The final appearance of the Ringling College Library Association’s Town Hall Lecture Series, featuring Ali Wentworth April 9, was also the occasion for the announcement of the speaker line-up for the 2019 series, and it offers quite a range of topics and personalities.
The series begins Monday, Jan. 21, with a talk by basketball star and sports analyst Shaquille O’Neal. A four-time NBA champion, “Shaq” has gone beyond the courts to forge his own successful personal brand, including TV shows, a shoe line and social media/tech products.
A name widely in the news these days will be the second speaker, on Monday, Feb. 4: James Comey, former director of the FBI. Comey, dismissed by President Trump from that position almost a year ago, has a book due for release April 17 entitled A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, one of the most anticipated nonfiction books of the season. Now the Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy at Howard University, Comey will speak about his service in the FBI from 2013-17, but it may be the Q&A after his speech that attracts the most attention.
Next up is tech visionary and founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, speaking Monday, Feb. 18. The success of Wikipedia has also led to the founding of WikiTribune, a groundbreaking ad-free news platform. Wales is also a fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.
A Kennedy comes to the line-up with Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy and herself an attorney who served as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. She’s also the author or editor of 11 New York Times best-selling books on law, civics and poetry and serves as the honorary president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. She will speak Monday, March 4.
Wrapping up the 2019 series on Thursday, April 11, will be Ian Bremmer, the foreign affairs columnist and editor at large for Time Magazine and author of the book Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World. His latest book, Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism, will be published this month. He will discuss global trends and issues.
All five lectures will be presented at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, with both 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. times. Subscription tickets for RCLA members go on sale May 1. Since the series launch, the association has committed to more than $11 million for student scholarships and the support of the Alfred R. Goldstein Library on the Ringling College of Art and Design campus. To become a member, call 309-5100; learn more at rclassociation.org.