Category: Past Speakers (page 1 of 21)

Andrew Wilk, Live from Lincoln Center, January 16, 2019


Andrew Wilk,executive producer and director of the PBS series “Live from Lincoln Center,” will talk about his long career in broadcast entertainment, with particular focus on the last seven years with the Lincoln Center series. Andrew is an experienced television and media executive with a history of creating innovative, award-winning programming. His work has earned five personal Emmy Awards with 15 nominations. He also is an acclaimed playwright, director and accomplished symphony conductor. He was chief creative officer at Sony Music Entertainment, overseeing visual content for Sony’s label groups and leading Sony’s digital music expansion. He was instrumental in the launching of the worldwide National Geographic channel and developed its initial programming. In 2011, Andrew became the second executive producer and director in the 44-year history of “Live from Lincoln Center” and “Lincoln Center at the Movies.” Andrew holds a bachelor’s degree from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He and his family live in Westport.

Arranged by Bud Bain

Bill Rycek, History of Football, January 9, 2019

Bill Rycek will talk about the history of semipro and pro football in Connecticut. This narrative of minor league football teams in Connecticut in the 1960s and 1970s is based on extensive newspaper and periodical research and interviews with nearly 70 former players, broadcasters and journalists. Only a few players – like Marv Hubbard, Lou Piccone and Bob Tucker – made it to the NFL, but many more played for as little as $25 per game in their quest to make it big or just have fun. Wealthy men like Pete Savin and Frank D’Addario owned teams in Hartford and Bridgeport. In the days before cable television saturated the media with live sports, small town fans turned out to support their local heroes, often men who worked on construction crews during the week and stopped by the diner Sunday morning to talk football. Now in their 60s, 70s and 80s, these men share their stories of a simpler era: the good times, like the Hartford Knights’ 1968 ACFL championship season and the long bus rides and missed paydays that were as much a part of minor league ball as first downs and interceptions. Bill is a finance professional from Wallingford who has written eight books on sports history, including a trilogy on 19th century baseball, three books on baseball during the 1960s and two books on professional football in the 1960s. His work has earned a number of awards, and he has edited and contributed to other books and publications on the history of sports.

Arranged by Gehr Brown

David McKillop:“Ten Pillars of Programming”, December 5, 2018

David McKillop will talk about “Ten Pillars of Programming.” It’s a personal look as to how nonfiction TV shows, such as reality series and documentaries, are developed inside a network. It includes insights into how to develop, nurture and grow creative teams within a traditional corporate environment. David is a seasoned American producer who has developed and delivered popular cable hits on three networks: A&E, History and Discovery. David most recently served as chief creative officer and partner of Propagate, a multiplatform production company funded by A&E Network. Prior to this, he was general manager of A&E Network, where he was instrumental in the development and production of the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning feature documentary “Cartel Land,” cable’s most-watched nonfiction series of all time “Duck Dynasty” and the record-breaking hit series “Storage Wars.” Earlier in his career, he was vice president of production for Discovery Channel and then senior vice president at the History channel. His credits include the Emmy award-winning documentaries “Gettysburg” and “102 Minutes that Changed America.”

Arranged by Sunil Saksena

Speaker video:

James von Klemperer: “Building One Vanderbilt Place:, Wednesday, November 28, 2018

James von Klemperer will focus on architectural design and other factors associated with the creation and construction of super tall buildings, including the 435-meter skyscraper currently being erected at One Vanderbilt Place next door to Grand Central Station. James serves as the president and design principal of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, PC. He has been responsible for the design of major commissions throughout North America, Europe and Asia. James has lectured at Harvard University, Columbia University, Miami University, Smith College and Ecole Speciale d’Architecture in Paris, as well as at congresses in Jakarta, Seoul and Mexico. He served on the Zoning Board of Appeals in Darien from 1996 to 2003. He is an active member of ULI, as well as the Institute for Urban Design. His work abroad includes the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Nicosia; Dongbu Financial Center, winner of an Honor Award from the AIA New York City Chapter; and 30 Hill Street in Singapore on the site of the former U.S. embassy. James is working on New Songdo City, a 1,500-acre free trade zone in Korea. His work in the United States includes the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse in New York City, which was the recipient of the 1996 General Services Administration Design Award; the Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C., winner of an Honor Award from the Washington, D.C., Chapter of the AIA; 640 Fifth Avenue, winner of a New York construction newsletter: “Best of 2004 Renovation Award of Merit”; and the award-winning Mohegan Sun Resort hotel, casino and arena in northern Connecticut. James received a B.A. from Harvard University, a master of architecture from Trinity College, Cambridge and a master of architecture from Princeton University.

