Presidential Colloquium Series

The Presidential Colloquium regularly features influential thought leaders in a wide range of fields—from poets and writers to economists and policy experts—to share their expertise, offer insights, and inspire discourse on key social, political and global topics that call for our attention. Come discover, learn, ask questions and engage in the conversation. Lectures are free and open to the public.

Past Events

Lawrence Lessig

Lawrence Lessig

Equal Citizens

Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 5 p.m.
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Prior to rejoining the Harvard faculty, Lessig was a professor at Stanford Law School, where he founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society, and at the University of Chicago. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Association. His awards include the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, Fastcase 50 Award and being named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries.

Maria Klawe

Maria Klawe

Getting More Women Into Tech Careers

Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 5 p.m.
Alumnae House Conference Hall

Maria Klawe is the president of Harvey Mudd College. She joined Harvey Mudd from Princeton University after serving 14 years at the University of British Columbia. Prior to UBC, Klawe spent eight years with IBM Research in California and two years at the University of Toronto. Part of the Clark Science Center’s “She Is a Scientist” series and co-sponsored by the Lazarus Center for Career Development.

danah boyd

danah boyd

Living in a Culture of Algorithms

Wednesday, March 30, 2016, 5 p.m.
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall

Social media scholar danah boyd is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder of the Data & Society Research Institute. She is a visiting professor at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and a faculty affiliate at Harvard’s Berkman Center. Her research examines the intersection between technology and society.

Steinem

Gloria Steinem

Monday, March 28, 2016, 5 p.m.
John M. Greene Hall

Gloria Steinem, Smith class of 1956, is a feminist, journalist, and social and political activist. She has been a leader and a voice for the feminist movement since the 1960s. Through her writing, speeches and activism, she has inspired generations of women and men to look at the world differently, change the rules and right society’s wrongs. A founder of Ms. magazine, she is the author of several books, including Revolution From Within (1992) and My Life on the Road (2015).

Imani Perry

Imani Perry

Which Feminism Do We Choose?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016, 5 p.m.
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall

Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies and a faculty associate in the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University. An interdisciplinary scholar who studies race and African American culture, she is the author of More Beautiful and More Terrible: The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United States and Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop.

Frank Bruni

Frank Bruni

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be

Tuesday, October 20, 2015, 5 p.m.
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall

Journalist Frank Bruni is a former White House correspondent and chief restaurant critic for The New York Times. In June 2011, he was named an op-ed columnist for the newspaper. He is the author of two bestselling books: Born Round, a memoir about his family's love of food and his own struggles with overeating, and Ambling Into History, about George W. Bush. His new book is Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admission Mania.

Frank Bruni

Linda Greenhouse

What the Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision Teaches Us About the Constitution

Friday, September 18, 2015, 1 p.m.
Alumnae House Conference Hall

Linda Greenhouse, a senior research scholar and journalist in residence at Yale Law School, covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times between 1978 and 2008. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism in 1998 “for her consistently illuminating coverage of the United States Supreme Court.” She now writes a biweekly column on law.

Jennifer Finney Boylan

Jennifer Finney Boylan

She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders

Thursday, April 30, 2015, 4:30 p.m.
John M. Greene Hall

Jennifer Finney Boylan, professor of English at Barnard College and New York Times contributing writer, is the author of the memoir She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, the first bestseller by a transgender American.

Jeffrey Sachs

Jeffrey Sachs

The Age of Sustainable Development

Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 4:30 p.m.
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall

Economist Jeffrey Sachs is director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is known for his work on the challenges of economic development, environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation, debt cancellation and globalization.

Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine

February 23, 2015
Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall

View photos from the event

Claudia Rankine is the author of Citizen: An American Lyric (2014). A nominee for the National Book Award in poetry, Citizen is described by BookForum as “an anatomy of American racism in the new millennium, a slender, musical book that arrives with the force of a thunderclap.”

Larry Summers

Larry Summers

The American Economic Growth Challenge

Monday, March 31, 2014
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall

President Emeritus and Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University; Board Chair of the Center for Global Development; Secretary of the Treasury (1999–2001); Director of the National Economic Council (2009–10)