Take a step back in time and enjoy a brief tour, guided by some of Washington University in St. Louis’ most significant visitors.

Since 1953, the series has presented more than one thousand people representing some of the most important voices of our time. Over the decades they were our leaders and visionaries, pioneering scientists and genre breaking artists, public intellectuals and performers, Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners, Supreme Court justices and entrepreneurs. They came to campus to share their insights and messages, and to interact with us. While the series no longer enjoys a set schedule, the tradition of speakers interacting with our students, faculty, staff, friends, and visitors lives on in the receptions, booksignings, classroom visits, informal discussions, and dining experiences that happen while they are on campus.

Here you can find a partial list of past programs by semester. This list will continue to be updated. For specific information that isn’t available here, please contact the University Archives for assistance at 314-935-5495 or at its website.

As the website continues to be updated, past speakers’ lists will be searchable by general topic of their talk.

Notable Past Speakers

Eleanor Roosevelt

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt served as First Lady from 1933 – 1945. She was also a politician, diplomat and activist. The first of two lectures Roosevelt presented here, in 1954, was titled, “The United Nations: Our Strongest Ally.”

Harold Ramis

The screenwriter, director, actor and producer returned to his alma mater several times, and delivered three Assembly Series addresses (most recently in 2009). He also served two terms on the Board of Trustees, and handled Homecoming’s master of ceremonies duties in 1984.

Julian Bond

Julian Bond was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and activist for social equality and liberty for all people. On (insert date) 2011, he delivered his lecture “Post Racial America: Fact or Fiction.”

Maurice Sendak

The beloved children’s author Maurice Sendak spoke on campus more than once, but on Nov. 29, 1989 his talk was on “Creative Theft.”