2011-2012 St. Louis Speakers Series Announced


Maryville University’s St. Louis Speakers Series features an impressive lineup of authors, journalists, activists and leaders for the fourteenth season, 2011-2012. The series will open with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph Ellis and will close with one of the most trusted figures in broadcasting, Tom Brokaw.

Held at Powell Symphony Hall, the upcoming St. Louis Speakers Series will begin on Oct. 11, 2011, with distinguished historian Joseph Ellis, followed by Michelle Rhee, former DC Schools chancellor; former covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, Joe Wilson, former American ambassador and diplomat; sustainable food activist Michael Pollan; author and professor Azar Nafisi; former U.S. military commander Stanley McChrystal and legendary broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw.

“This season offers our students, alumni, faculty and entire St. Louis community the chance to learn about and hear first-hand from some of the most captivating and distinguished personalities of our time,” said Mark Lombardi, PhD, president, Maryville University. “Maryville is proud to continue the tradition of presenting such inspiring speakers.”

Speaking on Oct. 11, Joseph Ellis is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and respected historian. He has brought our nation’s founding fathers back to life through his rich and textured writings for eight best-selling books, including his most recent work American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic.

Other speakers include:

* Nov. 8 – Michelle Rhee, an outspoken advocate for school reform, founded The New Teacher Project in 1997, which has recruited 23,000 new teachers across the country. Under her leadership as chancellor, the DC Public Schools—the worst performing school district in the country at the time—saw double-digit growth in state reading and math scores among seventh, eighth and tenth graders. Rhee recently founded StudentsFirst, an organization aiming to raise $1 billion to reform education in the nation.

* Nov. 29 – Valerie Plame Wilson and Joe Wilson: she was a covert CIA operative and he was an American Ambassador and diplomat to Africa and Iraq; his 2003 New York Times op-ed piece suggesting the Iraqi nuclear threat had been exaggerated allegedly resulted in the exposure of her identity as a CIA agent working in counter-proliferation. This dynamic couple will illustrate their enthralling story, which was told in the motion picture Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.

* Jan. 24, 2012 – Michael Pollan has been named one of the Top 10 New Thought Leaders by Newsweek and was named to the 2010 TIME 100 list. He’s written four New York Times best-sellers, including his most recent work Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. Pollan has been exploring and writing about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect for the past 25 years. He also appeared in the Academy Award-nominated documentary, Food Inc.

* Feb. 28, 2012 – Azar Nafisi is the highly acclaimed author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, which spent 117 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list. The book, which has been translated into 32 languages, paints a vivid portrait of the Islamic revolution in Iran and its effect on Nafisi as a secular woman and professor. Nafisi, who has written articles for The New York Times, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, is the executive director of Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of John Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.

* April 3, 2012 – Stanley McChrystal, a retired four-star general in the United States Army, is widely admired for his candor and leadership skills. His last assignment as commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan earned him praise as “one of America’s greatest warriors” by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

* May 1, 2012 – One of the most trusted and respected figures in television, journalist Tom Brokaw will discuss his career in broadcast news, which spans nearly five decades and ranges from reporting on the civil rights movement in Atlanta to serving as NBC’s White House correspondent during Watergate. Best known for his more than 20 years as anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, Brokaw has interviewed every president since Lyndon B. Johnson and has traveled the world to cover international stories. The best-selling author of The Greatest Generation, Brokaw has received numerous awards, including the Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2005, he was inducted into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

All presentations begin at 8 p.m. on Tuesday nights at Powell Symphony Hall. Tickets are sold by series subscription only; prices range from $285 to $420 per person. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact the ticket office as soon as possible to order tickets. For more information, visit StLouisSpeakersSeries.org or call 314.533.7888.

Presented by Maryville University, the series is also sponsored by Nine Network, the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association and St. Louis Public Radio KWMU (90.7 FM).

About Maryville University
Founded in 1872, Maryville University is a four-year, private university located in St. Louis, Missouri, and ranked by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges in the Regional Universities – Midwest category. Maryville University students may choose from 50 academic programs, including degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. Approximately 3,700 students are enrolled through the College of Arts and Sciences, the John E. Simon School of Business, the School of Health Professions and the School of Education. For more information, visit maryville.edu.