Fall/Winter 2021-2022

September 21 Caroline Cocciardi, Author: Student of all things da Vinci

Leonardo’s Knots

October 5 Elizabeth Cobbs, Melbern G. Glasscock Professor of History, Texas A & M University

Defender of the Nation: Harriet Tubman and the Civil War

October 19 Pete McBride Photographer, Filmmaker Kevin Fedarko, Writer

Into the Grand Canyon: A 750 Mile Exploration

November 2 Carl Raymond, Professionally Trained  Chef, bringing together the worlds of food, history, literature and opera

From Dickens to Downton: The World of Victorian and Edwardian Food

November 16 Michael Kodas, Photojournalist and Educator. Senior Editor, Inside Climate News

Living With Megafires

December 7 Sean Hartley, Playwright, composer and lyricist. Director of the Kaufman Music Center Theater Wing

Four Musicals that Changed Broadway

January 18 Tina Rivers Ryan, Assistant Curator of contemporary art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York

What’s the Deal with Contemporary Art?

Winter/Spring 2020

February 4 Bruce Pittman Director of Commercial Space Development; Chief System Engineer, NASA Ames Research Center, Silicon Valley

How Billionaires Are Changing the Space Program

February 18 Mark Lapadula, Playwright and Screenwriter, Film Producer and Senior Lecturer, Yale University Film Studies Program

The Greatest Romantic Moments in Movies

March 3 David Troxel, Worked in Dementia Care for over 30 years

The Art of Dementia Care

March 17 Caroline Cocciardi, Author, Student of all things da Vinci

Leonardo’s Knots  NOTE: this lecture is cancelled due to COVID 19

April 7

Sean Hartley, Leading Authority on the History of  the Broadway Musical

Four Musicals That Changed Broadway  NOTE: this lecture is cancelled due to COVID 19

April 21 Michael Kodas, Author and Photo Journalist

Living With Megafires NOTE: this lecture is cancelled due to COVID 19

May 5 Elizabeth Cobbs, Melbern G. Glasscock Professor of History, Texas A & M University

Defender of the Nation: Harriet Tubman and the Civil War  NOTE: this lecture is cancelled due to COVID 19

May 19 Carl Raymond, Professionally Trained Chef, bringing together the worlds of food, history, literature and opera
Foothill College

From Dickens to Downton: The World of Victorian and Edwardian Food  NOTE: this lecture is cancelled due to COVID 19

June 2 David Kennedy, Stanford Professor of History, Emeritus; Founder of the Bill Lane Center for the American West

The Transcontinental Railroad at 150: Reflections on the History of the American West NOTE: this lecture is cancelled due to COVID 19

Fall/ Winter 2019-2020

September 17 Leslie Dewan, National Geographic Emerging Explorer; CEO of Tailfin, a conservation technology company

A New Approach to Nuclear Power

October 1 Dolores Davison, Professor and Chair, Departments of Women’s Studies, Foothill College

Celebrating 100 Years of American Suffrage

October 15 Thomas Fingar, Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center Scholar

Getting US China Policy Right

November 5 Carol Berkin, Former Presidential Professor of History, Baruch College

Myths of the American Revolution

November 19 Patrick HuntNational Lecturer for the Archeological Institute of America’s Stanford Society


Hannibal’s Secret Weapon

December 3 Michael McFaul, Former Ambassador to Russia

An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia

January 14 Victoria Johnson, Associate Professor of Urban Policy and Planning, Hunter College, City University of New York

Founding America’s First Botanical Garden

Winter/Spring 2019

February 5 James Dixon, Architect and expert on architectural styles in San Francisco and the Bay Area

Victorian/Edwardian Residential Architectural Styles in San Francisco

February 19 Steven Burchik, Veteran, Author, Photographer

Compass and a Camera: One Soldier’s View of the Vietnam War

March 5 Brian Merchant, Technology journalist and author of The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone

The World Inside the iPhone

March 19 Caroline Winterer, Anthony P. Meier Professor in the
Humanities and Director of the Stanford Humanities Center

