The Assembly Series, Washington University’s signature lecture series, enjoys a long and rich tradition. Since 1953, the series has presented more than 1,000 of the most important voices of our time and has featured leaders and visionaries who have helped shape our history.

They include First Ladies Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosalyn Carter, scientific pioneers James Watson and Francis Crick, public intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Bill Moyers, literary stars Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison, creative artists Aaron Copeland and Harold Ramis, Supreme Court justices Harry Blackmun and Antonin Scalia, courageous activists Ralph Nader and Bella Abzug, and pioneers in a broad range of fields that complement the curriculum and reflect the interests of our students and faculty.

Under Here and Next, the vision for the university’s next 10 years, the Assembly Series has been reimagined to bring in high-profile speakers to discuss areas of focus outlined in the strategic plan.

On October 9, 2022, ethologist Jane Goodall made St. Louis — and Graham Chapel — a stop on her national tour to share her ‘tenacious authenticity’ and empower us to work together on behalf of our planet. Her visit was part of her first U.S. tour since the COVID-19 pandemic brought international travel to a halt. Read more about Goodall’s inspirational address.

Dr. Krista Milich, Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. Crickette Sanz and Dr. Emily Wroblewski pose for a photo
During a reception at the Whittemore House prior to her talk, Jane Goodall met with students, staff, community members, and faculty, including a few she has inspired: (from left) Krista Milich, assistant professor of anthropology; Crickette Sanz, professor of anthropology; and Emily Wroblewski, assistant professor of anthropology.

Russia expert Fiona Hill visited Washington University on January 26, 2023, and shared, through the lens of her own life, how education and opportunity can help save democracy in the world. “It’s much easier to exert social control and manipulate and push disinformation on people who are not educated,” Hill said. Learn more about Hill’s visit, which also included conversations with students in the classroom as well as with McDonnell Academy scholars.

Fiona Hill speaks to interviewer
Russia expert Fiona Hill speaks with James Wertsch during an Assembly Series fireside chat on “The World Putin Wants.”