Enriching Our Learning Community

A number of annual talks bring accomplished scholars and professionals to campus, and several of these lectures are made possible by the generosity of university alumni.

Claritas Distinguished Lecture in the Sciences

Current Visitor

Mary Lou Zeeman
Stretansky Concert Hall
Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Mary Lou Zeeman is the R. Wells Johnson professor and chair of the mathematics department at Bowdoin College. She specializes in dynamical systems and their application to mathematical biology. Her research interests also include population dynamics, neuroendocrinology and hormone oscillations, climate modeling, sustainability and resilience. She is a co-founder of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Activity Group on the Mathematics of Planet Earth, and codirects the Mathematics and Climate Research Network. She received her Ph.D. in 1989 from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining Bowdoin College in 2006, she spent 15 years on the faculty of the University of Texas, San Antonio.

About the Program

The Distinguished Visitor Program at Susquehanna University was endowed by George E. '64 and Margaret Lauver '66 Harris to support lectures, seminars or residencies by nationally recognized leaders in business, government or education on topics in the public interest. This series brings an accomplished scholar in the sciences to our campus annually for a public address. The public lecture is typically held in the fall of the academic year.

For more information about the lecture, contact Elodie Hardt at hardt@susqu.edu or 570-372-4268.

Past Visitors

  • 2017-18: Richard Robinson, nanoparticles
  • 2016-17: Robert S. Pickart, "In Search of Sinking Water: Wintertime Fieldwork in the North Atlantic Ocean"
  • 2015-16: John Rogers, "Electronics for the Human Body"
  • 2014-15: Bonnie Bassler, Ph.D.-"Tiny Conspiracies: Cell-to-Cell Communication in Bacteria"
  • 2013-14: Sonia Kreidenweis-"Clearing the Air: 25 Years of Visibility Observations in US National Parks ... And What They Tell Us About Our World"
  • 2012-13: Chris Stringer-"The Origin of Our Species"
  • 2011-12: Kerry Ressler-"Fear and its Inhibition: From Mice to Men"
  • 2010-11: Edward O. Wilson-"The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth"
  • 2009-10: Tyrone B. Hayes-"From Silent Spring to Silent Night: A Tale of Toads & Men"
  • 2008-09: Larry R. Squire-"Conscious and Unconscious Memory Systems of the Mammalian Brain"
  • 2007-08: Tim Flannery-"The Weather Makers"
  • 2006-07: Rita Colwell-"Climate, Infectious Disease and Human Health"
  • 2005-06: Jared Diamond-"Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed"

Edward S. and A. Rita Schmidt Lectureship in Ethics

Current Visitor

Ethical Challenges to the Fourth Estate—John M. Baer 

Stretansky Concert Hall
Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m.

Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Baer was tagged in 2002 by the National Journal as one of the nation's top 10 political journalists outside Washington. A graduate of Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland, he holds a master's degree from Temple University, was a congressional fellow in Washington under the auspices of the American Political Science Association and a fellow of Loyola University School of Law's inaugural Journalists Law School program in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, The Nation, American Journalism Review and Columbia Journalism Review. He has appeared on the Fox News Network, CNN, C-SPAN and MSNBC. He is author of the 2012 book On the Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting.

About the Program

The Edward S. and A. Rita Schmidt Lectureship in Ethics seeks to bring to the university a distinguished scholar and/or leader to address a topic of current, vital interest and importance in the field of ethics.
The goal of the program is to highlight ethical issues, across disciplines, and encourage thought and exploration of these issues amongst students, faculty and the community.

This lectureship has been made possible through the generous gifts of Edward R. Schmidt '69, who has emphasized his desire to impart to students an understanding and appreciation for the value and role of ethics in professional and personal endeavors. It is his vision that this lectureship will encourage and promote dialogue on ethical thinking in all areas of academic preparation and contribute to successful personal lives and professional careers upon graduation.

Schmidt has named the lectureship in honor of his parents, Edward S. and A. Rita Schmidt, of Hatboro, Pennsylvania, recognizing that the first teachers of ethics and moral behavior are parents. Schmidt's father, Edward S. Schmidt, is the retired Vice President & Corporate Secretary of Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company. Following his retirement Edward S. Schmidt served as the first Administrator of the Pennsylvania Land Title Institute, a non-profit educational entity providing continuing education to the land title industry throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Edward R. Schmidt received his B.S. in Economics from Susquehanna University and graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 1972. Schmidt is a corporate and real estate attorney with the Indianapolis, Indiana law firm of Krieg DeVault, LLP. He chairs the Tax-Exempt and Nonprofit Organizations practice group and is a former member of the executive committee of the firm. Previously he served as an Executive Vice President of Sallie Mae Inc. Prior to his association with Sallie Mae, Schmidt served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel-Secretary and was a member of the Board of Directors of USA Group Inc., the largest guarantor of student loans in the United States. He is admitted to practice law in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Michigan, in addition to the United States Supreme Court and several federal district and circuit courts. Schmidt remains active and interested in Susquehanna University where he serves the alumni corporation of Theta Chi Fraternity. He and his wife, Donna, are the parents of three adult sons, Jeffrey D. Schmidt, Esq., Todd E. Schmidt, M.D. and Michael J. Schmidt.

Schmidt currently serves on the Board of Directors of United Student Aid Funds, Inc. and Lumina Foundation for Education, Inc. He was a founder and Director of MetroBank, of Indianapolis, and a past Director of Crossroads Rehabilitations Centers of Indianapolis, Fairbanks Hospital and Title Industry Assurance Company. He has served as a member of the Board of Governors of the American Land Title Association. He is a member of several bar associations, including the Indianapolis Bar Association where he has been recognized as a Distinguished Fellow.

