Renowned Speakers on the Saroyan Stage


Town Hall is pleased to present nationally known speakers on compelling current topics, live in the Saroyan Theatre.


Straughn, PhD

October 18, 2023 | 10:30 a.m.
A project team member and communications liaison for NASA, Dr. Straughn will display the latest jaw-dropping images received from the James Webb telescope and interpret the mysteries of newly revealed stars, black holes, and distant galaxies.
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Alexander, PsyD

November 15, 2023 | 10:30 a.m.
With 40 years in law enforcement and a doctorate in clinical psychology, Dr. Alexander is uniquely qualified to offer unifying solutions for fostering positive change in our communities. He will share his vision for creating safer cities across the United States.
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January 17, 2024 | 10:30 a.m.
Although she has dedicated her life to saving the world’s oceans, Cristina Mittermeier has also traveled to all the continents focusing on how climate change is impacting isolated communities. Her fascinating storytelling and striking award-winning photography will inspire and raise awareness of the vital relationships between human cultures and biodiversity.
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February 21, 2024 | 10:30 a.m.
Academy Award winner Geena Davis is one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, appearing in several roles that became cultural landmarks. Davis received her first Academy Award, for Best Supporting Actress, for her role as the offbeat dog trainer Muriel Pritchett in Lawrence Kasdan’s The Accidental Tourist. She was again nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe for her performance in Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise.
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Duckworth, MD

March 20, 2024 | 10:30 a.m.
Dr. Duckworth advocates changing the way we talk about mental illness. Sharing both personal and professional experiences depicted in his ground-breaking book, You Are Not Alone, Dr. Duckworth will demonstrate how open conversations lead to positive outcomes, and will offer hope and wisdom related to the difficult topic of mental health.
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April 17, 2024 | 10:30 a.m.
Alton Brown, TV personality and self-proclaimed foodie, cooks with the precision of a scientist, the passion of an artist and the playfulness of a kid. He is best known for creating the innovative show, “Good Eats.” He brings his signature irreverent humor to the discussion of what our food reveals about our culture.
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Please note:
due to unforeseen circumstances, a speaker may be subject to substitution or postponement.

  • Past Speakers
Past Speakers

High School Seniors Eligible For A $500.00 Scholarship


Dennis Miller: America, How Can We All Ply Nice Again?
Nick Buettner: Live Long and Happy – The Blue Zones
Jimmy Chin: World’s Greatest Climb – Free Solo in Yosemit
Gen. John F. Kelly, Ret.: Geopolitics – Our Future On The Global Stage
Rebecca Skloot: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Leadership, In Life and On The Court
Sarah Parcak: Space Archaeologist
David Epstein: The Sports Gene – Late Specialization
Dr. John Medina: Optimizing Brain Health Through Each Stage of Life
David Pogue: Disruptive Technology: The Unrecognizable New World of Technology and Culture
Jeremi Suri: The Evolution of The American Presidency
Julia Gillard: Engagement in the Asian Century; Opportunity of Our Lifetime


Captain Scott Kelly: The Sky is Not the Limit: Lessons from a Year in Space
Vicente Fox: Building Bridges: Fixing the Immigration Issue and Strengthening US-Mexico Relations
Kevin Kallaugher: Daggers Drawn
Denise Kiernan: The Girls of Atomic City
Temple Grandin: All Kinds of Minds Working Together
Michael Pollan: The Omnivores Dilemma
John Walsh: On a Mission for Victims


Dr. Michio Kaku: The Future of the Mind
Leon Panetta: Remarks on Our Nation
Wes Moore: The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates
Adam Stelzner: How Curiosity Changed My Life: Mars Rover
Marc Lapadula: The Four Films that Changed America
Dave Barry: The Wit and Wisdom of Dave Barry
Lisa Genova: Still Alice, Understanding Alzheimer’s


