Saul O Sidore Lecture Series

Saul O Sidore Lecture Series
View of campus in the fall

Named for humanitarian and New Hampshire businessman Saul O Sidore, the Sidore Lecture Series was established in 1979 by PSU and the Sidore Memorial Foundation. The series brings a variety of speakers to campus to address critical issues and events in politics, society, and culture, topics that reflect Sidore’s interests.

All Sidore lectures are free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended. A reception follows each lecture. Lectures are presented in the Smith Recital Hall in the Silver Center for the Arts, unless otherwise noted.

Living Curious  

The world is a fascinating place!  The 2023-24 Sidore Lecture series will explore how curiosity and creativity feed passion for life.  

The Future of Sustainable Tourism Education

Megan Epler Wood | Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024 @ 7:00 PM | Smith Recital Hall


Megan Epler Wood

Megan Epler Wood will discuss the growing challenges that tourism faces as climate change continues to accelerate. She will focus on tourism education, highlighting a common emphasis on hospitality, hotel management and investment in educational programs. She will also discuss the importance of other vital sectors within the industry, such as digital online booking engines, cruise lines, airports and aviation.

Epler Wood is the founder and president of EplerWood International, an international consulting firm that designs sustainable tourism development projects for countries all over the world. She is also the managing director of Cornell University’s Sustainable Tourism Asset Management Program (STAMP) and is the author of the textbooks Destinations at Risk; The Invisible Burden of Tourism (2019) and Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet (2017).

Named for humanitarian and New Hampshire businessman Saul O Sidore, the Sidore Lecture Series was established in 1979 by PSU and the Sidore Memorial Foundation. The series brings a variety of speakers to campus to address critical issues and events in politics, society, and culture, topics that reflect Sidore’s interests.

A first-generation American, Sidore was born in New York City in 1907. After losing his job during the Great Depression, Sidore and his future wife May Blum joined her parents in founding the Juvenile Knitting Mills. The family’s enterprises moved to New Hampshire in 1940, and by 1955 Sidore was president of Brookshire Mills and Pandora Industries of Manchester.

Sidore’s business practices reflected his ethical principles and his interest in providing security for his employees. He pioneered a profit-sharing plan, instituted a pension plan, founded a scholarship loan fund to help his employees send their children to college, and he was the first employer in New Hampshire to hire an industrial psychologist and institute insured hospitalization benefits for employees. Sidore, who encouraged employees of all levels to participate in business decisions, created a joint committee of executives and employees to discuss their issues, and held quarterly meetings with all employees to discuss the company and its future.

Sidore was the owner of the Manchester Free Press, a member of the New Hampshire Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, active in Manchester’s Jewish community, and was a driving force in support of the ideals of humanity and brotherhood throughout New Hampshire.

PSU Sidore Committee

Past Sidore Lectures

Fathoming: How Curiosity Can Help Save the Oceans

Dr. Helen Rozwadowski | Tuesday, March 19th, 2024

The state of the global oceans has been very much in the news in the last several years. In the face of environmental concern, often the reaction is to call for more science. While it is true that we need good science – and for people to understand and accept it – solving our ocean problems will require more. We need to fathom oceans. The verb fathoming refers to both a traditional unit for measuring depth and also to a more imaginative way of understanding something. A curious approach invites attention to history and imagination as powerful ways we know the oceans, especially the hidden undersea parts. Broadening the way we know oceans, I argue, promises new insights and ideas for action. Curiosity creates hope. 

Dr. Helen M. Rozwadowski is professor of history and founder of the maritime studies program at the University of Connecticut. She studies the history of interconnections between oceans and people. She is author of the prize-winning books Vast Expanses: A History of the Oceans and Fathoming the Ocean: The Discovery and Exploration of the Deep Sea. A recent virtual exhibition, “Oceans in Three Paradoxes”, presents her research to the public. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, Germany.


Living Curious: Time Machines, Time Bombs, and Time for Fun

Dr. Richard Alley | Tuesday, March 5th, 2024

We know with confidence that wise response on energy and climate will give us a larger economy with more jobs, improved health and greater national security in a more-ethical and environmentally improved world. This knowledge rests on a wonderfully interwoven network of science, some of which has involved drilling two-mile-long “time machines” in polar ice sheets and watching most-of-a-mile-high blocks of ice topple off the fronts of glaciers. The fun of going to beautiful places with great people to learning new things and bring them back to share leads to the greater fun of helping people live better.

