top of page

All lectures this season will be held live in-person and virtually through this website and the Ruth Pauley Facebook page at @RuthPauleyLectureSeries. Check back on this page for details on each lecture as they are made available.


Nancy Giles

“Let’s Have a Conversation about Race: True Tales From a Black Experience”

Nancy Giles is a comedian, actress, and social commentator. Since 2002, her work on the Peabody Award-winning "CBS News Sunday Morning" has earned her five Emmy Awards for their unique blend of common-sense wisdom, laugh-out-loud humor, social and political commentary, and interviews. A veteran of Chicago’s esteemed Second City improv troupe, Giles has starred and been featured in numerous television series. On stage, she appeared Off-Broadway in Nora & Delia Ephron’s “Love, Loss, and What I Wore, and won the Theatre World Award for the musical “Mayor.” Her podcast, “The Giles Files” takes a lively spin on trending topics – including pop culture to politics, with interviews, commentaries, song parodies, and more.



Dr. Robin Cummings
“From Cucumbers to Cardiac Surgery to Chancellor: Finding Your Why”

Dr. Robin Cummings currently serves as the sixth Chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP). During his leadership, UNCP has increased access to a high-quality education, expanded academic opportunities through institutional partnerships, enhanced the university’s role in regional economic development, and set records for philanthropic giving. Dr. Cummings previously practiced cardiothoracic surgery at the Pinehurst Surgical Clinic and Moore Regional Hospital, where he chaired the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Section of Cardiovascular and General Surgery. He also served on the Moore Regional Hospital Board of Trustees and chaired the First Health Moore Regional Hospital Foundation.



Michelle Kuo

"Can Reading Change A Life?: On Books, Prisons, and Transformation"
(pending COVID
travel restrictions)

*This presentation will be online only due to COVID travel precautions.

Author of the award-winning Reading with Patrick, Michelle Kuo was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to immigrants from Taiwan. Michelle Kuo attended public schools before graduating from Harvard College. In 2004, she joined Teach for America and moved to the rural town of Helena, Arkansas, located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, where she taught English at an alternative school for students expelled from other schools. After graduation from Harvard Law School, Michelle returned to rural Arkansas to work as a tutor in a county jail. This experience forms the heart of Reading with Patrick, which explores racism, incarceration, and education in the Mississippi Delta. The book has been adopted by community reads and first-year university and library programs across the country, including the Yale Prison Education Initiative, the University of Iowa, and Stanford University.


Brian Richter

“Chasing Water in a Changing World”

Brian Richter has been a global leader in water science and conservation for more than thirty years. He is the president of Sustainable Waters, a global organization focused on water scarcity challenges, where he promotes sustainable water use and management with governments, corporations, universities, and local communities. He previously served as Director of the Global Water Program at The Nature Conservancy, an international conservation organization. Brian has consulted on more than 170 water projects worldwide. He serves as a water advisor to some of the world’s largest corporations, investment banks, and the United Nations, and has testified before the U.S. Congress on multiple occasions. He teaches Water Sustainability at the University of Virginia. His latest book, Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability, has now been published in five languages.


Michael Wellington
“Birdies, Bogeys and Bipolar Disorder”

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 23, Michael Wellington is a mental health activist, author, speaker, and pro golfer who travels the country speaking about his battle with bipolar disorder. He has spoken to college athletes, insurance groups, fundraising galas, corporations, men’s groups, financial firms, college fraternities and sororities, and high schools. After college, he battled through different medications, struggled with alcohol, experienced eight hospital stays over the course of twenty years, and attempted many different strategies to help keep his bipolar disorder under control. During this period, he earned paychecks on five different professional golf tours, made eight holes-in-one, and wrote his memoir, Birdies, Bogeys & Bipolar Disorder. He also founded the non-profit organization,, which has hosted golf fundraising events in St. Louis and New Orleans, raised funds and awareness for other mental health groups, and supported veterans in playing both competitive and recreational golf.   


Branford Marsalis

“The Roots of Jazz in North Carolina”

Branford Marsalis is an American jazz and classical saxophonist, composer, and band leader. Born in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, Marsalis started his music career
in 1980, touring in big band ensembles and working with jazz legends such as Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, and Art Blakey, as well as rock acts such as Sting and Grateful Dead. He was also the bandleader on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” In 1984, Marsalis released his debut album, “Scenes in the City.” In 1992, his album, “I Heard You Twice the First Time,” won a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual or Group, and in 2000, he won a second Grammy (Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group) for

the album, “Contemporary Jazz.” His latest release (2015) is “Branford Marsalis Quartet Performs Coltrane's a Love Supreme Live in Amsterdam.”
Marsalis will be interviewed by Dr. Paul Murphy, local minister and noted musician. 



Untitled design-11.png
Untitled design-17.png
Untitled design-16.png
Untitled design-15.png
Untitled design-14.png
Untitled design-13.png
bottom of page