Steve Wozniak: An Evening with Steve Wozniak
Jack Hanna: A Day with “Jungle Jack” Hanna
Sir Ken Robinson: Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative
Ann Compton: Up Close and Very Personal
Daniel Nelson: Whiskey is for Drinkin’, Water is for Fightin’
Stephen Prothero: God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World
Admiral James Stavridis: Beyond the Horizon: 21st Century Global Security and Risk


Billy Beane: Moneyball: Lessons for Life and Business from Baseball’s Best General Manager
Robert Edsel: The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Theives, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
Jerry Greenfield: Ice Cream, Social Responsibility and an Innovative Business Philosophy
Valerie Plame: Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House
Amy Cuddy: On Power and Influence
Robert Ballard: Underwater Adventures: Deep Sea Exploration
Man’s Inhumanity to Man … The Last Hundred Years


Frank Abagnale: The Art of the Steal & Catch Me If You Can
Tim Egan:The Worst Hard Time: The Dust Bowl
Michael Sandel: What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets
Alexei Filippenko: Dark Energy and The Runaway Universe
Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight
Carl Bernstein: The System Can Work


Ben Vereen: Stepping’ Out with Ben Vereen
Gloria Steinem: The Longest Revolution
Platon Antoniou: Powerful Portraits:An Intimate Look at Humanity
Richard Preston: The Wild Trees
Robin Wright: Rock the Casbah
Robert Sapolsky: Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers
Robert Reich: The Next Economy and America’s Future


Marvin Hamlisch: An Evening With Marvin Hamlisch
Jeffrey Toobin: The Supreme Nine: Black Robed Secrets
Andrew Ross Sorkin: The Politics of Too Big to Fail
Amy Chua: Babylon to Beijing: Risks and Rewards of Global Dominance
Scott Sampson: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life
Carlos Eire: Reflections of a Cuban Refugee
Ronan Tynan: Hitting the High Notes


Rick Steves: Lessons I’ve Learned Living Out of a Suitcase
Richard Rodriquez: A Vew from the Melting Pot
Elliot Engel: The Dickens Nobody Knows
Marin Alsop: A Morning with the Maestra
Daniel Kammen: Time for a Clean Energy & Low-Carbon Economy
Christopher Buckley: Puns, Pundits, and Politics: New England Style


Alan Russell: Exploring Medical Frontiers
Edward Diener: Happiness and Complete Wealth
David Brancaccio: Dissecting Economic Disaster
Robert Fitzpatrick: Passionate About the Arts
Juan Williams: A Powerful Mix: Money, Race & Age
Steve Coll: The Changing World of Terrorism


Bob Arnot: Danger in Darfur
Saroyan Panel: About Saroyan at the Saroyan
Ric Burns: Creating Dynamic Films
Roland Mesnier: The White House-Viewed from the White House Kitchen
Roland Fryer: Economic Incentives and Decisions
Jeff Greenfield: Politics and a New President


Michael Mandelbaum: China & India: The Burden of the Past, the Promise of the Future
Reza Aslan: Religion, Politics and Contemporary Culture of the Middle East
Josiah Bunting III: Leadership and the Liberal Arts
Bob Brier: The Murder of Tutankhamen
Christine Brennan: The View from the Press Box: Sports in 2008
Peggy Noonan: The White House and American Politics


Simon Winchester: A Crack in the Edge of the World
Marc Pachter: Gallery of Presidents
John Bravman: How Research and Technology Have Changed the Use of Materials
Robert Greenberg: Blues, Jazz, and Rock and Roll
Anthony Bourdain: A Cook’s Tour:Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisine
Anna Quindlen: The Last Word


Bruce Feiler: Abraham: Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths
Lynne Truss: Why is Everyone So Rude?
David Spiegel: Feeling and Healing:Stress,Support, and Cancer
Jan Crawford Greenberg :The Supreme Court: Poised for Change
Mark Arax:The Last Valley:The Heart of the California Paradox
Jon Meacham: Franklin and Winston:Leadership Lessons for Today


