CWRU’s Think Forum speaker series brings leading speakers to campus—for free

2015-16 season debuts with new name and venue—and now free

The newly renamed Think Forum speaker series at Case Western Reserve University continues the legacy of the historic Town Hall of Cleveland with a 2015-16 program of distinguished speakers, presented at a new location.

The program’s academic sponsor since 2010, Case Western Reserve assumed management and full operation of the lecture series last year.

The 84-year-old speaker series moves this season to Silver Hall, the stunning, newly restored jewel inside the Maltz Performing Arts Center at the Temple – Tifereth Israel at Case Western Reserve University.

Also new this season: the entire series is free. Guests can reserve tickets online at or by calling the Maltz Performing Arts Center (MPAC) box office at 216.368.6062. Paid parking is conveniently available near MPAC, 1855 Ansel Road.

The 2015-16 speakers and dates are:

Daniel Mendelsohn

Thursday, Oct. 22, at 6 p.m.

Daniel Mendelsohn

A classics scholar and masterful storyteller, Daniel Mendelsohn’s lecture will explore the meaning of the Holocaust as both a historical and literary event—especially for the next generation of writers.

An internationally known author, critic, essayist and columnist, Mendelsohn began his career in journalism in 1991, while completing his PhD in classics at Princeton University. Over the last 25 years, his reviews and essays on books, movies, theater and television have appeared in The Village Voice and The Nation and, more recently, in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books and The New York Times.

Mendelsohn, a professor at Bard College, has written seven books, including his second collection of essays, Waiting for the Barbarians: Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture (2012). The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million (2006), Mendelsohn’s account of his search for information about six relatives who perished in the Holocaust, was a New York Times bestseller, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the National Jewish Book Award and the Prix Médicis. His talk is presented in partnership with the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve.

Majora Carter

Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m.

Majora Carter

Majora Carter, an urban revitalization consultant, real estate developer and Peabody Award-winning broadcaster, will present the lecture, “Department of Hometown Security.”

Carter advises cities, foundations, universities and businesses around the world about green-infrastructure projects, as well job training and placement systems. A graduate of the Bronx High School of Science and Wesleyan University, she founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001 with a mission to achieve environmental justice through economically sustainable projects. Named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2005, Carter’s TEDTalk was one of the first six publically released videos to launch the groundbreaking website in 2006. Her savvy use of the news media has helped bring visibility to environmental injustices faced by poor communities.

Carter’s talk is presented in partnership with the Office for Sustainability at Case Western Reserve, with additional support from the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit at the university’s Weatherhead School of Management.

Randall Lane

Wednesday, March 16, at 6 p.m.

Randall Lane

Randall Lane, editor of Forbes Magazine, where he has helped the publication reach its highest-ever United States readership (6.7 million) with new emphases on young innovators, will present, “The Millennial Miracle: Lessons from the Greatest Generation of Business.”

These are people reimagining the rules for business and rethinking the potential for entrepreneurs to solve the world’s most intractable problems, whether through their business missions or philanthropy.

Lane understands the entrepreneurial mindset because he’s been an entrepreneur himself. Before returning to Forbes as editor in 2011, Lane spent more than a decade co-founding, serving as editor-in-chief and, in the latter case, CEO of two media startups that launched almost a dozen magazines and related web sites, including P.O.V. (Adweek’s “Startup of the Year”), Trader Monthly and Dealmaker.

Abraham Verghese

Monday, April 18, at 6 p.m.
The F. Joseph Callahan Distinguished Lecture

Abraham Verghese

An author of three award-winning books whose name is frequently a byline in newspapers and magazines worldwide, Dr. Abraham Verghese will present, “Delivering Humanistic Care in the Era of Lean.”

Verghese is vice chair for the theory and practice of medicine at the School of Medicine at Stanford University. His focus on patient-physician relationships in an era of increased use of medical technology has made him a highly sought-after speaker.

Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1955 to Indian parents, Verghese completed his medical education in India at the Madras Medical College, but journeyed to the United States for medical residencies. During the 1980’s, he witnessed the early devastation of the HIV epidemic. The emotional experience of trying to assist patients suffering at such a high level led Verghese to leave his medical practice to study at the renowned Iowa Writers Workshop, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree in 1991. Very quickly, his writing began to appear in major publications nationally.

To reserve tickets, visit or call the MPAC box office at 216.368.6062