Speakers and Performers

Featured Speakers

Clyde Bellecourt

CLYDE BELLECOURT founded the national American Indian Movement (AIM) with Dennis Banks, George Mitchell, Harold Goodsky, Eddie Benton Banai, Herb Powless and others in Minneapolis, Minn., on July 28, 1968. AIM was formed to create change for Native Americans by focusing on sovereignty, treaty issues, spirituality and leadership, while also addressing police harassment and racism against Native Americans on and off the reservation. AIM's paramount objective was to create economic independence for Native Americans.

Andrew Chaikin

ANDREW CHAIKIN is an award-winning science journalist and space historian and has authored books and articles about space exploration and astronomy for more than three decades. Writer-director and explorer James Cameron ("Titanic," "Aliens of the Deep") called him "our best historian of the space age."

Chaikin is best known as the author of "A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts," widely regarded as the definitive account of the moon missions. First published in 1994, this acclaimed work was the main basis for Tom Hanks' 12-part HBO miniseries, "From the Earth to the Moon," which won the Emmy for best miniseries in 1998. Chaikin spent eight years writing and researching "A Man on the Moon," including more than 150 hours of personal interviews with 23 of the 24 lunar astronauts (Apollo 13, Jack Swigert was already deceased). Apollo moonwalker Gene Cernan said of the book, "I've been there. Chaikin took me back." A new edition of the book, with a new afterword for the 50th anniversary of the space age, was published by Penguin in 2007.

Clay Jenkinson

CLAY JENKINSON has been involved with public humanities events throughout his career. This is the 30th symposium he has moderated. Trained at Vanderbilt, the University of Minnesota, Oxford University (where he was a Rhodes Scholar), and the University of Colorado, Clay returned to North Dakota in 2005, and joined the BSC community in 2014 as a Distinguished Scholar of the Humanities.

Clay's work at BSC includes half a dozen public humanities Conversations every year with BSC president Larry Skogen, an ambitious series of long form interviews with remarkable North Dakotans (The Dakota Interviews), "The Thomas Jefferson Hour," and public humanities symposia, most recently on the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Mark Lewisohn

MARK LEWISOHN is renowned as a Beatles historian, a reputation that began in his years as researcher for other writers and was confirmed in 1986 when he made his debut as a published author with "The Beatles Live!" - a diary-like account of the group as stage performers. For his book, "The Beatles Recording Sessions," EMI Records paid Mark to go into Abbey Road Studios to listen to all of the Beatles' tapes - the original, unheard recordings that led to their completed masters - and write a book about them. Next came "The Complete Beatles Chronicle," published in 1992 and sometimes called the Beatles bible.

The first book in a trilogy ("The Beatles: All These Years"), "Tune In," was published in 2013. The book tells the Beatles' story freshly, comprehensively, colorfully, accurately and even-handedly. He recently began work on the second volume of the trilogy.

Clay Jenkinson

DR. MARK H. LYTLE, Bard College, is the Lyford and Helen Grey Edwards Professor of Historical Studies Emeritus. He is currently among those historians seeking to develop the field of "Environmental Diplomacy."  The author of "The Origins of the Iranian-American Alliance, 1941-1953," he began his career as a student of American relations with Iran and the role of oil in postwar foreign policy.  Since then, in his books "America's Uncivil Wars: The Sixties Era from Elvis to the Fall of Richard Nixon" and "The Gentle Subversive: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, and the Rise of the Environmental Movement," he has focused on the history of the 1960s and environmentalism.

Lynn Novick

LYNN NOVICK, director/producer, has been making documentaries for PBS for nearly 25 years. An Emmy and Peabody award-winning director and producer, she has been a principal collaborator of Ken Burns since the early 1990s. Together, they have been responsible for more than 60 hours of programming, some of the most critically acclaimed and top-rated documentary films and series that have aired on PBS.

Novick is currently directing a 10-part, 18-hour series about the history and meaning of the Vietnam War with Burns and producer Sarah Botstein. Slated for release in 2017, the series will be the first major documentary assessment of the subject -- one of the most divisive and consequential events in American history - since the early 1980s. With unprecedented access to eyewitnesses in the U.S. and Vietnam, as well as exhaustively researched archival material from around the globe, the film presents a groundbreaking, 360-degree narrative of the war.

Rick Perlstein

RICK PERLSTEIN is the author of "The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan." Before that, he published "Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America" (2008), a New York Times bestseller picked as one of the best nonfiction books of the year by more than a dozen publications, and "Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus," winner of the 2001 Los Angeles Times Book Award for history. Perlstein, a contributing writer at The Nation, is a former chief national correspondent for The Village Voice, and former online columnist for The New Republic and Rolling Stone. His journalism pieces and essays have appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, and many other publications.

