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The Helen Edison Lecture Series


The Helen Edison Lecture Series is the result of a major gift from the late Helen Edison, a San Diego philanthropist who supported numerous local educational, cultural and arts efforts. In accordance with the gift, since 1985 the series has presented free public lectures on issues that advance humanitarian purposes and objectives.


Helen Edison Lecture Series Presents Dr. Matthew Desmond: “Poverty, by America”

Dr. Matthew Desmond, renowned Princeton sociologist and MacArthur “Genius,” will come to UC San Diego Park & Market on December 14 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm. Join us for a discussion with Desmond on the solutions to poverty he posits in his new book, released earlier this year.

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Helen Edison Lectures available online

Enjoy a wide variety of lectures on issues that advance humanitarian purposes and objectives.

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Past Lectures


Explore a wide variety of lectures on issues that advance humanitarian purposes and objectives.

  • NY Times Columnist Charles Blow

    New York Times columnist Charles Blow will speak to “Today’s Social and Political Issues”.

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  • Five-Time Grammy Winner Terence Blanchard Comes to Helen Edison

    Blanchard, a five-time Grammy-award winner and two-time Oscar-nominee, will speak at The Guggenheim Theatre at UC San Diego Park & Market

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  • Music and the Border

    The US/Mexico border has served as a creative catalyst for artists for more than a century. Perhaps, never more than now have the relationships and the barriers between both societies grown. Enjoy this insightful discussion with three leading musicians on how they are reflecting on the border through their music, creating art that forges connections and a common community on both sides of the wall.

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  • American Injustice: Mercy, Humanity and Making a Difference with Bryan Stevenson

    A MacArthur fellow and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, Bryan Stevenson is a founding leader of the movement against mass incarceration in the U.S. Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu has called Stevenson “America’s young Nelson Mandela.” His work on individual cases has generated national attention and his efforts have reversed death penalties for dozens of condemned prisoners.

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  • John Lithgow: An Actor's Lessons

    For more than half a century, John Lithgow has been delighting audiences on stage, in movies and on television. In a lively discussion with Peter Gourevitch, distinguished Professor Emiritus of Political Science at UC San Diego, Lithgow reflects on his preparations for the wide diversity of roles that have shaped his career and influenced the larger culture.

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  • Resilient Cities: A Conversation with Judith Rodin

    Judith Rodin begins by exploring the transformative contributions the University of Pennsylvania made to Philadelphia while she was its president, and then talks about her work as president of the Rockefeller Foundation, particularly the 100 Resilient Cities initiative. Both experiences are put in the context of UC San Diego embarking on a physical presence in downtown San Diego.

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  • The Future of Criminal Justice and Journalism with Bill Keller

    Bill Keller, former Editor of the New York Times, current editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project is interviewed by Matt Hall, San Diego Union-Tribune. The Marshall Project is a nonprofit nonpartisan online journalism organization reporting on issues related to the American criminal justice system.

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  • The New Frontiers of Design with Paola Antonelli

    Paola Antonelli, the senior curator of the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, delves into design's many directions and into its future. She takes us on a fascinating tour of design to ask some very serious questions.

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  • The Last of the President’s Men with Bob Woodward, Alex Butterfield and Michael Bernstein -- The Library Channel

    Investigative journalist Bob Woodward and former White House aide Alex Butterfield join Michael Bernstein for a conversation about Butterfield's decision to reveal the existence of tape recordings that eventually led to Richard Nixon's resignation from the presidency.

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  • Tomorrow’s Leaders: Building on the Legacy of Selma with Myrlie Evers-Williams

    From the moment Myrlie Evers-Williams faced the murder of her husband, civil rights activist Medgar Evers, she became a pivotal figure in the civil rights movement. For more than five decades, she has fought to carry on his legacy, never relenting in her determination to change the face of race relations in this country.

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Event Contact

Jennifer Ziemba
(858) 866-4860

Media Contact

Jennie Van Meter
(858) 534-9228

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