Eric Schlosser: Fast Food Nation
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe: Post Election California Analysis
MIchael York: Will and I
Michael McWilliams: Climate Changes in Perspective
John Allen Paulos: A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market
Ellen Goodman: The Political is (too) Personal


Jane Bryant Quinn: Your Money
Robert Greenberg: Music as a Mirror
Victor Davis Hanson: War Just Won’t Go Away–the Current Conflict in a Classical Context
John McWhorter: The Power of Babel–Language is a Lava Lamp
Thomas Cahill : Fighting the Air Quality Battle
Joe Klein: Inside America with Joe Klein: 2004 Predidential Election


Meave Leakey: Our Earliest Ancestors
Frank Deford: The Importance of Sports
Channing Robertson: Biomedicine for the 21st Century
Martin Rosin: Our Valley at Risk
Elaine Pagels: Women in Early Christanity
David Brooksl: Culture and Politics in Post Cold War America


Paul Duke: Potomac Fever: 40 Years Covering Events from Washington
Jared Diamond: Life on Earth for the Last 13,000 Years
Joseph Sanchez: Spanish Roads in America
Lester Snow: New Approaches to Calfornia Water Management
Sylvia Earle: Dances with Dolphins
Brian Greene: Explaining the Elegant Universe


Charles Ogletree: Access to Technology
David Kennedy: Immigration
Scott Berg: Lindbergh
Michael Heyman: Museums in the New Millennium
Malcolm Gladwell: The Tipping Point
Max Frankel: Media Madness


Michael Beschloss: Historian: Presidential Legacies
Kathleen Sullivan: The U.S. Supreme Court
Ronald Takai: Multiculturalism in America
Alston Chase: Water Politics (substitute for Marc Reisner)
Martha Teichner: Life as a War Correspondent
Susan Dentzer: Health Care Issues


Gentry Lee: Moving into the New Mellennium
Geneva Overholser: What Journalism Owes Democracy
Michael Josephson: Character Counts–Solutions to Youth Violence
Jan Schlichtmann: Toxic Waste Dumping–the Role of Lawyers in Resolving Issues
Rayna Green: The Smithsonian’s Director of American Indian Programs
Thomas Friedman: The Global Economy and America’s Foreign Policy


Deborah Prothrow-Smith: Prescription to End Adolescent Violence
Dick Thornburgh: Challenges in the 21st Century
Sheilah Kast: From an ABC News Reporter’s Notebook
David Harris:Legacy of Vietnam
Patricia Palmieri: Women: a Powerful Force in History
Vladimir Sakharov:Russia: What’s Next


Orville Schell: China Update
Richard Moe: Preservation–a Tool for Community Revitalization
Deborah Blum: Gender Differences
Paul Solman: Do People Control the Polls, Or Do the Polls Control the People?
Susan Stamberg: From All Things Considered–Women, Women and the Rest of Us
Clarence Page:The National Scene


James Burke: How Apparently Unrelated Events Produce Social & Tech. Changes
Doris Kearns Goodwin: World War II; Eleanor and Franklin Roodevelt
Norman Naimark: Eastern Europe –Post Communism
James Fallows: The Pacific Rim today–East Asia History & Economics
Charles McDowell: How TV Has Changed Politics
Robert Pack Browning: Mark Twain


Neil Sheehan: Vietnam: Coming to Terms at Last
Robert Bakker: Dinosaurs and Theories of Their Extinction
Walter William: Role of Government in a Free Society: a Conservative View
June Wayne: Thoughts of a Futurist Artist
Judith Viorst: Current Issues in Politics
Capitol Steps: Irreverent View of Washington


David McCullough: From a Historian’s Perspective
Daniel Callahan: Morality, Mortality & Medical power
Paul Ehrlich: The Poplulation Bomb
Dan Walter: California Politics
Ann Kerr: The Arab States in their Cultural Context
David Lamb: Baseball–16,000 Miles of Minor League Baseball


