Lair Guest Speaker Series for 2020

The Lair hosted a Guest Speaker Series on Tuesday evenings this summer. We enjoyed talks from esteemed members of the Cal community, including distinguished professors and faculty members. While this series has ended, you can view each of the talks on the Lair’s YouTube channel.

View our Guest Speaker Series recordings here!

2020 Speaker Schedule

Week 2, Tuesday, June 16 at 8:00 p.m.: Alex Filippenko

Alex Filippenko
Professor of Astronomy, UC Berkeley
Topic: Exploding Stars and New Planets: Frontier Research and Education at UC’s Lick Observatory

Lick Observatory is a vibrant research facility, and a primary base for UC’s astronomy education and outreach efforts. Cutting-edge fields include stellar explosions, Earth-like planets orbiting other stars, giant black holes, and technology development. But Lick is now only partially funded by the UC administration. Learn about the exciting research and technology, public service, and student training being done at Lick! And if you can, please consider supporting Lick, as our budget is being cut 5 - 5%. Thank you!


Week 3, Tuesday, June 23 at 8:00 p.m.: Dan Kammen

Dan Kammen
Professor of Energy at UC Berkeley
Topic: The Climate-COVID-Race Collision

From pandemics to racism to droughts, to fires, and gasoline prices, climate and energy have become mainstream politics and economics. Dan will look at the latest science and politics of the global crises we face today.

Dan Kammen is a Professor of Energy at UC Berkeley, Chair of the Energy and Resources Group, and Professor in both the Goldman School of Public Policy and the Department of Nuclear Engineering. At Berkeley he is the founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (rael.berkeley.edu). In 2010 – 2011 he was on leave at the World Bank in Washington DC, where he served as the ‘clean energy czar.’ Kammen appointed Science Envoy for the US State Department by President Barack Obama. Since 1999 Kammen has served as a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Twitter: @dan_kammen | UC Berkeley Website: http://rael.berkeley.edu

Take a course from Dan! He’ll be teaching an 8-week online course called Energy and Society that’s open to anyone who’s a high school student on up. Students can watch the recorded lectures anytime, so no conflict with other activities and you can join discussion sections and problem solving sections via Zoom. Learn more here.


Week 4, Tuesday, June 30 at 8:00 p.m.: Rich Lyons

Rich Lyons
Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer for UC Berkeley
Topic: Shaping Berkeley Changemakers TM.

Rich Lyons serves as the chief innovation and entrepreneurship officer for UC Berkeley. He served as dean of Berkeley’s Haas School of Business (2008 to 2018) and currently holds the William and Janet Cronk Chair in Innovative Leadership. From 2006 to 2008 he oversaw Goldman Sachs University as chief learning officer. He received his BS with highest honors from UC Berkeley (business) and PhD from MIT (economics). Before (re)joining Berkeley, Rich was for six years on the business faculty at Columbia University. His research and teaching expertise is in international economics and finance and his top applied interest is the “how and why” of setting strong institutional cultures.


Week 5: Tuesday, July 7 at 8:00 p.m.: David Riedel

David Riedel

Topic: US/China Relations: Past, Present and Future

David studied Asian Studies (Chinese) at UC Berkeley and has been visiting and following China since the mid-1980s. This wide-ranging discussion will address politics, business, the COVID pandemic, the environment, global trade, the risk of war as well as personal observations.

David is the President and Founder of Riedel Research Group, Inc., an independent equity research service advising hedge funds and mutual funds on investing in emerging markets. Since studying Chinese language, history and culture at Cal in the 1980’s David has lived and worked in China and Thailand.

View David’s presentation here.


Week 6: Tuesday, July 14 at 8:00 p.m.: Bob Jacobsen

Bob Jacobsen
Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Topic: Where does Cal go from here?

What will Cal’s education and research look like in the Fall? How are we coming back, what is changing, and what will the new normal be? What does remote instruction, admission changes and a very stressed economy mean fo the the next few years? What is Cal trying to be in 2021, 2025, 2030? There are no complete answers to these questions yet, so now is an ideal time to talk about them with the Lair community. Come with your questions, ideas and preferences, and we’ll talk.

Bob teaches in the Physics Department at Cal, and has an experiment at the Homestake Mine outside Deadwood, SD searching for dark matter. He’s also the Campus Faculty Athletic Representative to the NCAA, and has been an Advising Dean and Chair of the Undergrad Admissions Committee. Bob is serving as the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, charged with improving the academic experience for Cal undergraduates.


