Stony Brook University; Carl Bernstein at the Newseum in DC
  • Carl Bernstein
  • Thursday March 3, 2022 @ 7pm
  • Miami University Hamilton, Parrish Auditorium

The Michael J. Colligan History Project welcomes the legendary Carl Bernstein for a unique evening of personal reminiscence, historical anecdote, and insightful reflection. A Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist famed for his Washington Post exposure of the Watergate scandal, Bernstein’s books, reporting, and commentary have revealed the inner workings of American government and politics for over forty years.

Bernstein draws on his new memoir Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom (Henry Holt & Co., 2022), which chronicles his early years as a budding reporter. Working his way up from a 16 year-old copy boy at the Washington Star, Bernstein rose through the ranks to cover a wide range of stories as a young reporter in our nation’s capital. Bernstein’s book reflects on these early years, covering everything from the Kennedy administration to the Civil Rights movement to the slew of grisly crime scenes which he covered.

Link to CBS profile of Chasing History.

  • Free public lecture; audience Q&A/ booksigning to follow.
  • RSVP strongly encouraged:
  • NOTE: At the time of writing, Miami University requires everyone to wear facemasks on campus. Any changes in policy will be publicly communicated to all visitors in advance of this event. Thank you for your consideration of this requirement.

Leadership in Turbulent Times

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Kearns Goodwin

The John E. Dolibois History Prize Lecture

Thursday, October 21 @ 7 pm

Miami University Hamilton, Parrish Auditorium

As the United States and the world grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s “historian-in-chief” Doris Kearns Goodwin reflects upon our shared past to put into context this defining moment in our nation’s history: A crisis so daunting, so deadly and economically damaging that it has completely upended our everyday lives. Not since the Great Depression and World War II have we experienced such collective hardships. Drawing from her most recent book, Leadership In Turbulent Times, Goodwin transports us back to that era to provide perspective and analysis as she helps us understand how President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s leadership created a triple alliance among government, business and the American people that helped us endure sacrifices, achieve an astonishing productivity, and initiate systemic changes that ultimately showed our resilience and helped us persevere and triumph. History provides lessons. History provides solace. History provides hope.

RSVP required at:

  • Free, public event
  • Co-sponsored by the Menard Family Center for Democracy
  • NOTE: As of August 9, 2021 Miami University requires everyone to wear facemasks on campus. Any changes in policy will be publicly communicated to all visitors in advance of this event. Thank you for your consideration of this requirement.

First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong

James R. Hansen, Auburn University

Thursday, April 22 @ 7pm

Historian James R. Hansen has written on the history of science and aerospace technology for the past 30 years. His New York Times bestselling authorized biography First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong (2005), was adapted into the award-winning film First Man (2019). His presentation, marking Earth Day 2021, highlights the dramatic triumphs and challenges faced by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission.

Pandemics in Historical Perspective: An Online Discussion

October 26, 2020 @ 7 PM

To register online, go to:

COVID-19 is a global pandemic on a scale not seen for over a century. Beyond its human toll, it has brought economic chaos, social change, and huge burdens on everyday life.

And yet we’ve been here before. From cholera to Spanish Flu to coronavirus, global pandemics are the great forgotten sagas of history, reshaping society in their deadly wake.

Join us for a lively online panel focusing on historical perspectives, the challenges of the current crisis, and building stronger, more resilient communities as we learn from these difficult times.

  • How did past generations cope with the experience of pandemics?
  • What lessons can be drawn at the community level?
  • What are the prospects for economic recovery, cultural reinvention, and civic leadership?


  • Dr. Matthew Smith, Michael J. Colligan History Project (moderator)
  • Dr. Susan Spellman: Miami University Regionals
  • Dr. Jim Harris: The Ohio State University
  • Mr. Ian MacKenzie-Thurley: Executive Director, Fitton Center for Creative Arts
  • Mr. Joshua Smith: City Manager (City of Hamilton)
  • Ms. Kathy Creighton: Executive Director, Butler County Historical Society

Brief panel comments will be followed by moderated audience Q & A.

A Message to the Community

Dear Friends,

You likely will have heard the news, but I wanted to confirm that Miami University this week announced some emergency measures that will affect our programming. Miami University has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus, but in response to Governor DeWine’s statewide declaration of emergency, together with advice from Ohio’s Department of Health, Miami has chosen to move all face-to-face classes online and cancel large gatherings of people through April 12.



This necessary public health move affects numerous events this semester, including the spring Colligan series. Sadly therefore, I regret that the March 26 screening of the film First Man and the April 2 lecture by James R. Hansen are cancelled. As the situation gets better we will keep you posted on any developments and any rescheduling. I predict that our fall schedule will remain unaffected. Although the recent global news has been discouraging, I look forward to welcoming you all back to our campus once the corner has been turned and life gets back to normal!