Arranged by Tom Haack

Speaker video:

Richard Frisch: “From Grunts to Tweets, the History of Human Communication” , Nov 7, 2018

Richard Frisch will speak on “From Grunts to Tweets, the History of Human Communication.” He will discuss why speech arose and why Homo sapiens is the only species to develop language. His talk will focus on four topics: development of spoken language, development of written language, electric/electronic communication, and neural communication in the present and future. Richard has been entertaining and informing groups about technology topics for over a decade. Recent presentations have been “Is Privacy Dead?” “The History of Recorded Sound,” and “How Big Data, Neuroscience and Psychology Are Used to Manipulate Us.” Richard runs RHFtech, providing technology guidance and support to small businesses. He was an executive in the financial services sector for 30 years. He has a B.S. in physical anthropology from Duke University and an M.B.A. from Harvard University. He and his wife Marianne and have lived in Weston for more than three decades. They have one daughter, an attorney who works for the Department of Justice.

Arranged by Andre Guilbert


Speaker video:

Book Discussion:The Spy and the Traitor : the Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben Macintyre, Dec 12, 2018

Oleg Gordievsky was a spy like no other. The product of a KGB family and the best Soviet institutions, the savvy Russian eventually saw the lies and terrors of the regime for what they were, a realization that turned him irretrievably toward the West. His career eventually brought him to the highest post in the KGB’s London station-but throughout that time he was secretly working for MI6, the British intelligence service”-

Richard E. Hyman
Journeys With Cousteau and the Crew of Calypso, Oct 10, 2018

Richard Hyman will be sharing stories and photographs about his time working for the famed Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
Richard was a professional diver and photographer for Cousteau. He worked his way up the ladder, first driving a supply truck from L.A. to the Canadian wilderness and there building a cabin with Cree Indians for the Cousteau team to winter in and film Beavers of the North Country. A year later, as a deck hand aboard Calypso, they filmed The Incredible Migration of the Spiny Lobsters in Mexico, before sailing south to Belize, where they filmed the spawning of thousands of grouper, The Fish that Swallowed Jonah. Singer songwriter John Denver paid a visit and performed a televised concert on Calypso’s foredeck. On Richard’s final expedition he graduated to diver and photographer, where en route to Venezuela, he experienced treacherous deep dives on the wreck of the USS Monitor off North Carolina, skeletons inside wrecks off Martinique, and the death of Jacques Cousteau’s son, Philippe.
Richard is a PADI-certified Aquanaut, a member of the Marine Biology Hall of Fame, and a Trustee of the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center.

Stories about life aboard Calypso and Cousteau, once one of the most recognized names in the world, should interest most everybody, particularly adventurers, Denver fans, divers, environmentalists, photographers, travel buffs, and videographers.
Mobile 203-456-4271





As a kid, I spent as much time as possible under water. Cousteau was my hero.  Here is a video that is sure to be an earworm as you enjoy this talk. Gary

Aye Calypso the places you’ve been to
The things that you’ve shown us
The stories you tell
Aye Calypso, I sing to your spirit
The men who have served you so long and so well

(We’ll avoid the yodeling part.)

Leigh Shemitz, Ph.D., president of SoundWaters, October 31, 2018

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 

Leigh Shemitz, Ph.D., president of SoundWaters, will discuss its mission to educate children and adults about Long Island Sound and the human impact on the environment. Under her leadership, SoundWaters has expanded its outreach and been the recipient of numerous awards for its work in protecting Long Island Sound through education.  She also serves on the board of directors of the Stamford Environmental Protection Board and is on the board of directors of the Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens. Dr. Shemitz is an emeritus board member of the Urban Resources Initiative in New Haven. In 2005-2006, concurrent with her position at SoundWaters, she served as a research affiliate at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Before joining SoundWaters, Dr. Shemitz was a lecturer at Yale, researching the connection between the environment and human well-being. She was in the Peace Corps as a forester in the Republic of Mali, West Africa. Dr. Shemitz earned a bachelor of arts degree in history and literature from Harvard University and a master’s degree in forest science and a Ph.D. in environmental health from Yale University. She studied nonprofit management at Harvard Business School’s Executive Education program.

