Lecture Series

IMPORTANT information

Fridays 1:30 – 2:30 pm

All lectures are held in the Lecture Hall, Room A-101 on the first floor of the Spring Valley Building, 4801 Massachusetts Ave. NW.

The Lecture Hall holds 105 people. Reservations are required on Eventbrite and open at 9:00 am on the Wednesday before the lecture. We email a reminder that registration is open. Each registrant may reserve up to two seats. Your name must be on the Eventbrite list to enter the lecture. You must be seated five minutes before the lecture begins to guarantee your seat. Read more below about using Eventbrite.


Friday, September 29 — David Hoffman
The Billion Dollar Spy
David Hoffman is the author of one of the best spy stories ever told. Based on 944 pages of cables between CIA operatives in Moscow and Washington, Hoffman pieced together the true story of Adolf Tolkachev, the most valuable spy America ever recruited in Russia. The spy’s photographs of Soviet weapon specs are estimated to have saved the US over $2 billion in weapons research and development. Tolkachev, embittered by the execution and exile of his wife’s parents, evaded detection for six years before his betrayal.
David Hoffman is a contributing editor and serves on the editorial board of The Washington Post. He was the Post’s White House correspondent during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and then bureau chief in Jerusalem and Moscow. He is a correspondent for the PBS investigative series, FRONTLINE, and author of three books. His book, The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010.
Register on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/olli-lecture-david-hoffman-the-billion-dollar-spy-tickets-37815903385 

Friday, October 6 — David Keene and Tom Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright at 150
The sesquicentennial of the birth of Frank Lloyd Wright has triggered an outpouring of exhibitions, books, and lectures on the architect and his work. The man The American Institute of Architects called “the greatest American architect of all time” designed hundreds of structures, of which some 425 are still standing. Bill Keene, an architectural and urban studies historian, will present an overview of Wright’s remarkable legacy and interview Tom Wright, a volcanologist and Wright’s grandson, on his work as an apprentice in Wright’s Wisconsin studio.
Bill Keene is an authority on Wright who has led Wright seminars and tours for the Smithsonian, the National Building Museum, and other institutions. He has taught urban history at Pepperdine University and urban studies at the University of Southern California. He is currently a Senior Energy Analyst working at the Department of Energy. Tom Wright is the grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright. He worked as a teenager as a Taliesin Fellow in his grandfather’s Wisconsin studio. Tom is an Emeritus Geologist at the US Geological Survey, an expert on volcanoes, and a Research Associate in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department at Johns Hopkins University.
Register on Eventbrite:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/olli-lecture-david-keene-tom-wright-frank-lloyd-wright-at-150-tickets-37816309600

Friday, October 13 — Alice M. Rivlin
Saving American Democracy: Can We Bridge the Partisan Divide?
If you listen to political rhetoric, you’d think Americans face a dismal economic future. Nonsense, says Alice Rivlin, an expert in monetary, fiscal, and health policy. Sure, there are challenges — an aging population, rapid technological change, global warming, increasing inequality — but America has the resources to lead the world in managing them. The biggest obstacle is our lost ability to work together across partisan and ideological divides.
Alice M. Rivlin is a Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. She was the founding Director of the Congressional Budget Office, served as Chair of the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority (generally called the Control Board), as Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the first Clinton Administration, and as Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve. She is currently writing a book on how to restore civil discourse and bipartisan problem-solving to American political life.
Register on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/olli-lecture-alice-m-rivlin-saving-american-democracy-tickets-37816397864

Friday, October 20 — A’Lelia Bundles
A Family Story: Madam C. J. Walker and A'Lelia Walker
Author and journalist A’Lelia Bundles will discuss her great-great-grandmother, Madam C. J. Walker — the early twentieth-century, African-American entrepreneur and philanthropist — who revolutionized the hair care industry and helped finance the NAACP’s anti-lynching movement. She’ll discuss her research on her four books about Madam Walker and her in-progress biography of her great-grandmother, A’Lelia Walker, whose parties and arts patronage helped define the Harlem Renaissance. The Walker womens’ lives span American history from the Civil War through the Great Depression and provide context for a more expansive interpretation of women and African Americans. View a brief video introduction of Madam C. J. Walker and A'Lelia Bundles.
A’Lelia Bundles is the author of  On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker, a biography of her great-great-grandmother, which has been optioned for a television series featuring Oscar-award winner, Octavia Spencer. Bundles is Chair of the Board of the National Archives Foundation and a Vice Chair of Columbia University’s Board of Trustees. She spent 30 years as a producer and executive with NBC News and ABC News.
Register on Eventbrite:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/olli-lecture-alelia-bundles-a-family-story-madam-c-j-walker-and-alelia-walker-tickets-37816565365