Dr. Richard Alley (PhD 1987 Wisconsin; Evan Pugh University Professor, Geosciences, Penn State) studies the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets to help predict future climate and sea-level changes.  He has been honored for research, teaching, and service, including election to the US National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society.  He participated in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (co-recipient, 2007 Nobel Peace Prize), and provided requested advice to high government officials from both major political parties.  He has authored or coauthored over 400 scholarly publications.  His was presenter for the PBS TV miniseries Earth: The Operators’ Manual, based on his book.  His popular account of climate change and ice cores, The Two-Mile Time Machine, was Phi Beta Kappa’s science book of the year.  He is happily married with two grown daughters, two stay-at-home cats, a bicycle, and a pair of soccer cleats.


Life is like an RPG: Incorporating Video Games and Fun into Academia

Dr. Anne Ladyem McDivitt | Tuesday, February 27th, 2024

Lecture Abstract: In my academic professional life, I’m a historian, digital public humanities practitioner, and technology specialist. Additionally, video games have been a part of my life and identity for as long as I remember. It has become an important part of the professional aspect of my life to incorporate video games or thinking about things in the perspective of gaming because I think it adds not only fun but also encourages experimentation and creativity. In this talk, I’ll discuss some of my research, teaching, and content creation, as well as talking about incorporating your passions and interests into your professional careers where you can. 

Dr. Anne Ladyem McDivitt is the Academic Technology Specialist for the Department of History at Stanford University, as well as a member of the Center for Interdisciplinary Digital Research. She has a background in digital public history and specializes in digital storytelling. She published her monograph Hot Tubs and Pac-Man: Gender and the Early Video Game Industry in the United States in 2020, as well as articles on video game studies, podcasting in education, and a forthcoming article on gendered advertising in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Outside of academia, she co-hosts two weekly podcasts—one on video games, anime, and manga and another focusing episode-by-episode on multiple anime series. She also streams weekly on Twitch, where she exclusively plays unrealistic fishing games and fishing mini-games in video games while wearing goofy fishing themed shirts.

Building Justice

The 2022-2023 Sidore Lecture Series focused on Building Justice in our communities and our world, today and beyond. Lectures explore the broad spectrum of justice issues facing us today and how we can modify society towards a more “just” future. 


Internal Alchemy and External Play Birth the Curiously Engaged Life: How Self-Creation and Inquiry Come Together in Shanta Lee’s World of Images, Words and Life Practice

Shanta Lee | October 17, 2023

What is the internal alchemy needed to engage in a curious life? How can the concept of engaging with the unknown, unseen and intangible co-mingle with ideas of self-creation through the mediums of writing, photography and film? Artist, public intellectual and being what she calls a “practitioner of entanglement,” Shanta Lee weaves together these questions and shares how curiosity has unzipped across dimensions of her creation.

This lecture is an experiential journey across images, words and Shanta Lee’s life practice leaving the audience with a question for themselves: What will be your version of internal alchemy and play that unzips into your version of a curiously engaged life?

Shanta Lee is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist and public intellectual whose work engages with cultural and future discourses. Her published work includes GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues (Diode Editions, 2021) and Black Metamorphoses (Etrusan Press, 2023). Her current multimedia exhibition, Dark Goddess: An Exploration of the Sacred Feminine, which features her short film, interviews, and photography, and other items has been on view at the University of Vermont’s Fleming Museum of Art and the Southern Vermont Arts Center.


Getting Along Is Boring, Let’s Fight: Embrace Conflict and Live the Most Interesting Life

Trevor Chandler ’09 | September 14, 2023

Political toxicity and polarization continue to strain our institutions and civic cohesiveness with studies showing less trust between Republicans and Democrats than between Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East. Simultaneously, Americans are increasingly self-isolating to their ideological corners and reporting ever higher degrees of loneliness. Has our society's attempt to avoid conflict with those we disagree with actually hurt our quality of life? Can diving into conflict not only improve you professional life but personal life? Trevor will discuss his groundbreaking work bridging divides on some of the most sensitive domestic and international issues of our time to demonstrate how you can make an impact not only on an issue you care about, but also be a part of repairing America's civic fabric.