Keep well, keep calm, and keep in touch.

Matthew Smith,

Director, Michael J. Colligan History Project

100 Years of the 19th Amendment

Lynn Sherr

Monday, March 2 @ 7 pm

Harry T. Wilks Conference Center, Miami University Hamilton

Sherr poster copy.jpg

The Colligan History Project proudly welcomes award-winning author & journalist Lynn Sherr (ABC News 20/20) to explore the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Sherr has become well known to television audiences as an investigative correspondent on ABC News 20/20, and was a program consultant for Ken Burns’s PBS documentary Not For Ourselves Alone. She has written widely on the history of women’s issues, feminism, and and social change, and edited the bestselling Failure is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words.

This Women’s History Month presentation weaves the historical significance of this milestone with an appreciation of women such as Susan B. Anthony in the movement for change.

  • Free public event
  • Reception to follow


An Audience With Sarah Vowell

Monday, October 21, 2019 @ 7 pm

Parrish Auditorium, Miami University Hamilton


Bestselling author Sarah Vowell (The Wordy Shipmates, Assassination Vacation, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States) is widely known as a nonfiction writer, radio broadcaster, voice actor, and cultural observer. The author of seven New York Times bestselling books, she writes with humor, insight and a sense of place about American history from Puritan Massachusetts through all our major wars from the Revolution to the present, as well as the country’s music, movies, literature, current events and folk heroes. She was a contributing editor for NPR’s This American Life for twelve years, the founding president of literacy nonprofit 826NYC, a regular on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and is a contributing writer for the New York Times.

This evening’s on-stage conversation explores the connections between the American past and present through Vowell’s personal, often humorous, and deeply original perspective, casting new light on everything from the Massachussetts Puritans, to Presidents and their assassins, and the legacy of the American Revolution.

  • Free public event
  • Reception & book signing to follow

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Erik Larson

Saturday, November 10 @ 7 pm

Parrish Auditorium, Miami University Hamilton

Erik Larson

Bestselling author Erik Larson (Thunderstruck, Devil in the White City) describes the tragedy that brought war home to many Americans for the first time. On May 1, 1915 the S.S. Lusitania, among the fastest, most luxurious liners of its day, sailed from New York bound for Liverpool on an ill-fated voyage that changed history …

This Colligan History Project presentation, based on Larson’s bestselling book of the same name will take place on the eve of the centenary of the end of World War One. It is included as part of Miami University Regionals Heroes Week, a program of public events honoring all military veterans.

  • Free public event
  • Reception & book signing to follow

Curt Ellison and Ladonna Hoskins: An Appreciation

Dear folks,

On behalf of the Michael J. Colligan History Project, I write to acknowledge the distinguished service of my friends and colleagues, Dr. Curt Ellison and Ladonna Hoskins. Please join me in wishing them a long, happy, and active retirement!

L-r: Ladonna Hoskins, Dr. Curt Ellison, Dr. Matthew Smith

Curt retires after forty-eight years at Miami University and some 100 events at Miami Regionals. Since coming to Miami in 1970, Curt was dean or interim dean of three Miami schools, teaching History, Appalachian Studies, American Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and English. He published numerous books and articles including Country Music Culture: From Hard Times to Heaven, and has a project under way on “Ralph Stanley & the Appalachian Diaspora.” Curt served as Director of the Colligan Project at Hamilton and Miami University Regionals Appalachian Studies since 2010. Highlights include the centennial commemoration of the 1913 Great Miami River Flood, the community turnout for David McCullough’s 2016 Dolibois Prize Lecture, and the pioneering Bluegrass Music Heritage of Southwestern Ohio project with Appalachian Studies.

Ladonna worked at the Colligan Project since the beginning in 2000. Her skill, dedication, and attention to detail have ensured the steady growth and success of our programs, and her sunny personality brought a burst of Florida warmth to our Project. She and her partner Steve have been enjoying retirement and traveling the US, fishing, boating, and motor racing!

I look forward to succeeding Curt this fall as Director of Public Programs, with responsibility for the Colligan Project, Appalachian Studies, and the Wilks and Casper Lectures in Hamilton and Middletown respectively. I’m also grateful for the support and know-how of our capable new Program Associate, Sheila Williams, who joined our team this year.

Together we plan to bringing many exciting speakers and events in the years to come!

Matthew Smith.

The Art of Leadership: Andrew Jackson & Lessons from the American Presidency

Jon Meacham

Thursday, April 12, 2018 @ 7 pm

Parrish Auditorium, Miami University HamiltonMeacham
Join us as distinguished presidential historian and winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House Jon Meacham explores what 21st century leaders can learn from our common past. Meacham’s non-partisan presentation discusses how examples of former U.S. Presidents, including Andrew Jackson, can inform today’s leaders in various fields.

  • Free Public event
  • Reception and book-signing to follow