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Lecture Series

The University of Hartford hosts numerous public lectures and panel discussions each year, covering a broad range of academic disciplines and interests.

Lectures are free and open to the public, though some require advance registration or tickets.

Deeds Symposium

This symposium was created in 1982 at the University of Hartford to provide a forum for the discussion of free-market principles. Program speakers are internationally known participants in the continuing discussion of free enterprise and government.

This year's Lecture: 

In March, Beth Akers presented on the Case Against Free College

Beth Akers is an expert on the economics of education, with a focus on higher-education policy. She is the coauthor of Game of Loans: The Rhetoric and Reality of Student Debt. Before joining the Manhattan Institute, she was a fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families and held the position of staff economist with the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, where she worked on federal student lending policy as well as other education and labor issues. Akers has a BS in mathematics and economics from SUNY Albany and a PhD in economics from Columbia University.

Former series include:
  • Economics and Morality in the Age of Social Media by Russel Roberts
  • The Forgotten Man and Three Presidents: Coolidge, Roosevelt, and Trump by Amity Schlaes 

Ellsworth Lecture

This lecture series promotes an awareness of and an appreciation for the American business system. It was created in 1979 by Ensign-Bickford Industries, Inc. to honor its former chairman, the late John E. Ellsworth.

This Year's Lecture

Hayley Foster ’94, founder and chief fostering officer of Foster Inc., has been an entrepreneur and a fosterer for as far back as she can remember, always motivated to generate an income and find creative ways to help others.

Two weeks after graduating from the University of Hartford in 1994, Foster began her career in advertising at Wells Rich Green and then Grey Advertising, building marketing campaigns for some of the largest brands in the world, such as Proctor & Gamble and Seagram’s. She then spent five years in Client Services at Organic Inc., an online marketing and web development company, launching some of the first websites and online marketing campaigns for companies like Reebok, GE, and Chase Bank.

In 2002, Foster felt the pull of her entrepreneurial spirit and co-founded Verge Marketing Inc., a bag and accessory design and manufacturing company with offices located in New York City and Shenzhen, China. From building the infrastructure from the ground up, to managing all aspects of the business, Foster grew Verge to over $5 million in revenues, earning accolades from Entrepreneur magazine as a "fastest growing company” and landing on the Inc. 5000 list for three years.

After 12 years, she lost her passion for what she was doing. In January 2015, Foster felt it was time to take her 20-plus years of experience and give back in a way that would inspire, support, and educate other women entrepreneurs. She started Foster Inc., a network of women-owned businesses. Through peer-to-peer advisory groups, one-on-one consulting, boot camp workshops, masterminds, and value-added networking events, Foster works with women entrepreneurs to help them either get started or take their businesses to the next level. She is also the founder of the Foster Your Passion podcast—an entrepreneurial docudrama filled with actionable advice for anyone looking to start a business mixed with entertaining conversations with other women entrepreneurs and family. Foster just finished her first book, also titled Foster Your Passion, packed with tools and strategies to help others find their passions and live a life with more meaning and purpose.

She donates her time in many ways—to her synagogue as the new VP of Member Engagement; organizing events; and serving on committees for various nonprofits, including the UJA Summerfest and the Navy SEAL Foundation. When she isn’t Fostering women entrepreneurs and small businesses, you can find Foster mentoring and mothering her two daughters and stepson, skiing out west, or training for a Tough Mudder or Cross Fit event.

Past Lectures 
  • Kimora Lee Simmons, Founder and CEO of Kimora Lee Simmons
  • Adam Lazar, CEO of Asarasi
  • Bryan Bordainick, Founder and CEO Dinner Lab

Rogow Distinguished Visiting Lecturers

The Rogow Distinguished Visiting Lecturer Program brings celebrated authors, journalists, historians, academics, and artists to campus and the Greater Hartford area. The series is part of the wide array of public programming that the University of Hartford offers, fulfilling an important responsibility to serve the larger community of which it is a part.

This Year's Lecture

Zachary R. Wood is known for his dynamic perspective on free speech, race, and dissenting opinions. His TED talk on why it is important to listen to people you disagree with was selected as one of the top 10 TED talks of 2018.

In his speeches, Wood shares the details of his own personal story and how his own experiences inspired him to be a crusader for open dialogue and free speech. His memoir, Uncensored, My Life and Uncomfortable Conversations at the Intersection of Black and White America, tells the story of his troubled upbringing, from a difficult early childhood filled with pain, uncertainty, and conflict to the struggles of code-switching between his home in a rough neighborhood and his elite private school. Arguing for a new way of interacting with each other in this deeply polarized society, Wood has cemented his position as a deeply necessary voice—not just at Williams College, but for his generation.

Wood entered the national spotlight while a senior at Williams College where he was president of the student group "Uncomfortable Learning." Wood strengthened the group’s commitment to inviting speakers with controversial perspectives to speak freely on the college’s campus. He is an activist for free speech and a firm believer that civil debate is a crucial part of one’s education. He has testified before the United States Senate on the necessity of ensuring that college campuses allow for a variety of viewpoints.

Wood was a former Robert L. Bentley Fellow at The Wall Street Journal, and graduated from Williams in the spring of 2018 as a Herbert H. Lehman Scholar with a degree in political science. He currently works as an Assistant Opinion Editor of The Guardian.

Through his work with "Uncomfortable Learning," Wood found himself at the center of numerous campus controversies, many of which turned into national news stories. When he invited former National Review columnist John Derbyshire to speak, Wood found himself accused of racism by his fellow classmates and the event was canceled by the administration. In the aftermath, there was extensive press coverage of Wood and his work with "Uncomfortable Learning," including features in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Time, and The Huffington Post. This brought widespread attention to the issue of campus censorship and cemented Wood’s conviction that engaging with an opposing perspective is a catalyst for truly meaningful education.
(photo by Kelly Campbell)

Past Lectures
  • Susan Schoenberger: The Virtues of Oxygen
  • Pia Sundhage: Women's Soccer Legend