The Remarkable Genius of Benjamin Franklin

April 2 Elliot Engel, Emeritus English Professor, University of North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Duke University

Shakespeare 400 Years Later: More Alive Than Ever

April 16 Tomas Jimenez, Associate Professor of Sociology and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University

Making Sense of Immigration Hysteria in the Nation of

May 7 Megan Smolenyak, Genealogist and Author

No Man Left Behind (Bringing our Soldiers Home from WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam)

May 21 Andrew Fraknoi, Emeritus Chair, Astronomy Department,
Foothill College

Celebrating Stephen Hawking: His Amazing Life and Scientific Work

June 4 Richard Kogan, Julliard-trained concert pianist and Harvard-educated psychiatrist

The Mind and Music of George Gershwin

Fall/Winter 2018-2019

September 18 Janine Zacharia, Carlos Kelly McClatchy Lecturer, Stanford Department of Communication, former Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the Washington Post

The Era of Noise: From Fake News to the Future of Journalism

October 2 Chris Bliss, Tonight Show comedian, TED speaker, and Bill of Rights advocate

Comedy is Translation

October 16 Allison Hobbs, Associate History Professor and Director of African and African American Studies at Stanford University

A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life

November 6 Joseph Luzzi, Author and Professor of Comparative Literature at Bard College

The Presidential Library: Books That Shaped Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Other Commanders-in-Chief

November 20 Thomas Sanger, Author and Journalist

The Athena Story: The Forgotten Tale of a Passenger Ship Torpedoed on the First Day of WWII

December 4 Gregory Boyle, Founder, Homeboy Industries, the largest gang-intervention, rehabilitation. and re-entry program in the world

Lessons from the Field: Kinship as an Intervention

January 15 Laura Ling, Award-winning journalist and co-author of Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home

Journey of Hope

Winter/Spring 2018

February 6 Robert Lustig M.D., M.S.L., Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics, Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco

The Hacking of the American Mind

February 20 Katherine Jolluck, Senior Lecturer in the Department of History, Stanford University

Enslavement in the 21st Century: From Labor and Sex to Organ Harvesting and Petty Crime

March 6 Blye Faust, Academy Award-winning producer of Spotlight

Truth in Storytelling: Bringing Real Events to Life Onscreen

March 20 Chuck Underwood, Founder and principal of Ohio-based generational consultancy The Generational Imperative, Inc.

Five Generations. One America

April 3 Elizabeth Cobbs, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution; Melbern Glasscock Chair at Texas A&M; author of The Hello Girls

“The Hello Girls”: World War One and America’s First Women Soldiers

April 17 Jim McClintock, Endowed University Professor of Polar and Marine Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham

From Penguins to Plankton: The Dramatic Impacts of Climate Change on the Antarctic Peninsula

May 1 Larry Gerston, Political Science Professor Emeritus, San Jose State University; political analyst on NBC Bay Area

The Trump Election in Perspective: A Turning Point in American Politics

May 22 Robert Hartwell, Professor of Music and Media Studies, Foothill College

Mozart and Mythology

June 5 Robin Wright, War correspondent, best-selling author; joint fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Global Hotspots: Where’s the Next War?

Fall/Winter 2017/2018

September 19 Adam Johnson, Phil and Penny Knight Professor of Creative Writing, Stanford University

Imagining North Korea

October 3 Robert Wittman, Former F.B.I. special agent; founder of the F.B.I. Art Crime Team

THE DEVIL’S DIARY: Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich

October 17 Denise Erickson, Professor of Art History, Canada College; lecturer at the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University

Americans in Paris: Impressionism and the American Experience

November 7 Joel Pett, Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist

Real Cartoons in the Age of Fake News

November 21 Jessica Yu, Author; Academy Award-winning filmmaker

Sowing Hope: Stories from”The Garden of the Lost and Abandoned”

December 5 Chris McKay, Senior Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center