The theme of Trevor Chandler’s career has been taking on the tough fights and winning. Not by bludgeoning his opponents into silence but by engaging them head-on. From being a leading strategist and organizer for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement, to navigating Middle East politics as the Progressive Outreach Director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), to diving into the debate around tech and public safety as Director of Government Affairs for the Citizen app, to now running for office in a San Francisco at a crossroads Trevor has successfully shown how being deliberately and authentically curious about how people who disagree with him think can make a global impact and chart a totally unique career path. Trevor’s work earned him a spot on The Economist Magazine’s Top 50 Global Diversity Leaders in Public Life alongside the Obamas and Malala Yousefzai. In addition to previously serving as Student Body President, he has been recognized by PSU as the Van Hartman Outstanding Senior Male (‘09) and with the Recent Alumni Award of Excellence.

Building Global Justice in the Face of Mass Atrocities, Crimes Against Humanity, and Genocide
Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The global community has been shocked by recent accusations of mass atrocities, crimes against humanity, and genocide in places like Ukraine, China, and Myanmar. Considering these developments, the discussion will trace the development of international responses and tools to address these crimes at the global level. This presentation included coverage of the 1948 Genocide Convention, ad hoc tribunals, the International Criminal Court as well as increasing norms concerning global justice. Specific focus was given to the implications for global justice in response to allegations against Russia in Ukraine.   

Alynna J. Lyon is a professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire. She is author of US Politics and the United Nations (Lynne Rienner, 2016), co-author of two books, The United Nations: 75 Years of Promoting Peace, Human Rights and Development 2020 (with Kent Kille) and The United Nations in the 21 Century with Karen Mingst and Margaret Karns, (Routledge 2022) and co-editor of Pope Francis as a Global Actor: Where Politics and Theology Meet (Palgrave Studies, 2018) and Religion and Politics in a Global Society (Lexington, 2013). She is editor-in-chief of the journal of Global Governance, and a faculty fellow for the Office of Senior Vice Provost, Engagement and Faculty Development.  

Decolonizing and Indigenizing Environmental Justice
Tuesday, March 7, 2023

As the topic of environmental justice (EJ) has gained greater currency in the US with growing environmental and racial concerns, scholars are refining what EJ means in various communities. For American Indians environmental injustice begins with the history of invasion, genocide, and land theft, as Dina Gilio-Whitaker writes about in her acclaimed 2019 book As Long As Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice from Colonization to Standing Rock. As part of the 2023 Sidore Lecture Series, Professor Gilio-Whitaker discussed her work, focusing on settler colonialism as the lens of analysis for understanding an Indigenized and decolonial approach to environmental justice. 

Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes) is a lecturer of American Indian Studies at California State University San Marcos, and an independent educator in American Indian environmental policy and other issues. At CSUSM she teaches courses on environmentalism and American Indians, traditional ecological knowledge, religion and philosophy, Native women’s activism, American Indians and sports, and decolonization. She also works within the field of critical sports studies, examining the intersections of indigeneity and the sport of surfing. As a public intellectual, Dina brings her scholarship into focus as an award-winning journalist, with her work appearing at Indian Country Today, the Los Angeles TimesHigh Country News,, Slate,, Bioneers, Truthout, the Pacifica Network, Grist, CSPAN Booktalk, The Boston Globe, and many more. Dina is the author of two books; the most recent award-winning As Long As Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice from Colonization to Standing Rock. She is currently under contract with Beacon Press for a new book under the working title Illegitimate Nation: Privilege, Race, and Belonging in the U.S. Settler State, and is also a co-editor of a new collection from Cambridge University Press’s Elements Series on Indigenous Environmental Research.

The Civil Rights Fighters of Our Time
Tuesday, February 7, 2023

For every client’s criminal charge, there are other problems that call for repair. The client has a circle of loved ones – partners and children and parents and employers who enter into the equation, too.  Public defender professionals are in the lion’s den with their clients witnessing and pushing back on a broad systemic issue that oppresses their communities, that are riddled with the perpetuation of bias. Bishop Tutu says, “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.”

That’s where we are now. In this session, the speaker will address: how the premise of the right to counsel is much more than sheer representation; examine whether American society structured in such a way that pushes people into the river; why is it that the poorest communities (in every sense) are predominantly inhabited by people of color; and why social justice is about addressing not only the structural disadvantages that exist but also, who benefits from this configuration and how might we get people to care.

Lori James-Townes is the executive director of the National Association for Public Defense (NAPD). At NAPD, she led the creation and planning of NAPD’s Women’s Conference, which recently hosted an 800-person virtual event headlined by Stacey Abrams. In 2021, she co-led NAPD’s first-ever National Virtual Conference for Gideon Week – bringing more than 6,500 attendees together for the largest public defense training in history. She is the principal owner of Expand-NOW, a consulting firm specializing in speaker, coaching, and teaching. Through Expand-Now, LLC, she is able to fulfill her lifelong passion for adding value to others. Lori has also held teaching positions at Morgan State University, the University of Maryland School of Social Work, and most recently Towson University. In 2015, The Daily Record newspaper named her as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women.