Haines Johnson: View from the Beltway
William Lutz: Doublespeak and the State of the Language
Scott Berg: Writing the Biography of Max Perkins
Condoleeza Rice: Emerging Countries of Eastern Europe
Anne Colby: Moral Leaders in Our Time
David Gergen and Mark Shields: American Politics


Bonnie Erbe, Linda Chavez: All Things Considered–the Liberal & Conservative Views
Steven Schlosstein: U.S.–Japan Economic Agenda
Joel Kotkin: The Growing Role of Ethnic Minorities
Sarah Weddington: Some Leaders Are Born Women
George Roche: “A World Without Heroes”
Robert Kennedy: Our Environmental Destiny


Hedrick Smith: The Soviet Union
Erin Moriarty: Consumer Issues of the 90’s
Jesse Choper: U.S. Supreme Court
Robert Commanday: Music–Why It Is Important
Wilma Mankiller: Native Americans and Their Battle for Recognition
Arthur Schlesinger: American Politics: What Lies Ahead


Edwin Newman: Preserving a Civil Tongue
Michael Josephson: Pursuit of Ethics in America
Terry Lynn Karl: Central America in Crisis
Stephen Garrett:The CIA–Issues of Covert Action
Nien Cheng: The Road from Shanghai
Steve Roberts: Replaced Cokie Roberts, who was to speak on the Soviet Union


Ike Pappas: The 1988 Presidential Election
Ray Bradbury: Great Years Ahead
Denise Erickson: Pleasures & Treasures of France
Wayne Nelson: Wall Street
Robert Scalapino: Asia Entering the 21st Century
Judy Woodruff: The Washington Scene


Broder, David: Politics in Washington
David Eisenhower: Dwight Eisenhower–Historic Perspective
Peter Grothe: Communication –Problems of Cultural Differences
Orville Schell: China-the Capitalist Revolution in China Control the People?
B. Gentry Lee: The Poisoning of America by Toxic Chemicals
Judith Christ: Everyone’s a Critic


David Lamb: Replaced David Halberstam
Christine Russell: Is Living Hazardous to your Health?
Jeane Westin: Making do–How Women Survived in the Thirties
Roger Selbert: Change, Continuity, and Choice in US Social Structure
Bernard Gifford: Education–How to Have Excellent and Just Schools
Henry Cisnerous: Survival Startegies for American Cities
Mark Russell: 50th Anniversary Event, May 1987


Jeff Greenfield: Media as Image Maker
John O. Wilson: Economics: A Global Forecast
Barton Bernstein: The Arms Race: A View of Contemporary America
Alan Dundes: Forklore in the Modern World
Wanda Corn: American Art: A Personal Perspective
Richard Valeriani: Realities and American Foreign Policy


Charles Osgood: A View from CBS
Charles Champlin: Keeping our Eye on Hollywood
Freeman Wright: The Challenge of Latin America
Paola Sensi-Isolani: Italy and the United States:an Enduring Friendship
Marion Diamond: The Brain:Young-Old, Female-Male, Left-Right, Enriched-Improverished
Georgie Anne Geyer: A Foreign Correspondent Looks at the World


Jonathan Miller: Are the Humanities Obsolete in Computerized Society
Richard Reeves: American Journey
Judith Bardwick: Coping with Changes in Family Values
Don Muchmore: Do People Control the Polls, Or Do the Polls Control the People?
Michael Brown: The Poisoning of America by Toxic Chemicals
Charles Mc Dowell: The View from Washington


Joan Mondale, Paul Duke, Nils J. Nilsson, Fran Lebowitz, Robert Ellis Smith, Karen Elliott House


John Houseman, Jeff Greenfield, Ruth Earnshaw Lo, A. Leon Higginbothan, Jr., Robert N. Bellah, Vladmir Sakharov


