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Comey, Steinem, Leno among lineup for 2018-2019 St. Louis Speakers Series

James Comey, Jay Leno, Gloria Steinem and Jeb Bush are among the distinguished personalities coming to Powell Hall during the 2018/2019 season of the St. Louis Speakers Series.

stlouisspeakerserieslogoPresented by Maryville University and featuring some of today’s most celebrated, influential and sometimes controversial characters, the 2018-2019 Series will offer a total of seven evenings of thought-provoking perspectives and lively intellectual entertainment. The complete list of presenters, in order of appearance, follows.

Oct. 9, 2018: James Comey – The 2018-2019 series will kick off with what’s sure to be a fascinating presentation by Comey, who was appointed Deputy US Attorney General by President George W. Bush; appointed FBI Director in 2013 by President Obama; and, ultimately, fired in 2017 by President Trump amidst political storms regarding the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Comey’s firing and public statements led, in part, to the appointment of a special investigator, Robert Mueller.

Oct. 30, 2018: Lisa Genova – A neuroscientist who received her Ph.D. from Harvard, Genova will take the stage to engage the audience with an insightful discussion about the human brain and neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, and what we can do to prevent them. She has written several books, including the best-selling novel Still Alice, which was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film.

Nov. 13, 2018: Gloria Steinem: Attendees will get a first-hand perspective from journalist and political activist Gloria Steinem, an internationally recognized icon of the women’s liberation movement. Steinem, who was a columnist for New York magazine and co-founded Ms. magazine in 1972, has also helped launch many organizations to advocate for women’s issues, including the Women’s Media Center.

Jan. 22, 2019: Jeb Bush – Florida’s only two-term Republican governor, Jeb Bush, served in that position from 1999-2007 and returned to the political spotlight in 2016, as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Bush serves as Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a national nonprofit organization he founded to transform education in America. His presentation will draw on his storied political, professional and personal life.

Feb. 26, 2019: Bryan Stevenson – As founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, Stevenson has challenged bias in the criminal justice system and helped achieve court decisions that prohibit sentencing children under the age of 18 to death or life imprisonment without parole. Audience members will appreciate his impassioned thoughts on this important topic and reflections on his memoir, Just Mercy, which was featured as one of Time magazine’s “10 Best Books of Nonfiction” in 2014.

March 19, 2019: Ian Bremmer – Founder of Eurasia Group, the leading global political risk research firm, Bremmer will share insights from his years of providing analysis and expertise to diplomats and heads of state on how political developments and national security dynamics impact financial markets across the globe. He is regularly featured on CNN and the BBC and is a foreign affairs columnist for Time.

April 30, 2019: Jay Leno – Wrapping up on what is sure to be a humorous note, the 2018-2019 series will conclude with a conversation with late night TV favorite Jay Leno. After performing stand-up comedy for years, Leno became host of NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno after Johnny Carson’s retirement in 1992. Leno dominated the late-night TV ratings for more than two decades. He hosted his last episode of The Tonight Show in 2014 and currently hosts Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC.

“The lineup for this year’s Speakers Series is among our most fascinating ever, and Maryville University is thrilled to give the public the opportunity to hear from, and engage with, such a diverse, colorful and entertaining group of individuals,” said Dr. Mark Lombardi, president of Maryville University. “One of the long-term subscribers to the series has commented that it never gets old listening to brilliance while simultaneously being entertained, and we’re confident that will be the take away for each of this year’s attendees.”

Tickets for the 2018-2019 St. Louis Speakers Series are available now by visiting or by calling 314-534-1700. As in years past, the series is sold by subscription, with subscribers guaranteed admission to hear all seven dynamic speakers. Subscriptions for the entire series range from $315 – $455. All presentations will begin at 8 p.m. and each includes a spirited Q&A period during which the speaker addresses questions from the audience.

Presented by Maryville University, the St. Louis Speakers Series is sponsored by PNC Bank, Nine Network of Public Media, St. Louis Public Radio and Polsinelli. For more information about the 2018-2019 St. Louis Speakers Series, visit


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