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Northwestern University

Richard W. Leopold Lecture

Elizabeth Kolbert

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 | 5 PM CT

The Weinberg College community is invited to the 33rd Annual Richard W. Leopold Lecture, delivered this year by author Elizabeth Kolbert who will discuss her book, Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Futureon October 12, 2022 at 5pm CT at Cahn Auditorium

A moderated Q&A session will be held at the end of the talk.


About the Speaker 

Elizabeth Kolbert

Elizabeth Kolbert has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1999 and is the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe and The Sixth Extinction, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 2015. Her most recent book, Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future, was a national bestseller and was recommended by both Barack Obama and Bill Gates, as well as named one of the best books of 2021 by the Washington Post, TIME, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Smithsonian Magazine. Elizabeth Kolbert is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the prestigious Heinz Award in the Environment, which recognizes individuals for their work in confronting environmental concerns, as well as the Blake-Dodd Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2021, Kolbert was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  

Past Leopold Lecturers

richard-haass.jpgOctober 18, 2021 - Dr. Richard Haass delivers Leopold Lecture "The World: A Brief Introduction."

Watch Dr. Richard HAASS's lecture

applebaum.jpgOctober 8, 2020 - Anne Applebaum delivers Leopold Lecture "Twighlight of Democracy."

Watch anne applebaum's lecture

schiff.jpgOctober 3, 2019 - U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff delivers Leopold Lecture, “The Threat to Liberal Democracy at Home and Abroad."

Watch Adam Schiff's lecture
fox.jpgOctober 16, 2018 - Former president of Mexico Vicente Fox delivers Leopold Lecture, "Perspectives and Challenges in U.S.-Mexico Relationships"

David ColeOctober 24, 2017 -David Cole, national legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union delivers Leopold Lecture, “We’ll See You in Court: The Defense of Liberty in the Era of Trump” 

October 12, 2016 - Jill Lepore, David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker, delivers Leopold Lecture, "The Question of History and the Answer of History."

Richard W. Leopold Lecture

Richard W. LeopoldThe Leopold Lecture series has brought a variety of distinguished speakers to the Northwestern campus, including U.S. Senators Russ Feingold and Richard Lugar, presidential nominee George McGovern and former Mexico President Vicente Fox.

Professor Leopold’s undergraduate students established the Richard W. Leopold Lectureship within the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in 1990 to honor the late eminent diplomatic historian and dedicated educator. For more than 40 years, most of them at Northwestern, Leopold distinguished himself as an attentive teacher.

Generations of undergraduate students, many of whom enjoy successful careers as educators, writers, lawyers and public officials, remember Leopold’s scholarship, teaching and friendship. The lectureship honors Leopold’s contribution to the University and recognizes his enduring influence on the lives of his students.

Richard W. Leopold, William Smith Mason Professor of History Emeritus, enjoyed a distinguished career as a scholar and teacher. Graduating from Princeton University in 1933, he received his doctorate in 1938 from Harvard University. After 11 years on the Harvard faculty and as a naval officer in Washington, D.C., he came to Northwestern University in 1948.

In subsequent years, he became a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and a Northwestern University President’s Fellow. In 1976, he received a distinguished teaching award in the College, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and was elected president of the Organization of American Historians. Leopold wrote The Growth of American Foreign Policy: A History; Elihu Root and the Conservative Tradition, and Robert Dale Owen: A Biography, as well as many articles and reviews. His work has been recognized by the Organization of American Historians, which established the bi-annual Richard W. Leopold Prize for a distinguished book by a government historian and in 1992 gave Leopold its Distinguished Service Award. In addition to his work within the University, Leopold served on numerous government committees concerned with preserving historical data. Professor Leopold passed away in Evanston in 2006 at age 94.

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