The Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Visiting Lecture Series was founded by Trustee Emeritus Thomas Roy Jones in 1973 to provide Lafayette College students with the opportunity to hear presentations and interact each year with individuals of exemplary accomplishment in the academic world or in public life. The lectures are free and open to the public. The visiting lecturer also leads an afternoon discussion with students and sometimes visits one or two classes. Nominations are submitted by members of the faculty to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Commencement each spring. The Committee reviews the nominations and selects the top five or six choices.

Previous speakers and topics in the Jones Visiting Lecture Series have included:

  • 2021-2022:  Holden Thorp
  • 2019-2020:  Siva Vaidhyanathan
  • 2018-2019:  Michael Mann: “As Climate Threat Mounts, A Call for Public Engagement and Action,”
  • 2017-2018:  Anthony Appiah:  “Mistaken Identities”
  • 2016-2017:  Amitav Ghosh:  “The Great Derangement:  Climate Change and the Unthinkable”
  • 2015-2016:  Sarah Vowell:  “An Evening with Sarah Vowell”
  • 2014-2015:  Elizabeth Kolbert, “The Sixth Extinction:  An Unnatural History”
  • 2012-2013: Jane Goodall, “Making a Difference”
  • 2010-2011: Stephen Sondheim with Frank Rich, “A Life in the Theater”
  • 2009-2010:  James T. Campbell,”Race and the Politics of Memory:  American Universities Confront their Pasts”
  • 2008-2009:  Bernice Reagon, “Come and Go With Me to That Land: Notes from the Autobiography of a Freedom Singer”
  • Kwane Anthony Appiah, “Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers”
  • 2007-2008:  Simon Schama, “Remembering the Abolition of the Slave Trade, 200 Years On: British Eloquence and American Silence”
  • 2006-2007:  Francis Fukuyama, “America at the Crossroads”
  • 2005-2006:
    Dave Eggers, “The Year of the Book”
    Johanna Drucker, “Open-Ended Possibilities: The Future of the Book in the Digital Age ”
  • 2004-2005:  Robert Sapolsky
  • 2003-2004:  Laurie Anderson, “Performance Art”
  • 2002-2003:  Barbara Ehrenreich, “Nickel and Dimed in America”
  • 2001-2002:  Robert Pinsky, “Icons of Memory, Voices of Myth”
  • 2000-2001:
    Robert Fagles, “The Odyssey and its Progeny”
    Patricia Williams
  • 1998-1999:  Steven Pinker, “How the Mind Works”
  • 1997-1998:  Peter Bogdanovich, “A Century of Film”
  • 1995-1996:
    Arthur Danto and Marjorie Garber, “High Art and Pop Culture”
    Gunther Schuller, “Interface between Classical Tradition and Popular Idioms in Music” with performance by Joe Lovano Quintet
  • 1994-1995:  Derek Walcott, “Earth: Matter and Metaphor”
  • 1992-1993:  John Hope Franklin
  • 1991-1992:  Ursula LeGuin, “Visions of Future Worlds”
  • 1989-1990:  Jules Feiffer and Roger Shattuck, “The Comic Spirit”