Ray Bradbury, Richard C. Hottelet, Paola Sensi-Isolani, Harriet Pilpel, Jack Nelson, Elie Abel


Jack Perkins, Eldon Griffiths, Herbert G. Klein, Harold Gilliam, Roger Tartarian, Ruth Beebe Hill


David Schoebrun, Ranan Lurie, Donn B. Parker, Rollin Post, Caroline Bird,Robert Pierpoint


Douglas Kiker, Joyce Kallgren, Henry Hunt Keith, William, Nierenbert, Nicholas Johnson, John Peer Nugent


Peter Lisagor, Paul Zinner, Edwin O. Reischauer, Kevin Sterr, Ralph Solerno, John Marcum


Helen Thomas, David Stonecypher,M.D., Dixie Lee Ray, Donald Barnhart, David Littlejohn, Roger Caras


Hugh Sidey, Gore Vidal, Joseph Sorrentino, Donald Cressey Ramsdel Gurney, Jr., Frances “Sissy” Farenthold


Abigail McCarthy, Reid Buckley and Max Lerner, Ezra Soloman, Honorable James Dugdale, John McCook roots, Gerald Piel


Maya Angelou, Dr. John Searle, Claire Booth Luce, James Deakin, Eileen Shanahan, Dr. Bradford Burns


Lord Caradon, Jon Morrow Lindbergh, Allan Temks, Alex Haley, Dr. Edward LeFavour


Daniel Schorr, N. Scott Momaday, Harold Gilliam, Morton Gottlief, Roger Hilsman, Marya Mannes


Irving R. Levine, Paul Engle, Rita Hauser, Keith Berwick, Robert Goralski, Alvin Roffler


Russell Baker, William Stringer, Francis Robinson, Robert E. Lee, Richard C. Hottelet


David Schoebrun, Rumer Ogden, John Peer Nugent, Agnes DeMille, Eldon Wylie Griffiths, M.P.,Colonel John A. “Shorty” Powers


Honorable Halvarad Lange, Urban Wittaker, Donald Cressey, Drew Middleton, Marietta Tree, Joshua Logan


Helmut Boeniger, Stringfellow Barr, Simeon Booker, Arthur Larson, Robert Scalapino, Joseph Harsh


Malcom Muggeridge, Elie Abel, Han Suyin, Ralph Roby, Joan Comay, S.I. Hayakawa, Leon Volkov


Ashley Montagu, Walter, Slezac, Maurice Van Arsdol Jr., Drew Pearson, Dobert Scalapino,Henry Kissinger, Armin Rappaport


Sander Vanocur, Dr. Dexter Keezer, Lynn Heinzerling, Eldon Griffiths, Dr. Zelma George, Lesly Frost, Dr. Albert Burke


Martin Agronsky, Marion D. Hanks, Cleveland Amory, Max Lerner, Harrison Salisbury, Edward Tomlinson, Joel Hildebrande


Adres Maurois, Herbert Herring, Charles Frankel, Mrs. James. B. Conant, Sir Charles Arden-Clarke, Santha Rama Rau, Max Lerner


Harry Golden, Joseph Kaplan, David Schoenbrun, Helen Kirkpatrick, Norman Cousins


James Reston, Russell Jones, Vance Packard, Current Affairs Panel, Adelaide Stedman, Robert Aura Smith


R. Hon.Sir Anthony Nutting, Dr. Evelyn Miller Berger, David Schoenbrun, Charles Duncan Jr., Morris L. Ernst, Dr. Ralph E. Lapp


The Right Rev. Herbert Morrison, Marian Mill Preminger, Richard L. Tobin, Howard K. Smith,Arthur C. Clark, Adoka K. Dutt


Norman Cousins, Ralph E. Lapp, Harrison Salisbury, Charles J. Duveen, Jr., Dorothy Thompson, Alistair Cook


