38 Years of Exceptional Programs
For audiences eager to hear illuminating discussions by today’s most in-demand speakers, William Paterson University offers the Distinguished Lecturer Series (DLS)—an event that began in 1980 and brings illustrious personalities from the worlds of politics, government, the arts, literature, sports, science, and business, along with original programs—to Wayne, New Jersey.
Jon Meacham, one of America’s most prominent public intellectuals and a New York Times best-selling author, spoke to a full house at the Shea Center for Performing Arts in the fall about the 2016 presidential election. Previous speakers include Robert Krulwich, Mitch Albom, Jacques Pepin and Claudia Pepin, Daniel Levitin and Roseanne Cash, Harold Prince, Gloria Steinem, Diane Ravitch. actor Al Pacino, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox general managers Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein, musical theatre composer Stephen Sondheim, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, film directors Oliver Stone and Spike Lee, performer Gregory Hines, and writers Alice Walker and Joyce Carol Oates to more than 100,000 audience members who have attended DLS since its inception.
More than 175 public figures have come to speak on the University’s Distinguished Lecturer Series since its inauguration on February 11, 1980.
In November 2016, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, presidential historian, and contributing editor at TIME, Jon Meacham, sat down for an interview with WP student and host of WPTV's News Now, Aziza Kabibi. Later that evening, Meacham shared his expertise in politics and offered an unbiased, bipartisan perspective on the 2016 presidential election.
Photo: Jon Meacham and Aziza Kabibi
In February 2016, Grammy Award-winning singer and activist Angélique Kidjo received the President's Medal, presented by WP President Kathleen Waldron on behalf of the University and the Board of Trustees, in recognition of her artistry and activism that has reached international audiences. As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Ms. Kidjo is a strong advocate for education as the key to economic empowerment. Through her Foundation, Kidjo provides secondary education to girls across Africa and empowers the female leaders of tomorrow. As a three-time Grammy winner in the category of World Music, her powerful speech on education was punctuated with the strength of her singing voice and her intense stage presence.
Photo, left to right: Dean of the College of the Arts and Communication Daryl Moore; President Kathleen Waldron; Angélique Kidjo; and Provost Warren Sandman
Best-selling author, sports reporter, and philanthropist Mitch Albom spoke in March 2015 about the unexpected success of his book Tuesdays with Morrie, as well as his 35-year-career in sports reporting. Using sports as a metaphor for life, Albom offered his commentary on why the public will never outgrow its obsession for sports.
Photo: Mitch Albom
In May 2014, Tony Award-winning Broadway director Harold Prince gave a standing ovation to WP music students, who performed selections of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's music from West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, and Pacific Overtures (all first-run Broadway productions, directed by Harold Prince), in an arrangement by WP music professor Warren Helms entitled "Pretty Medley." Prince, who has garnered more Tony Awards than any other individual and has directed and produced more than 50 plays, musical and operas, discussed his illustrious career.
Photo, left to right: Sarah Ciccarelli, Alexander Ryan, Tyler Herrick, Michael Kern, Harold Prince, and moderator Alfred Doblin, editorial page editor, The Record
In February 2013, master chef Jacques Pépin, of Bravo TV's Top Chef and Julia and Jacques fame, led a cooking demonstration with his daughter Claudine in front of a sold-out audience. Along with the demonstration, the author, television personality, and seminal dignitary of the culinary arts discussed his amazing career. His show with Julia Child marked the advent of the culinary-based television programs that have become a staple in today's pop culture.
Photo: Claudine and Jacques Pépin
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.