By funding this lectureship, Schmidt recognizes and salutes Susquehanna University and its faculty and staff for the profound and formative experience he received while attaining his degree.

For further information, please contact:

Edward S. and A. Rita Schmidt Lectureship in Ethics at Susquehanna University
Telephone: 570-372-4171
Fax: 570-372-2870

Past Visitors

  • Walt Pavlo Jr., "Stolen Without a Gun: Insights Into White-Collar Crime"
  • 2015-16: David Casarett, MD MA, "The Ethics of Medical Marijuana Use"
  • 2013-14 Lecture: Signe S. Gates & Matthew A. Phillips, CPA
  • 2011-12: Kenman Wong, Ph.D.-"Bottom Lines for the Bottom Billions: The Role(s) of Business in Ending Poverty"
  • 2010-11: John Strangfeld-"You've Got Choices" 
  • 2009-10: Karen E. Bohlin, Ed.D.-"Education's Role in Building Character"
  • 2008-09: Michele Goodwin-"Organ Trafficking"
  • 2007-08: Deborah Johnson-"Ethics.com: Watching and Being Watched in Cyberspace" 
  • 2006-07: Judith Daar-"Controversies in Reproductive Medicine: Selecting and Protecting our Children's Future"
  • 2005-06: Murray Sperber-"The Dark Side of College Sports and College Life: A Look at the Ethical Concerns That Undermine and Challenge Undergraduate Education" 

Alice Pope Shade Lecture

Current Visitor


About the Program

Each year, the Department of Religious Studies and the Office of the Chaplain sponsor a lecture by nationally and internationally renowned religious scholars and leaders.

While religious faith is personal, it is never merely private. The lectures typically explore the role religion plays in various aspects of public life: civic, social, spiritual, political, moral, environmental, and in terms of the formation of individual character.

Lecturers are selected by the faculty of the Department of Religious Studies on the basis of their scholarship and their ability to engage students and members of the community meaningfully.

The lectures are made possible by the Alice Pope Shade Fund, established in 1983 by her daughter, Rebecca Shade Mignot '54. Mignot graduated from Susquehanna in 1954 in music education.

Past Visitors

  • 2017-18: Leymah Gbowee
  • 2015-16: Dr. John L. Esposito
  • 2013-2014: The Rev. Dr. William H. Willimon-"Thinking About Jesus in a Post-Christian World " 
  • 2012-13: The Yuval Ron Ensemble-"The Mystical Music of the Middle East"
  • 2011-12: Robert Putnam-"American Grace: How Religion Unites Us and Divides Us"
  • 2010-11: Dean Brackley-"Sustaining the Commitment to Social Justice" 
  • 2009-10: Charles Mathewes-"Faith, Irony, and Power: Niebuhrian Lessons for Liberal Education"
  • 2008-09: Amy-Jill Levine-"The Scandal of a Jewish Jesus"
  • 2007-08: John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker-"The Emerging Alliance of Religion and Ecology" 
  • 2006-07: The Rev. Jim Wallis-"God's Politics" 
  • 2005-06: Guillermo Cuéllar, Donna Peña, Rafael Malpica-Padilla, Bill Dexheimer-Pharris, and Tom Witt-"Hymns of Justice, Solidarity and Peace" 

The Jane Conrad Apple and Joan Apple Zimmerman '48 Fund was established in 1980. The fund sponsors lectures or seminars at Susquehanna University by recognized scholars in the field of Elizabethan studies; supports an annual production of an Elizabethan play; and purchases worthy library holdings related to the Elizabethan period.

The Literature Program Lecture was established in 1977 by the widow and friends of Charles A. Rahter to provide resources to bring to campus prominent scholars in the field of British literature.

The Hilda Karniol Endowment for the Arts was established by her son and daughter-in-law, William and Lynne Karniol, to honor her devotion to the arts and her service to Susquehanna. The income is to be awarded at the discretion of the president of the university for those purposes that will enhance the role of the arts on campus.

The Ottaway-Daily Item Lectureship in Public Affairs was established by Ottaway Newspapers Inc. in 1977. It brings to the Susquehanna campus and Central Pennsylvania men and women of outstanding reputation in the fields of journalism and public affairs.

The Uncommon Individual Foundation Endowed Event Series was established by Richard E. Caruso '65 and Sally Feitig '68 Caruso in honor of James W. Garrett and Robert Pittello, Dr. Caruso's football coaches at Susquehanna, 1961-1965. The purpose of the fund is to help students understand the importance of taking charge of their own lives and learn from the experience of individuals who have successfully developed and realized dreams that others could neither imagine nor believe to be achievable. The fund will underwrite at least one annual event to be focused on one or more individuals who have achieved local, national or international recognition for successfully realizing a vision against seemingly insurmountable odds through their own efforts and determination. While that success could have been achieved in any number of areas including but not limited to business, the arts, sciences, government, volunteerism, or religion, the Fund sponsored event should consistently focus on enabling and encouraging students with the theme of "becoming the entrepreneur of one's own destiny in the pursuit of life, liberty, and personal happiness." The fund will also underwrite the publication and dissemination of the events.

The Stella Freeman Weis Cultural Endowment annually sponsors critically acclaimed artists in performance at Susquehanna. This fund was established in 1976 by Robert and Patricia Weis in memory of his mother.

The Witmer Endowment for the Performing Arts was established in 1981 by the family, friends and business associates of the late Ralph Witmer '15 to perpetuate his lifelong interests in the university and in the Central Susquehanna Valley. The income from this fund is used annually to help support the Susquehanna University Artist Series.

The Dr. Bruce L. Nary Theatre Guest Artist Fund was established for the purpose of bringing to campus recognized professionals in the field of theatre. The goal of the program is to enhance the educational experience of students and others who may benefit from participating in seminars or attending presentations with the selected professionals.

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