Frank Gibney, Pauline Frederick, Panel on Current Affairs, Rebecca, Reyner, Heinrich Harrer, General Carold P. Romulo


Arthur Treacher, Houston Peterson, Chet Huntley, Eugenie Anderson, F.S.C. Northrop, Louise Fischer


Roscoe Drummond, Marquis Childs, Margaret Bourke-White, Murray Banks, Mrs. Alan F. Kirk, Margaret Mead


Alan Raymond, Ashley Montagu, Marguerite Higgins, Ogden Nash, Norman Cousins, (fifth scheduled speaker, Princess Illeana of Romania, did not appear)


Mortiner J. Adler Daniel A. Poling, Mary Wright, James Michener, Edward Tomlinson


Vincent Sheehan, Hudson Strode, William L. Shirer, Dr. Harry D. Gineonse, Dr. Milton Silverman


Arthur Gaeth, Dr. Owen Lattimore, Rear Admiral Zaccharias, Dr. David Dressler, Bennett Cerf, Vincent Sheehan


Speakers list not available


Erika Mann, Hubert Herring, Herbert Agar, Harold Kennedy, Ray Joseph


Kumar Goshal, Ray Joseph, William Winter, Vincent Sheean, Bruce Blien, Virginia Kirkus


Lorita Baker Vallely ($150), Edward Howard Griggs ($100),J. Raymond Walsh($150), Dr. Frederick Niemand($150), Lewis Brown($150)Walter Duranty($350)Michael Strange ($150) James R. Young($150) Mary Hutchinson ($100), Cecil Roberts($150), Dean Dickenson($150)


Irina Skariatina, Linda Littlejohn, Marryle S. Rukeyser, Howard Pierce Davis, Dr. Hsin-Hai Chang, Mme. Vicente Lim, Jan Struther, Manly P. Hall, Krishnalal Shridharani, Don Bate, Dr, Sigmund Spaeth


Dr. Jean Pajus, Sydney R. Montague,Ely Culbertson, Dr. Emil Lengyel, Sir Charles Morgan-Webb, Kismet Sirri Sanli, Mai-Mai Sze, Ogden Nash, Henry C. Wolf, Margaret Bourke, White


David Seabury, Senora Isabel de Palencia, Howard Pierce Dais, John Erskine, Alfred Noyes, Mme., Geneieve Tabouis, Louis Fischer, Henry C. Wolfe, Ruth St. Denis, Ruth Bryan Owen


Sir Herbert Wilkins, Jesse Stuart, Sherwood Eddy, Dr. Ernest C. Cadle, Josephine Roche, Louis Untermeyer, Phillip Guedalla, Edna Lee Booker, Dr. Harry R. Oerstreet, Dr. Harlan True Stitson, Pierre van Paasen, Selma Ekremm, Suzanne Silvercruys


Tony Sander ($100) Edward Tomlinson, Mary Ellen Chase, Vera Brittain, Louis Adamic, Dr. Gerald, Wendt, Pierra van Paasen, Dr. Winifred Johnson, Bhicoo Batlivala, Dr. David Seabury, Mrs. Littlejohn, Her highness the Rance of Sarawah, George Dangerfield ($75.00)


Marjorie Hillis, Sidney Montague, Countess Alexandra Tolstoy, Dr. Franz Polgar, Dr. Abram L. Sachar, Erica Mann, Dr. Klaus Mann, James M. Hebron, Countess of Lisstowel, Capt. C.W.R. Knight, Dr. Louis K. Anspacher, David Seabury, William Rose Benet, Bertita Harding.

1938 (Jan. thru June)

Vicki Baum, Dr. Abram Leon Sachar, John Mulholland, Honorable Agnes MacPhail, Evelyn Grover, Capt. John D. Craig, Nicholas Roosevelt, V.C. Buckley, Paula Lecler, Julien Bryan, Gil Roland, Pierre Jordan, John thompson, Maj. Gen. Paul B. Malone, Harold R. Peat.