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Bolton will kick off Powell Hall Speaker Series this fall

From left: Bill Nye, Jamie Metzl and John Bolton.

The show must go on. Powell Hall said this week it continues planning for the illustrious lineup of speakers that will mark the 23rd season of Maryville University’s St. Louis Speakers Series, including Ambassador John Bolton, former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Bill Nye The Science Guy, author Walter Isaacson and activist Tarana Burke.

“At this time, the event coordinators are expecting to proceed with the 2020-2021 season of the St. Louis Speakers Series as planned,” a spokeswoman said Friday, responding to ongoing coronavirus concerns.

Presented by Maryville University and featuring some of the world’s “most celebrated, influential and sometimes controversial personalities of our time,” the 2020-2021 Series will offer seven evenings of thought-provoking discussion and powerful perspectives.

“For more than two decades, Maryville University has been proud to welcome fascinating lineups of brilliant speakers to the region for the popular St. Louis Speakers Series, and this upcoming season will be no exception with such a diverse and engaging group of individuals set to take the stage,” said Dr. Mark Lombardi, president of Maryville University.

The complete list of speakers, in order of appearance, follows.

Sept. 29, 2020: John Bolton – The 2020-2021 series will start out with what’s sure to be an enlightening presentation by Bolton, who served as the National Security Advisor to President Trump from 2018 to 2019. Known for favoring a strong U.S. foreign and defense policy, he was appointed United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006 by President George W. Bush.

Oct. 27, 2020: Platon – Platon’s portraits of world leaders have been featured on more than 25 Time magazine covers. A genius behind the camera, he is also a master storyteller who shares behind-the-camera tales from his experiences with some of the world’s most iconic personalities, such as Vladimir Putin, Aung San Suu Kyi, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Muammar Gaddafi.

Nov. 23, 2020: Walter Isaacson – Isaacson’s biographical works will be at the forefront of his presentation and have focused heavily on genius, including Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs. A Professor of History at Tulane University, he is the former CEO of the Aspen Institute and has been chairman of CNN and editor of Time magazine.

Jan. 19, 2021: Tarana Burke – The Speakers Series will continue in January 2021 with an insightful presentation by Burke, a civil rights activist from the Bronx. Long before the hashtag #MeToo went viral with the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Burke was the one who coined the phrase “Me Too” to raise awareness of sexual abuse and assault. She was honored as one of The Silence Breakers collectively named Time’s 2017 Person of the Year.

Feb. 16, 2021: Jamie Metzl – Metzl’s latest book, “Hacking Darwin,” explores the future of our species as scientists turn science fiction into reality with the genetic engineering revolution. A technology and healthcare futurist, Metzl was appointed to the World Health Organization’s advisory committee on global standards for the governance and oversight of human genome editing.

March 30, 2021: Theresa May – Attendees will have the rare opportunity to hear directly from May, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. As only the second woman in British history to hold that position, May became Prime Minster after the historic Brexit referendum and shares unique insight about how politics, technology and business intersect at a time of profound global change.

April 20, 2021: Bill Nye – The 2020-2021 series will conclude with an evening that will challenge minds and spark laughter as Bill Nye The Science Guy takes the stage. Nye is a television personality, best-selling author, and CEO of The Planetary Society. True to his personal mission, he helps foster a scientifically literate society, using his infectious blend of curiosity and humor to help people understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work.

“Maryville University is devoted to its mission of being an innovative leader in higher education and promoting a revolution in student learning that expands access and opportunities for all,” said Lombardi. “The St. Louis Speakers Series supports that mission by serving as an elite continuing education course that consistently features compelling national and global figures whose differing viewpoints and experiences challenge audience members while helping to enrich the cultural and intellectual life of our community.”

Tickets for the 2020-2021 St. Louis Speakers Series are available now by visiting As in years past, the series is sold by subscription only, with subscribers guaranteed admission to hear all seven speakers. Subscriptions for the entire series range from $345 – $475. Each presentation 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 Law Firm. For more information about the 2020-2021 St. Louis Speakers Series, visit

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