Alexander Keller, a well-known community leader, was one of the University’s original incorporators. The Keller Lecture Series captures extraordinary lectures and performances given a half century ago by eminent scholars, writers, critics, diplomats, artists and scientists, many of whom are no longer with us. The series was established in Alexander’s memory in 1958 and was lovingly curated by his wife, Carolyn, a community leader in her own right as well as a University regent. While this extraordinary collection of intellectual and creative contributions has great historic and artistic value, the series is rarely referred to today because it is housed in bricks and mortar archives, unobtainable for mass public consumption.
The idea of an accessible archive for the Keller lecture Series came from Tony Keller, one of Alexander and Carolyn Keller’s sons. He shared the idea with Walter Harrison, president of the University, and Amy Jaffe Barzach, executive director of The Women’s Advancement Initiative. Barzach immediately thought of The Women’s Advancement Initiative’s Dorothy Goodwin Scholars program, which provides scholarships and leadership training to students who propose innovative research or creative projects in partnership with faculty mentors, as a way to bring it to life. Scholars could participate in creating an accessible archive for 18 years of the Keller Lecture Series.
Two LEAD students and Dorothy Goodwin Scholars Valerie Remy ’19 and Kayla Starkey ’17 began to undertake the project during the 2016 – 2017 school year to showcase the series, working with faculty advisor, Stacy W. Maddern, Adjunct Instructor of History and Political Science. For the 2017 – 2018 school year, the project continued under the leadership of LEAD student, Myrani Alvarado, a 2017-2018 Dorothy Goodwin Scholar, and Rachel Williams, also a LEAD student. Along with Stacy Maddern, past University President, Walter Harrison and Alexander S. Keller’s sons, Tony and Robert. have all played an important role in helping to mentor the student scholars to bring to life the Keller Lecture Series.