The series began Tuesday with a lecture by University Museums Executive Director Scott Harris on the two presidents with ties to Fredericksburg, George Washington and James Monroe. The series of 18 lectures will end on March 18th with a lecture on the life of a completely different character, the playwright Lillian Hellman, by Gregg Stull, chairman of the theater and dance department.

This year’s talks could also be extremely exciting lectures, Crawley said. This is because the UMW is a university of applied sciences and the faculty regularly gives lectures. You have likely given these lectures in a different format to students in your classes before. One of these great speakers is Fr. Anand Rao, professor of communication, said Crawley. His talk on Mohandas K. Gandhi will focus on how he became so instrumental to both Indian independence and our own civil rights movement.

The format will also change this year. The lectures will be held virtually to reduce the risk of virus transmission. Each is recorded and posted online at the University’s Dodd Auditorium, where the event normally takes place. The sessions open at 7.15 p.m. on the day of each lecture and start at 7.30 p.m. During the lecture, people can use the zoom chat feature to send questions. Crawley will then present these to the speaker, who will tune in from home for the live questions and answers.

He noted that while the lectures will be archived and available on the UMW website when they are first broadcast, it will only be possible to interact with speakers on the dates of the original online presentations.