Arranged by Robin Hogen

Speaker video:

Nelson Tebbe, Ph.D., The First Amendment,October 17, 2018

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 

Nelson Tebbe, Ph.D., will speak about the current state of First Amendment law covering freedom of religion and freedom of speech. He will focus on Justice Kennedy’s final opinions and discuss how the Supreme Court’s doctrine may change with Judge Kavanaugh on the court. Dr. Tebbe is professor of law at Cornell Law School. His research focuses on constitutional law, political theory and the academic study of religion – in particular, the relationship between religious traditions and democratic governments. Dr. Tebbe is the author of Religious Freedom in an Egalitarian Age, where he examines the contemporary conflict between free exercise and equality law. He argues for a way forward that vigorously protects civil rights while safeguarding the ability of religious traditionalists to dissent. He also is co-author of an upcoming case book, Religious Liberty and Secular Government: Cases and Materials. As a media commentator, he has published opinion pieces in Slate, The New York Times, SCOTUSblog, Balkinization, and the Daily News. Before teaching, Dr. Tebbe clerked for Judge John M. Walker, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and practiced law at the American Civil Liberties Union and at Davis Polk & Wardwell. A graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, he holds a Ph.D. with distinction in the academic study of religion from the University of Chicago Divinity School. After college, he was a Fulbright Scholar studying at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Arranged by Roger Renz



Joel Blatt: The Misunderstood Treaty of Versailles, Oct 3, 2018

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 

Professor Joel Blatt, Ph.D., will speak on “The Misunderstood Treaty of Versailles.” He will focus on the Rhineland compromise, as well as the reparations settlements of the treaty. He believes the view of the treaty as being unfairly hard on Germany is inaccurate. The talk will assert that the Versailles Treaty is one of the most misunderstood major events of the 20th century. Dr. Blatt has taught European history at the University of Connecticut, in both Storrs and Stamford, for more than 40 years. He is a six-time recipient of the UConn-Stamford Outstanding Teacher Award. He also teaches a course on the Holocaust, modern western traditions, and personality and power in the 20th century. Dr. Blatt received a B.A. from Cornell and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Rochester.


Arranged by Sunil Saksena


Speaker video:

Suzanne Lio: The Bruce Museum, Sep 26, 2018

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Suzanne Lio will talk about the Bruce Museum’s current educational programming and the museum’s plans to double in size, thus expanding opportunities for the museum and its patrons. Suzanne is managing director, where she develops strategic plans to raise vital operational funds and spearheads unique programs and community projects. She also is chief liaison between the museum and various municipal agencies, overseeing the sustainability of the public-private partnership with the Town of Greenwich. Susan came to the Bruce Museum nearly five years ago with a background in education and grant writing. As senior grant evaluation manager for American Education Solutions, she coordinated the evaluation of millions of dollars in competitive education grants for school districts across the nation. She is a passionate advocate for equality, excellence and diversity in museum education and believes in giving back to the community through active membership and volunteerism at organizations such as the Jennifer Fante Foundation and Shared Harvest Garden in Killingworth, Conn., where she was born. Suzanne holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Pace University and currently is seeking a master’s degree in arts administration at Baruch College in Manhattan.

Arranged by Frank Johnson

Speaker video:

Sandra Miklave & Johnathan Yates: History of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, Sep 19, 2018

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Sandra Miklave and Jonathan Yates will talk about the history of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, including an overview of the upcoming 79th season. They will also discuss the orchestra’s educational outreach programs and provide a view of its future. Sandra joined the orchestra in April 2018 as executive director. She also serves as board chair of Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk. Sandra has been a museum volunteer since 1998 and a board member since 2004. Sandra is a leader in the Norwalk community, serving as an officer or volunteer on many local educational and community organizations. She earned her B.A. in political science and economics at Manhattanville College and her master’s degree in organizational leadership at Quinnipiac University. She lives in Norwalk with her husband Matt and their three sons. Jonathan Yates, music director, Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, is a driving force in reinvigorating the relationship between the symphony and the community. He revived the popular (Not) Just For Kids educational outreach program and collaborates with local cultural, religious and civic organizations. His first performance was at the age of 23, leading the National Symphony Orchestra in a Millennium Stages Concert. The following year, he debuted at Carnegie Hall as a pianist in the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshop. He has led the Norwalk Youth Symphony on successful tours in this country and abroad. Jonathan received his B.A. degree from Harvard University, his M.S. degree from the State University of New York and his graduate diploma in conducting from the Juilliard School. He is music director emeritus of Camerata Notturna, a chamber orchestra in New York City, and serves on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College.

Arranged by Bob McGroarty

Speaker video: http://

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