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Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to launch George T. Hunter Lecture Series

The Benwood Foundation, joined by partners from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the Community Research Council (CRC), announces that it will host a public lecture series focused on issues affecting the Chattanooga community. The George T. Hunter Lecture Series, named after the Benwood Foundation’s founder, will bring four of the nation’s leading experts to Chattanooga to speak on international relations, arts and education, the environment and community building. The lectures will be held at the UTC Benwood Auditorium. All lectures in the series are free and open to the public.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will launch the series on the sixth anniversary of September 11. Her lecture will focus on a global message and will reflect on the issues that have developed in the six years since that day and what those issues mean for the future.

During its inaugural 2007-2008 year, the George T. Hunter Lecture Series will also feature:

  • Bill McKibben, November 6, 2007: McKibben is the author of the recently published Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future. He will speak on the environment.
  • Frank McCourt, February 19, 2008: McCourt is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Angela’s Ashes. He will speak on education and arts and culture.
  • Fred Kent, April 8, 2008: Kent is the founder of the Project for Public Spaces. He will speak on community development.

By bringing some of the nation’s leading experts to Chattanooga, the Benwood Foundation seeks to stimulate creative and innovative pubic debate and conversation regarding the important issues of our time,” said Corinne Allen, Executive Director of the Benwood Foundation. “We hope that the George T. Hunter Lecture Series will promote civic engagement and education for all Chattanoogans.”

“Our goal is to raise awareness,” said UTC Chancellor Roger Brown. “By bringing together community leaders, residents, practitioners and scholars, we hope to fulfill UTC’s promise of being a truly metropolitan university. Mayor Littlefield has described Chattanooga as a ‘city of learners.’ The George T. Hunter Lecture Series is an important part of our collective, community learning process. We are delighted to serve as its host.”

For each speaker, there will be a lecture, followed by a question and answer session involving both UTC faculty and members of the audience. The lectures will be moderated by David Eichenthal, President of The Community Research Council.

All lectures will take place in the Benwood Auditorium in the Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science Building across from the Fine Arts Center on Vine Street. All lectures will begin at 7 p.m. Limited overflow seating will be available in the Card Auditorium and the Roland Hayes Concert Hall. More information on the George T. Hunter Lecture Series is available at

Madeleine Korbel Albright served as the 64th U.S. Secretary of State. She became the first woman named to that position in 1997, and at the time was the highest ranking woman in the history of US government. Albright was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and immigrated to America with her family after Communists took control of that country in 1948. She is the mother of three daughters and has six grandchildren. Albright’s autobiography, Madam Secretary: A Memoir, was published in September 2003. Albright’s newest book, The Mighty and The Almighty—Reflections on America, God and World Affairs, was published in May 2006.

Bill McKibben is the author of the first book addressing the issue of global warming written for a general audience. The End of Nature, published in 1989, sounded one of the earliest alarms about global warming; the decade of science since has proved his prescience. McKibben is a frequent contributor to a variety of publications, including The New York Review of Books, Outside, and The New York Times.

Frank McCourt, acclaimed memoirist and Pulitzer Prize winner, was born in New York City and raised in Limerick, Ireland, in the 1930s and 1940s. In September 1996, after he had retired from teaching, McCourt’s memoir of his childhood, Angela’s Ashes, was published by Scribner. It quickly rose to the top of the hardcover bestseller lists, remaining on the New York Times list for 117 weeks. It was also selected as the number one nonfiction book of the year by Time and Newsweek magazines.

Fred Kent is a leading authority on revitalizing city spaces and one of the foremost thinkers in livability, smart growth and the future of the city. As founder and president of Project for Public Spaces, he is known throughout the world as a dynamic speaker and prolific ideas man. Traveling over 150,000 miles each year, Kent has undertaken consultancy work and given talks across the U.S. as well as internationally. Each year, he and the PPS staff train 10,000 people in Placemaking techniques.

August 2, 2007