Are humans destined to commit ecocide?
Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Can humans apply justice to non-human species and their ecosystems? The dominant world view places humans above all other species and has considered the ecosystems they depend upon as natural resources for human exploitation. Our rapid population growth combined with overconsumption is driving a sixth mass extinction. Ecocide, an emerging concept defined as ecosystem or ecological destruction mostly through human activity, is being proposed as an international crime. Increasing calls for sustainable consumption and resource use/extraction indicate a growing awareness of our eco-destructive behavior. But there is a big divide between this growing awareness and the actions and policies of governments and corporations. What levers will facilitate transformation to ecologically aware, sustainable resource use?

Dr. Len Reitsma, professor emeritus, grew up in Northern NJ 20 miles west of the George Washington Bridge. With a growing realization that birds and other non-human species were in serious peril, he got his Ph.D. at Dartmouth in 1990. His focus was bird ecology in the tropics and in NH. As a professor at Plymouth State, Len received two of the highest honors: the Distinguished Teaching Award as well as the Distinguished Scholar Award. His passion at PSU was teaching and maintaining a bird research program that he sustains to the present. Much of Len’s research has been driven by declines in the populations of the species he has studied. He and his wife garden, heat their home mostly with renewable energy, drive an electric and hybrid vehicle and spend most days in nature on their 115-acre American Tree Farm.

Environmental Justice and Health: the Ecosystem Mindset for Urban Green Spaces in Retrospect and Moving Forward
Monday, November 7, 2022

Urban green spaces play a multidimensional role in environmental quality as well as human health and well-being. However, limited access to quality green spaces has strained equity goals for many communities. This presentation will highlight key research on urban green spaces, environmental justice and health across the United States. It will also discuss how achieving the vision of environmental justice continues to be important for the quality of life now and in the future. 

Dr. Viniece Jennings is a purpose driven scholar, educator, and environmental professional. Her innovative research on urban green spaces and health was recognized as top research for practice by the National Recreation and Parks Association. She has published in multiple journals such as Nature Communications and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. She is a JPB Environmental Health Fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She serves as an assistant professor in the department of public health at Agnes Scott College. Prior to this role, she worked as a research scientist with the federal government where she has over a decade of experience.

Understanding and Responding to Social Disruptions

We are currently living through multiple interconnected crises. The Spring 2021 Sidore Series focused on understanding their origins and potential responses.

Cycles of Hatred and Rage: What Are Right-Wing Extremist Groups Telling Us?
Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Since the US Capitol riot of January 6, 2021, right-wing movements have received a great deal of attention from the American media and the FBI. The Proud Boys, a right-wing “militia” that espouses violence, is only one group of close to a thousand that the Southern Poverty Law Center considers to be of grave concern. European countries have for years experienced a growth in extreme right-wing movements in, for instance, France, Italy, and Germany. This lecture draws on the fieldwork of anthropologists in Europe and the US to provide insight into factors such as immigration, inequality, and labor insecurity that drive people to form such groups in protest against governments and their policies.

Katherine Donahue is an anthropologist who has done field research in France and the United States. Her book Slave of Allah: Zacarias Moussaoui vs. The USA (2007) is based on her experience attending the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person to have been tried, and convicted, in the United States for the attacks of 9/11. She is the co-editor, with Patricia R. Heck, of Cycles of Hatred and Rage: What Right-Wing Extremists in Europe and Their Parties Tell Us About the US (2019).

The Hate Vaccine: Attitudinal Inoculation as Counter-Persuasion for Far-Right Extremist Propaganda
Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Although the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol on January 6th brought the full scope of the threat posed by the far-right into view, right-wing extremists (including neo-Nazis, white supremacists, sovereign citizens, and others) have been working to build a movement in the United States for decades. As part of these efforts, far-right extremists have reached out to vulnerable individuals online, attempting to bring them to adopt ideologies that advocate hatred, polarization, and violence. As these groups have grown increasingly active online, the need to challenge their influence has become critical. One method for preventing persuasion — attitudinal inoculation — has gone largely unused in trying to stem the tide of far-right extremism. Dr. Kurt Braddock has begun to test inoculation as a means of fighting far-right propaganda, and initial results are very promising. In this talk, Dr. Braddock discusses attitudinal inoculation, his work in using it to fight right-wing extremists’ propaganda, and how it might be used moving forward.

