of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB). He is the recipient of numerous awards and is internationally recognized as a renowned plant scientist working at […]

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Donald Lindberg, M.D.

Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., a scientist who has pioneered in applying computer technology to health care beginning in 1960 at the University of Missouri, in 1984 was appointed Director of the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest biomedical library (annual budget $336 million; 799 career staff). From 1992 -1995 he served in a concurrent […]


Simon Carrington

Simon Carrington, Yale University professor emeritus, has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in music, performing as singer, double bass player and conductor, first in the UK where he was born, and latterly in the USA. From 2003 to 2009 he was professor of choral conducting at Yale University and director of the Yale Schola […]

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Joan Silber

Joan Silber is the author of seven books of fiction, most recently Fools, longlisted for the National Book Award and finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Other works include The Size of the World, finalist for the LA Times Fiction Prize, Ideas of Heaven, finalist for the National Book Award and the Story Prize, and Household […]


Emily Martin

Emily Martin is Professor of Anthropology at New York University and an internationally renowned scholar. One of the earliest feminist anthropologists, Martin’s diverse body of work has explored technoscience, reproduction, the immune system and psychology. Her research areas include science and medicine, gender, cultures of the mind, emotion and rationality, history of psychiatry and psychology, […]

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Sergei Babayan

A student of such legendary teachers and musicians as Gornostayeva, Naumov, Pletnev and Vlasenko in the Moscow Conservatory, Sergei Babayan was one of the first pianists from the former USSR who was able to compete without government sponsorship after the collapse of the system. Immediately after his first trip outside of the USSR, he won […]

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Robert D. Putnam

Robert D. Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the British Academy, and past president of the American Political Science Association. He has received numerous scholarly honors, including the Skytte Prize, the most prestigious global award in […]


Scott Soames

Prof. Scott Soames was an undergraduate in philosophy at Stanford University, and a graduate student studying Linguistics and Philosophy at M. I. T., where he received my Ph.D. in philosophy in 1976. He taught philosophy at Yale University from 1976 – 1980, when he moved to Princeton University, where he taught from 1980 – 2004. […]

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Professor Geoff Eley

Professor Geoff Eley is the Karl Pohrt Distinguished University Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is one of the most distinguished historians of modern Europe not just in the US, but anywhere in the world. Professor Eley is the author of ten books, and the editor of eight others. […]

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Alejandro de la Fuente

Dr. Alejandro de la Fuente is the Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics at Harvard University. He is also Professor of African and African American Studies, and of History. He is the director of the Afro-Latin American Research Institute, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. He is an authoritative […]


Kyle Harper, PhD

Kyle Harper graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Letters and earned his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in History from Harvard University. He is the Interim Senior Vice President and Provost at the University of Oklahoma and Professor of Classics and Letters, as well as the Director of the […]

Dr. Gordon Hunter

Gordon Hunter, Ph.D.

Gordon Hutner is professor of American literature at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where he has taught for the last 10 years.  After taking degrees at Kenyon College and the University of Virginia, he began his career at the University of Wisconsin, where he taught for 17 years before leaving for the University of […]