Town Hall’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in Oklahoma by providing a forum for nationally recognized speakers who enrich, entertain, stimulate, inform and educate our citizenry.
In 1933, the Junior League of Oklahoma City decided to sponsor a cultural lecture series called Town Hall. The chairman of the Town Hall Series was Mrs. Harry Schafer, (Billie), and the professional producer was Florence King, who obtained the speakers.
Since they wished it to be a city-wide artistic venture, they asked 20 local women to be on the Board of Advisors. This board was responsible for the selection of the speakers. 370 women joined and the series was enthusiastically received by the group.
THE SPEAKERS THE FIRST YEAR WERE AS FOLLOWS:
- November 3rd,at the Skirvin Hotel, Countess Irina Skariatina spoke.
- November 23rd, Margaret Sanger lectured at the Biltmore.
- December 9th, Mark Sullivan spoke at the Skirvin Hotel.
- January 11th, Adochi and No Yong Park debated the Chinese-Japanese question at the Biltmore.
- February 2nd, Phyliss Bentley lectured at the Skirvin Hotel.
Town Hall closed the 1933-34 season at Oklahoma City University with the presentation of Kreutzberg and Page. Additional seats were sold for this performance to the members who brought guests. Town Hall was not a financial enterprise of the Junior League, being solely an expansion of the Arts and Interests Committee.
The lecture series was so successful that the Advisory Board voted to continue the series the next year and more members were added. All concerned felt that Town Hall had accomplished its purpose of setting a new standard in the cultural development of Oklahoma City.
As was the custom with all projects, after 3 years the Junior League turned over the entire supervision of this project to the community-wide Board of Advisers who were then fully responsible for its direction.
Town Hall was later expanded to the whole community and the number of speakers increased with an emphasis on six separate topics over the course of the season.
Some Of Our Outstanding Speakers
From Previous Years Include:
Rick Steves – Travel Writer & TV Host
Jack Hanna – “Jungle Jack” Zoo Ambassador
Dr. Ben Carson – Former Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns
Hopkins Childrens Ctr. And former HUD Secretary.
Alice Schroeder – Wrote Bestselling biography of Warren Buffet.
Prof. Jonathan Turley – Nationally recognized legal scholar on
Constitutional Law and has written extensively.
Victor Davis Hanson – Scholar with the Hoover Institute and written or
edited twenty four books.
Gregory Boyle – Boyle’s Homeboy Industries, largest job creation program
targeting gang intervention programs.
Jessica Fellowes – Authored five books that became the Downton Abbey
Charles Payne – Fox News TV host of Making Money with Charles Payne.
Celia Sandys – Granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill and author of five
books on various aspects of his life.
Peter Zeihan – Geopolitical strategist and expert on worldwide energy,
demography, technology and security.
Dr. Patrick Moore – Co-Founder and former Director of Greenpeace.
Jimmy Wayne – Award winning country recording artist bringing
awareness to children in foster care of which he was one.
Art Laffer – Renowned economist known as “The Father of Supply-side
David Grann – Author of “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders
and Birth of the FBI”
Jim Bridenstine – Director of NASA
Michael Pillsbury – American Director of the Center on Chinese Strategy,
Hudson Institute, Washington, DC
Robert O’Neill – Former Seal Team Six Leader
Marc Milstein, Ph.D. – Topic “Keeping the Aging Brain Healthy,
Boosting Memory and Lowering the Risk of Dementia”
Scott Augenbaum – Retired FBI agent and expert on cyber crime.
Steve Forbes – Editor-in-Chief of Forbes, a business magazine.
Trey Gowdy – Former Congressman and News Personality
Jeff Struecker – Black Hawk Down Hero
Samantha Brown – World Traveler and TV Host
Plus some Notable Oklahomans Including:
Paul Moore, George Nigh, Dr. Bob Blackburn, James Pepper Henry,
Dr. Keith Smith, Dr. Frank Wang, Shelly Finley, and Joshua Landis