Lecture Series

Ethical Thinking in Modern Times

This lecture series at Saint John's University brings to campus leading figures from the media and culture to engage the community in a conversation on the ethical and intellectual challenges of their work in the context of these global times. The University Chair in Critical Thinking at Saint John's University sponsors this series with additional support from other programs and departments on campus.


National correspondent for The Atlantic, commentator for National Public Radio, and author James Fallows joins in conversation with Gary Eichten, Minnesota Public Radio news editor at large.  For video, Fallows/Eichten. For MPR audio,  Fallows/Eichten.

Dan Barry

Dan Barry, an author and New York Times columnist, presented a reading and conversation from his most recent book "Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption and Baseball's Longest Game" at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, at the Saint John's Pottery Studio.   For more information, BARRY

Anthony Bukoski

On September 14, 2011, we welcomed Anthony Bukoski to our campus.  Bukoski has published four other collections of short stories: Children of Strangers (1993), Polonaise (1998), Time Between Trains (2003), and Twelve below Zero (2008).  He has been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize and received the first award for literature by the Polish Institute of Houston.   For more information, BUKOSKI


Peter Quinn 

Peter Quinn, novelist, memorist and foremost chronicler of New York City and especially its Irish-American community. visited Saint John's University in Collegeville, MN,  for a reading and discussion about his latest book, The Man Who Never Returned.  For more information, Quinn


 Patrick Hicks

Patrick Hicks visited Saint John's University on March 2, 2011 to read and discuss his most recent book of poetry, This London.  He is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Finding the Gossamer (2008), This London (2010), and he is also the editor of A Harvest of Words: Contemporary South Dakota Poetry (2010). His work has appeared in such journals as Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, Virginia Quarterly Review, Natural Bridge, New Ohio Review, and many others.   For more information, HICKS


Marv Davidov and Carol Masters were our guests on January 29, 2010 in the Pottery Studio at Saint John's.  They shared with us their reflections from Marv's recently published biography, 'You Can Do That."  For more information, DAVIDOV

Carol Connolly joined us on October 14, 2009, for an an evening of poetry and conversation.  For more information, CONNOLLY

Senator Chuck Hagel spoke to us on 'America Our Next Chapter: Tough Questions....Strait Answers," on September 23 in the Stephen B. Humphrey Theater.  For more information, HAGEL




2007-2008 Series

J. Peter Scoblic

This year our speaker is J. Peter Scoblic, Executive Editor of The New Republic and author of U.S. v. Them: Conservatism and George W. Bush in the Age of Nuclear Terror. Scoblic will speak at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, April 21, 2008 in the Centenary Room at Saint John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota.


2006-2007 Series

E. J. Dionne

E. J. Dionne is the inaugural speaker at the Eugene J. McCarthy Lecture Series.  Dionne praised McCarthy as a "poetic Isaiah whose plain literacy puts many other politicians to shame" and that rare politician "willing to stand alone in the hope that, once in a while, something good might happen."  Learn more about his visit: Dionne

Audio Link: MPR's MIDDAY
Text: SJU Lecture

Charles Simic

Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Charles Simic holds a free public reading while conducting a residency on Nov. 14-17 at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University.

Learn more about his visit here.

2005-2006 Series

Lech Walesa

The 2005-06 series began with a guest lecture by Lech Walesa, former President of Poland.

Read more about Walesa's visit to CSB/SJU. 

2004-2005 Series

S. Cyril Mooney

The series in 2004-2005 began with a conversation called "From the Streets of Calcutta: Teaching the Homeless and the Rural Poor of India" by S. Cyril Mooney of Loreto Day School in Sealdah, Calcutta.

To learn more, about S. Cyril, read her profile.

Previous Speakers

Anne Fadiman

Anne Fadiman

Anne Fadiman is an author, essayist, and editor who touched many hearts on the evening of September 22, 2003 at Saint John's University as she spoke on her book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors and the Collision of Two Cultures.

Fadiman's first book chronicles the trials of an epileptic Hmong child and her family living in Merced, California. Fadiman's sensitive, incisive treatment of the unbreachable gulf between the Hmong and American medical systems won her a 1997 National Book Critics Circle Award.

To download an audio file of her talk, visit Evening Talk. For more information, visit Anne Fadiman at Barclay Agency.

James Fallows

James Fallows

Award winning author and national correspondent for The Atlantic, James Fallows spoke on March 11, 2003 at Saint John's University on the imminent and long term perils of the Bush administration's unfolding war in Iraq.

Speaking to a record crowd that filled the auditorium and adjoining halls, Fallows focused on the complex diplomatic, historical and ethical issues of Washington's drive to war and our projected occupation of Iraq.

To download an audio file of the talk, visit Iraq The Fifty-first State. Earlier, Fallows was the featured guest on MPR MIDDAY. To download his commentary and Q&A with the audience, visit MIDDAY. Read more about Fallows and find additional links to his articles on Iraq and related media commentaries at About James Fallows.

Abraham Verghese

Abraham Verghese

The Spring '02 lecture was given by the acclaimed physician and author Abraham Verghese who spoke on "The Search for Meaning in the Medical Profession" and the lessons learned from his memoir of HIV/AIDS, My Own Country.

"It was the gentleness of his voice," one Saint John's student replied when asked what most struck him about the talk by Verghese on campus.

Verghese visited Saint John's University and spoke to on the theme of "The Search for Meaning in Medical Life" as part of the Ethical Thinking in Global Times Lecture Series. Speaking to a full house, Verghese alternated from at times reading selected passages from his nationally acclaimed memoir, My Own Country, to sharing his reflections on lessons learned from a plague that transformed his profession, community and personal life.

In the end, Verghese dared to accept the challenge implied in the title of his talk and told us what his search for meaning revealed.  To listen to his talk, click Verghese.

Brenda Wilson

Brenda Wilson

A previous lecture brought NPR's Brenda Wilson to speak on the AIDS pandemic in South Africa.

Download a file of Ms. Wilson's report. 

Fred de Sam Lazaro

Fred de Sam Lazaro

Fred de Sam Lazaro of "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer" presented a lecture in which he spoke of the challenges of covering issues of globalization in our time.

Read a report of Mr. de Sam Lazaro's visit.