Week 7: Tuesday, July 21 at 8:00 p.m.: Glynn Washington

Glynn Washington
Host of SnapJudgment
It’s a Q&A with Glynn on the topic of ‘How To Rock A Funky Story’

Join us for a lively conversation with Glynn Washington, where he’ll share his knowledge and answer your questions on storytelling. He’s encouraging campers to ask him questions on this topic, so submit your questions in advance to our email address lair@alumni.berkeley.edu. There will also be opportunities to ask questions using Zoom chat during the event.

Glynn Washington is the host and executive producer of Snap Judgment, heard on over 400 public radio stations nationwide (and downloaded over 2 million times each month). Distributed by WNYC Studios, Snap delivers a raw, intimate, musical brand of storytelling, daring listeners to see the world through the eyes of another. Before creating Snap Judgment, Glynn worked as an educator, diplomat, community activist, actor, political strategist, fist-shaker, mountain-hollerer, and foot stomper. Glynn composed music for the Kunst Stoff dance performances in San Francisco, rocked live spoken word poetry in Detroit, joined a band in Indonesia, wrote several screenplays, painted a daring series of self portraits, released a blues album, and thinks his stories are best served with cocktails.


Week 8, Tuesday, July 28 at 8:00 p.m.: Kathleen Gronnerud

Kathleen Gronnerud

Topic: Presidential Leadership and the Struggle for Civil Rights

While the American president has served as the country’s most visible public official for more than two centuries, throughout history the president’s silence has often reverberated more than his direct support for civil rights movements. Join us for a historical overview of presidential action and inaction to help provide context to the civil rights protests and activism of recent months.

Kathleen Gronnerud is an adjunct professor of American history at Saddleback College, author of the upcoming book Hillary Clinton: A Life in America and co-editor of Modern American Political Dynasties: A Study of Family, Power and Political Influence (2018). A graduate of UC Berkeley, Northwestern and CSU Fullerton, Kathleen holds master’s degrees in both History and Journalism with early training as a radio and television reporter.


Week 9, Tuesday, August 4 at 8:00 p.m.: Jim Knowlton

Jim Knowlton

Director of Athletics, UC Berkeley


Jim Knowlton has established himself as a dynamic leader and accomplished administrator through service in intercollegiate athletics and the U.S. Army. He joined Cal as Director of Athletics in May of 2018, and among his priorities are implementing the athletic department’s strategic plan, increasing campus and community engagement, improving the student-athlete experience and managing through the coronavirus pandemic.


Week 10: Tuesday, August 11 at 8:00 p.m.: Munis D. Faruqui

Munis D. Faruqui
Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies
Topic: The Theft that Created the Modern World

In the late 1580s a Dutchman named Jan van Linschoten left his job as the secretary to the Portuguese Archbishop of Goa (in India). In his possession, as he headed back to Europe, were maps and detailed nautical information about how to sail from Europe to India and back again. This information was priceless. The Portuguese had been jealously guarding it from other European competitors – especially the Dutch and English – for almost a century now. Linschoten’s theft and his subsequent publication of the maps broke the Portuguese monopoly over sea routes to India and inaugurated a new world order in which, first, the Dutch and then the English would become the dominant European power in Asia and the Indian Ocean.

Munis D. Faruqui is a historian in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, and Director of the Institute for South Asia Studies at CAL. In 2014, Dr. Faruqui was one of three recipients of UC-Berkeley’s most prestigious honor for teaching, the Distinguished Teaching Award.



2018 Speaker Spotlight: Chancellor Carol Christ and Athletics Director Jim Knowlton

On Saturday, September 29, 2018, Chancellor Carol Christ and Athletics Director Jim Knowlton invited Lair Day Tailgate attendees to join them at a first-of-its-kind Town Hall at Alumni House before the annual Lair Day Tailgate. The two campus leaders sat down with Dan Mogulof, UC Berkeley’s Assistant Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs, to discuss their five-year goals for Cal, address concerns about the campus budget, and answer questions from attendees.

For more details on the event and to hear what they shared, click here!


Janet Napolitano at the Lair

janet napolitano at the lair2018’s Week 5 campers and 2016’s Week 7 campers enjoyed a special guest appearance by Janet Napolitano, 20th president of the University of California. See photos and video from her visits.