Friday, October 27 — TOWN HALL MEETING
Room A, First Floor
Register on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/olli-2017-town-hall-friday-oct-27-130-pm-tickets-39082699406

Friday, November 3 — Eric Lohr
The Bolshevik Revolution: Reflections on the Centenary
Did the Bolshevik Revolution 100 years ago transform Russia and change the course of history, or mark a step back into deep Russian historical patterns? What would the alternative histories of Russia look like had a band of extremists with few followers in 1916 not beaten extreme odds to seize and hold power? Would Russia have gone fascist? Would the empire have withered away into relatively weak independent states with a moderately powerful Russian state emerging as the hegemon in the neighborhood? Did anything really change in the 100 years since the revolution, or did Russia in 1991 simply pick up where it left off in 1917?
Eric Lohr is Chair of the History Department at American University who has lectured widely, including in Russia, on the Bolshevik Revolution. He received his MA and PhD from Harvard University, where he was as an assistant professor of history. He is the author of  Russian Citizenship: From Empire to Soviet Union, Nationalizing the Russian Empire: The Campaign Against Enemy Aliens During World War I, and is currently writing The Brothers Trubetskoi: Russian Liberals Between Regime and Revolution and Russia 1914/1918: From Total Mobilization to Total Demobilization.
Register on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/olli-lecture-eric-lohr-the-bolshevik-revolution-reflections-on-the-centenary-tickets-37816752926

Friday, November 10 — Jeffrey Herbst
Can We Trust the News?
Americans' trust of the media has been declining for 20 years, in part because of concerns about bias. The advent of fake news spread via social media has raised additional questions about the validity of “news.” Finally, the financial model supporting traditional news providers is collapsing. Amidst all of this, what news can we trust and what are the implications for an informed citizenry that is the basis of democracy?
Jeffrey Herbst is the former President and CEO of the Newseum and the Newseum Institute in Washington, DC. From 2010 to 2015, he was President of Colgate University. Previously, he served as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Political Science at Miami University in Ohio. For 18 years, he taught at Princeton University, where he also earned his bachelor’s degree. Herbst earned a master’s degree and a doctorate from Yale University. He is the author of the award-winning States and Power in Africa and a co-author of the just-published  Making Africa Work, in addition to many other books and articles.
Register on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/olli-lecture-jeffrey-herbst-can-we-trust-the-news-tickets-37816809094

Friday, November 17 — Chris Murray
Elvis at 21
Photographer Alfred Wertheimer enjoyed almost unrestricted access to Elvis Presley when Elvis was 21, the year before Elvis exploded onto the international music scene. Wertheimer’s fine art photographs, many unpublished, illuminate not only Elvis, but the culture and history of the time. Murray integrates art and music in his retrospective of 1956 that draws on his research and personal experiences used in preparing exhibitions across the country.
Chris Murray is a writer and the founder of Govinda Gallery in Georgetown, which represents rock music-related fine art photographers. Murray has organized over 250 exhibitions of many of the leading artists of our time, from Andy Warhol in the 1970s to Annie Leibovitz’s first exhibition in 1984. He was co-curator of the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibition “Elvis at 21” and is the author of more than 15 books on visual culture, including Alfred Wertheimer: Elvis and the Birth of Rock and Roll and Rolling Stones 50x20.
Register on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/olli-lecture-chris-murray-elvis-at-21-tickets-37816841190


Why We Are Using Eventbrite
We have been having overflow crowds at many of our lectures. Due to fire code, we have to limit the number of people who can attend. Rather than turn people away at the door,  we have decided to use Eventbrite, which is a free, widely used event-management website and app. Please take the time to read the directions below thoroughly.

How to Use Eventbrite

  1. After registration opens, click on the link above for the lecture for which you want to register.

  2. On the Eventbrite lecture page, click on the green "REGISTER" button on the lower right.

  3. A pop-up window with the lecture name will appear. Select whether you want 1 or 2 tickets. Click on the green "CHECKOUT" button.

  4. You will have 8 minutes to finish your registration. Enter your first name, last name, email address, and confirm your email address. Click on the green "Complete Registration" button. A confirmation screen wlll appear and you will receive an email with your ticket(s). You are done.

You do not need to bring your ticket to the door. We will have a list at the door of individuals with reservations.


OLLI does not endorse any of the viewpoints expressed by the speakers in its series.


We thank the Lecture Committee and all those who suggested and contacted speakers: Paul Brown, Lew Cohen, Chuck Edson, Ken Guenther, Judith Havemann, Tina Fried Heller, Lynne Heneson, Jeanne Kent, Denise Liebowitz (Chair), Dorothy Marschak, Mary Fran Miklitsch, Stan Newman, Diane Renfroe, Richard Ringell, Barbara Rollinson, and Steve Sherman.