Life on Other Worlds

January 16 Rudy Maxa, Travel journalist; Emmy Award-winning host of “Rudy Maxa’s World”

The Transformational Power of Travel

Fall 2016

September 20 Nizar Ibraham, PhD.,  Lead author of a study on the creatures who lived 100 million years ago in North Africa and could swim

Spinosaurus: Lost Giant of the Cretaceous

October 4 Chef Roland Mesnier, Executive White House Chef, 1979-2004

All the Presidents’ Pastries

October 18 Rob Kapilow, Composer, conductor, author, NPR music commentator, along with the St. Lawrence String Quartet, ensemble-in-residence at Stanford University

Hayden and the Detective Novel: Does Music Have a Plot?

November 1 Mark D. Smith MD. MBA, Founder and CEO of California Health Care Foundation; Clinical faculty member, University of California, San Francisco

Making America’s Health Care Great (Again?)

November 15 Brigid Barton PhD., Professor Emerita, Art History, Santa Clara University; Lecturer, Stanford University Continuing Studies

Paris and Impressionism, the history of a new city and a new style; how Impressionist artists looked at Napolean III and Hausmann’s renovated Paris

December 6 Gary Griggs, Director of Marine Sciences, Distingished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz

Climate Change and the California Coast


January 17 Marc Lapadula, Playwright, screenwriter, and award-winning film producer; lecturer at Yale University on screen writing since 1992

Four Films that Changed America

Winter/Spring 2016

February 2 Lorrin Koran, MD., Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus, Stanford University Medical Center and former Director, Stanford Medical Center, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Clinic and Research Program

Overcoming Obessions and Compulsions

February 16 Larry Gerston, PhD., Professor Emeritus of Political Science, San Jose State University

The 2016 Election: Why We Should Care (And Why Few People Do!)

March 1 Elizabeth J. Freeman, Director, VA Palo Alto Health Care System

VA Palo Alto Health Care System: The transformation of health care with a Veteran-centered focus

March 15 Rick Steves, Advocate of smart, independent travel; writer, producer of tv series “Rick Steves’ Europe”

Broadening Your Global Perspective Through Travel

April 5 Richard Blanco, Inaugural Poet Laureate

Becoming American: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey

April 19 Karl Eikenberry, Director of the U.S. Asia Security Initiative at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center; Former Ambassador to Afghanistan (May 2009 – July 2011); Retired Lieutenant General, U.S. Army

America and Its Military – Drifting Apart

May 3 Maureen Corrigan, Book critic for NPR’s Fresh Air; Columnist for The Washington Post; Lecturer in English at Georgetown University

So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures

May 17 John King, San Francisco Chronicle’s Urban Design Critic; author of Citiscapes: San Francisco and its Buildings

What Yesterday’s Buildings Say About Today’s San Francisco

June 7 Hank Greely, Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law and Professor, by courtesy, of Genetics at Stanford University

The End of Sex: The Future of Human Reproduction

Fall 2015

September 15 Tim Farrell,  46 yr. English Teacher, Gunn High School, Palo Alto; Docent Emeritus, Filoli; Actor and IPA Brew Master

A “Not-so-Secret Life”: Charles Dickens in his novels

October 6 Victoria Lautman, Journalist, Art Historian and Indiaphile

Beyond the Taj Mahal: Inside India

October 20 Larry Hancock, General Director with Artists from the Opera San Jose; Mr. Hancock has been with OSJ for more than 30 years

Duets & Arias from Grand Opera

November 3 Denise Kiernan, Journalist, Producer and Author

The Girls of Atomic City – spies, secrecy and the Manhatten Project

November 17 Marcia Coyle, Chief Washington Correspondent for the National Law Journal, Lawyer and Journalist

The Impact of Recent Supreme Court Decisions

December 1 Kay Payne, Docent, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

A Day in the Life of the Renaissance: A lively guided visit to Florence and Venice, via contemporary works by da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael & more


January 19 Peter Walsh, Expert in organizational design; radio and tv personality; author

Its All Too Much: Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff