Nine national notables tapped for Fairfield University's Open VISIONS Forum 2007-08 season


Open VISIONS Forum (OVF), the distinguished lecture series presented by Fairfield University's University College, has assembled an invigorating season peopled with a variety of opinionated speakers from David McCullough and Nicholas Kristof to Lou Dobbs and William Bennett. All nine programs will take place in Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Tickets are currently available for Sponsors, Patrons, Friends and returning season subscribers. Tickets go on sale for the general public at the Quick Center Box Office on Wednesday, Aug. 1.

"In shaping each season's series, we are challenged to identify timely, front-page topics and fill a need for information from thought-provoking speakers with decidedly differing points of view," Dr. Philip Eliasoph, director of Open VISIONS Forum said recently. "With this in mind, we have shaped the 2007-2008 season with nine passionate speakers intent on piquing our innate curiosity."

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough kicks off the season Thursday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. McCullough has had a long career as an editor, essayist, teacher and lecturer and is also a familiar presence on PBS. Known as a gifted speaker, the author of the monumental biography "Truman" has lectured throughout this country and abroad, including at the White House. This lecture is co-sponsored by the Fairfield Museum and History Center.

On Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. OVF presents the annual Jacoby Lunin Humanitarian Lecture, sponsored by the Carl & Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies at Fairfield University. Appearing this year is The New York Times' two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof. He is multi-lingual and has lived on four continents, reported on six and is the first to share the Pulitzer with his wife, a Times journalist. Together, the couple covered China's Tiananmen Square democracy movement. His columns on the genocide in Darfur, focused attention on the ongoing horror there and won him his second Pulitzer. Kristof is a longtime opponent of the war in Iraq.

On Monday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m., OVF presents William Bennett, former Secretary of Education and co-director of Empower America. The New York Times called him the "leading spokesman of the Traditional Values wing of the Republican Party." Bennett is, however, no stranger to a bi-partisan approach when he is in agreement with Democrats in the pursuit of common purposes. He is the host of the nationally broadcast morning radio show, "Bill Bennett's Morning in America."

Lou Dobbs, anchor and managing editor of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight," will appear on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 8:30 p.m. Called a "populist" by many, Dobbs has metamorphosed from his business-oriented CNN show, "Moneyline" in recent years. He has described himself as one who is, "never neutral on any issue that affects the common good..." And he has warned audiences that, "what you will not see on our broadcast is ‘fair and balanced journalism...' (because) the truth is not ‘fair and balanced.'"

On Sunday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m., the prize-winning NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams takes the stage at the Quick Center. Williams joined NBC in 1993 and has become one of the nation's foremost television journalists. During his time at the network, he has covered virtually every major breaking news event, often on location. He received the industry's highest honor, the George Foster Peabody award for his on-the-spot-coverage of Hurricane Katrina, before and during the storm and for his continued coverage on the storm's aftermath.

On Sunday, Jan. 20 at 3 p.m., OVF, in collaboration with Pequot Library, presents the internationally renowned best-selling author, Joyce Carol Oates. Oates has always plunged into her work with artistic abandon and, as a result, continues to derive enormous personal and professional satisfaction in a career both prolific and honored. In expressing her view of life and work she chooses a quote from the great American author Henry James, "We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art."

Harold Ford, Jr., former U.S. Representative (D-Tenn.), chair of the National Democratic Leadership Council and political contributor to Fox News comes to the Quick Center on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. Ford defies the labels of an easily pigeonholed politician. During his six-term stint in the House, he voted his beliefs, whether conservative or liberal and he narrowly lost his Senate bid in 2006. Time magazine said of Ford that he "and his fellow Generation X black politicians were distinguished from their forebears in Congress..." because of "the realism of their aspirations for higher offices...that older black politicians could only dream of." Ford's appearance is co-sponsored by FUSA.

The saucy culinary writer and New York magazine columnist Gael Greene appears on Monday, March 24 at 8 p.m. through co-sponsorship by Moffly Publications and Westport Magazine. Greene is credited with helping to change the way New Yorkers and many other Americans think about food. Her memoir, "Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess," which was published in 2006, opens a window onto an audacious, enduring, insightful and delicious gastronomic personality.

On Monday, April 14 at 8 p.m., Jon Meacham, managing editor of Newsweek, delivers University College's Ignatian Lecture. Meacham is a New York Times bestselling author - "Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship" and his newest book, "American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation." He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a communicant of St. Thomas Church of Fifth Avenue, where he serves on the Vestry.

Tickets are $45, $50 for David McCullough and Brian Williams. Fairfield University students receive a discount with student ID and a 10% discount is available for a full season subscription. For Patrons and Sponsors, there will be special "meet the guest" opportunities at private receptions. For more information, contact Elizabeth Hastings at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2688. Tickets or subscriptions are available on the Quick Center website at www.quickcenter.com or call the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on July 3, 2007

Vol. 40, No. 2