Dr. Kurt Braddock is an Assistant Professor of Public Communication in the School of Communication at American University. He is also holds faculty fellowships at American University’s Polarization and Extremism Research Innovation Lab (PERIL), Center for Media and Social Impact (CMSI), and Institute for Immersive Designs, Experiences, Applications, and Stories (IDEAS) Lab. Dr. Braddock has published dozens of articles and book chapters on the application of communication theory to prevent violent extremism. His latest book, Weaponized Words: The Strategic Role of Persuasion in Violent Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization, has been adopted by multiple government agencies to inform their counter-radicalization efforts. He has consulted with and advised several national and international organizations, including the US Department of State, the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Agency for International Development, Public Safety Canada, the UK Home Office, and the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism.

A Conversation with Sacha Pfeiffer

Saturday, October 7, 2018

Decades before a pioneer of investigative journalism, W.T. Stead, perished on the Titanic, his shocking exposé of child prostitution in London led to the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. How has this legacy of investigation and accountability held up in the 21st century? What challenges does today’s investigative journalist face? Drawing on her extensive experiences in the field, the award-winning Boston Globe Spotlight Team reporter Sacha Pfeiffer will address these and other issues related to the role of investigative journalists in our current media landscape.

Journalist Sacha Pfeiffer was a member of the Boston Globe Spotlight Team that won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its stories on the Catholic Church’s cover-up of clergy sex abuse. That reporting is the subject of the 2015 movie Spotlight, in which Pfeiffer is played by actress Rachel McAdams. In more than a decade at the Globe, Pfeiffer has produced numerous investigative series, has been the host of All Things Considered and Radio Boston at WBUR, Boston’s NPR station, where she won a national 2012 Edward R. Murrow Award for broadcast reporting, and a guest host of NPR’s On Point and Here & Now.


Fourth and Fifth Amendment Rights: Why They are Important to Both the Guilty and the Innocent 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Without the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the US Constitution, our worlds would be very different. There would be no assurances against police invading our homes and going through our belongings on a whim. We would have little or no protection against trickery and coercion during police questioning. But, while the rights guaranteed by these amendments help to secure our freedom from the State, do they also make us more susceptible to crime in our society? These two amendments represent a critical flashpoint in balancing the needs for both the freedom and security of US citizens.

What are our rights in situations such as traffic stops or police interrogations? When do we invoke them? When do we waive them? These are among the issues that will be explored within the context of recent Supreme Court decisions, and Professor Maclin will discuss their implications for both the guilty and the innocent.

Tracey Maclin is the Joseph Lipsitt Faculty Research Scholar and a professor of law at Boston University. He is the author of The Supreme Court and the Fourth Amendment’s Exclusionary Rule.


How New Hampshire Saved America

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Americans believe our government is broken. According to a recent Gallup Poll, fixing the government is the most important issue for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. In this talk, Professor Lessig explains the fundamental corruption that has taken hold of our government and how we, the People, have lost touch with our Framers’ values.

New Hampshire has a critical role in restoring the Republic that the Framers promised. Professor Lessig examines how recent efforts—including the ongoing “New Hampshire Rebellion”—are mobilizing citizens to band together and form a movement capable of effecting fundamental and lasting change.

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and author of Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It.


The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Inequality, Corporate Power, and Crime

Monday, March 12, 2012

Income and wealth inequality are worse than what people believe is fair, and inequality is underestimated. In his talk, Leighton discusses the link between the distribution of economic resources and crime, based on famed criminologist John Braithwaite’s argument that inequality worsens both crimes of poverty, which are motivated by need and structural humiliation, and crimes of wealth, which are motivated by greed and unaccountability. He will also provide a review of numerous solutions proposed over decades, highlighting the importance of campaign finance reform.

Paul Leighton is a professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology at Eastern Michigan University. He is a co-author or co-editor of The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison; the The Rich Get Richer: A Reader; Criminal Justice Ethics; Class, Race, Gender and Crime; and Punishment for Sale: Private Prisons, Big Business, and the Incarceration Binge. He was editor of Critical Criminology: An International Journal, and was named Critical Criminologist of the Year from the American Society of Criminology’s Division on Critical Criminology. Leighton is also president of the board of a domestic violence shelter and advocacy center.