Geschke Lecture Series

The Nantucket Atheneum Geschke Lecture Series was on hiatus in 2020, but please join us this year for another season of informative and engaging talks. We invite you to watch videotaped recordings of past lectures, which you’ll find at the bottom of the page.

As Nantucket’s public library, the Nantucket Atheneum has a long history of providing services and programs to the island’s year-round and summer residents. During the library’s 183 years of service, a central part of its mission has been to bring to the island distinguished lecturers including our earliest speakers — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Frederick Douglass.

In accordance with this long-standing tradition, the Geschke Lecture Series was created as a result of a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge grant awarded to the Atheneum in 2003, a significant donation from the Geschke Foundation and the ongoing support of many library donors. Starting in the summer of 2005, the Geschke Lecture Series has brought speakers to Nantucket to inform and challenge our audiences with current critical ideas and issues.

Previous Geschke Lectures

  • 2019: Kara Swisher, New York Times columnist on technology; Jon Alterman, Director of Middle East Program at Center for Strategic and International Studies; Chris Lee, Hawaii Legislature; Dr. Richard Haass, Council On Foreign Relations and International Politics; Hon. Kevin Rudd, The Asia Society.
  • 2018: John Holdren, Director of White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Obama; David Petraeus retired US Army General and former head of CIA; Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary of State for  Political Affairs and Professor of  the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • 2017: Dr. Jerrold Rosenbaum, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University Understanding Depression;  Robert Traver, Villanova University, Managing Polluntants from Stormwater; Peter Baker & Susan Glasser, New York Times & POLITICO, Current Events & Washington Politics; Richard Haass, National Security Council, A World In Disarray; Panel Discussion:  Making A Difference In Africa With Pam Allyn (LitWorld) and Vanessa Kerry (Seed Global Health).
  • 2016: David Mindell, MIT and author of Our Robots Our Selves;  Jay Famiglietti, University of California & NASA, Water Security; Robin Wright Washington Post and the New Yorker, foreign policy; Dr. Wayne Shreffler, Massachusetts General Hospital, food allergies.
  • 2015: Susan Glasser, POLITICO Editor; Ajay Royan, Mithril Capital Management co-founder; Roz Chast, New Yorker cartoonist; Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, Alzheimer’s disease research.
  • 2014: Dr. Walter Willett, Harvard University nutritionist; Esther Dyson, chairman of EDventure Holdings and founder of HICcup; Joe Klein, author and TIME Magazine columnist; And, Peter Baker, New York Times White House correspondent.
  • 2013: David Owen, a New Yorker author ; John Donoghue, a Brown University neuroscientist; Harvard University astronomer Dr. Robert Kirshner ; Maureen Orth, Vanity Fair special correspondent, and Chuck Todd, Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News; and United Nations prosecutor Richard Goldstone.
  • 2012: Jill Abramson, Executive Editor of the New York Times; Lawrence Lessig, Harvard University Ethics professor and author of Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress; Panel Discussion on the Economy, moderated by David Gregory, NBC News with Jack Welch, General Electric, Louis V Gerstner, Jr., IBM and Bob Wright, NBC; And, Louis Susman, United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James.
  • 2011: Ian Frazier, author and New Yorker staff writer; David Gregory NBC moderator of “Meet The Press”; Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of 11 books; and, Joseph Nye, Jr., Dean Emeritus of the Kennedy School, Harvard University.
  • 2010: Computer technology innovators Chuck Geschke (Adobe) and Bob Metcalfe (3Com); New York Times Columnist and Author Thomas Friedman; Washington Post Columnist and MSNBC Commentator Eugene Robinson; and President of Pew Research Center Andrew Kohut
  • 2009: Pulitzer-Prize-winning biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin; Presidential Advisor David Gergen; CBS News journalist Lesley Stahl; and Carnegie Corporation President Vartan Gregorian.
  • 2008: Print and television journalist Mike Barnicle; former Delaware Governor Pete du Pont; NPR journalist Mara Liasson; Washington Post journalist Robin Wright; PBS journalist Gwen Ifill.
  • 2007: Committee for Economic Development, Charles Kolb; MIT President Dr. Susan Hockfield; Natural Resources Defense Council, Frances Beinecke; Presidential Advisor David Gergen; Project HOPE Dr. John Howe III; Business Week columnists Jack and Suzy Welch.
  • 2006: National Review journalist Jay Nordlinger; NPR President Kevin Klose; New York Times editor Jill Abramson; Jay Rosen of New York University; CBS News journalist Katie Couric; CBS News anchor Lesley Stahl; NBC News anchor Tim Russert; PBS television host David Brancaccio; Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Henninger; Concord Monitor photographer Daniel Habib.
  •  2005: Authors Patricia Ebrey, Nancy Berliner, Jerome Silbergeld, Andrea and Lynde McCormick, Neil Baldwin, David McCullough, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Father Robert Drinan, and U.S. Senator Bill Frist.