Larry Skogen

DR. LARRY C. SKOGEN became president of Bismarck State College in 2007.  He was named Acting Chancellor of the North Dakota University System in June 2013 and served as Interim Chancellor of the NDUS from November 1, 2013 until June 30, 2015, when he returned to BSC.

Prior to 2007, he was academic dean and deputy superintendent for academic affairs at New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell, N.M. Dr. Skogen has taught history in collegiate and military settings and served as a squadron director of operations and wing inspector general at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming from 1998 to 2001 as well as other capacities for  the U.S. Air Force.

He's a recognized authority and published author on federal Indian policy. He holds a B.S. in secondary education from Dickinson (N.D.) State University, an M.A. in history from University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, Mo., and a Ph.D. in history from Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.

Gloria Steinem

GLORIA STEINEM is a writer, lecturer, political activist and feminist organizer, who has championed women's rights since the late 1960s. In 1972, she co-founded Ms. Magazine and worked as an editor for 15 years. She retains a consulting role today. In 1968, she helped found New York magazine, where she wrote a political column and feature articles. Steinem has traveled the world as an organizer and lecturer on issues of equality and written for publications outside the United States. She is particularly interested in the shared origins of gender roles, sex and race caste systems, child abuse as roots of violence, non-violent conflict resolution, cultures of indigenous peoples, and organizing across boundaries for peace and justice. In her recently completed memoir, "My Life on the Road," she recounts her work as a feminist organizer.  Her other books include the bestsellers "Revolution from Within," "Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions," "Moving Beyond Words" and "Marilyn: Norma Jean."

Mary Ann Watson

DR. MARY ANN WATSON is a recipient of Eastern Michigan University's Distinguished Faculty Award for Scholarly and Creative Activity and has received research awards from the Rockefeller Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities. She is the author of "The Expanding Vista:  American Television in the Kennedy Years," which has become a widely cited work in the literature of the field.  She is also the author of "Defining Visions: Television and the American Experience in the 20th Century." Dr. Watson has contributed book chapters to many works, including "The Columbia History of American Television." Watson is the co-editor of "Norman Corwin's One World Flight: The Lost Journal of Radio's Greatest Writer."

Her articles have also appeared in the Washington Journalism Review, Media Studies Journal, Journal of Broadcasting, Journal of Popular Film & Television, and Electronic Media. Watson has contributed entries to the Encyclopedia of Television and the Encyclopedia of Popular Culture.

Geoffrey Wawro

DR. GEOFFREY WAWRO is professor of history and director of the Military History Center at the University of North Texas in the Dallas Metroplex. From 2000-2005, he was professor of strategic studies at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.  A modern European historian by training, Dr. Wawro's doctorate is from Yale University, his B.A. Magna Cum Laude from Brown University. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Austria from 1989-91 and visiting professor of strategy and policy at the Naval War College from 1996-98.  From 1992-2000, he was assistant and associate professor of history at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He speaks German, French, Spanish and Italian.

Dr. Wawro is the author of four highly regarded books: "Quicksand:  America's Pursuit of Power in the Middle East" (Penguin Press, 2010), "The Franco-Prussian War" (Cambridge, 2003), "Warfare and Society in Europe, 1792-1914" (Routledge, 2000), and "The Austro-Prussian War" (Cambridge, 1996).

Lawrence Wright

LAWRENCE WRIGHT is an author, screenwriter, playwright, and a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine where he has published a number of prize-winning articles that garnered two National Magazine Awards, among others.

Wright is the author of one novel, "God's Favorite" (Simon & Schuster, 2000) and eight nonfiction books, including "City Children, Country Summer" (Scribner's, 1979), "In the New World: Growing Up with America, 1960-1984" (Knopf, 1987), "Saints & Sinners" (Knopf, 1993), "Remembering Satan" (Knopf, 1994), and "Twins: Genes, Environment, and the Mystery of Identity" (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1997). "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11" (Knopf, 2006) was published to immediate and widespread acclaim, spending eight weeks on The New York Times bestseller list and being translated into 25 languages. It won the Lionel Gelber Award for Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Award for History, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.  "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief" (Knopf, 2013), also a New York Times bestseller, was nominated for the National Book Award and won the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. His most recent book, "Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David," was published in the fall of 2014 and was named by Publisher's Weekly as one of the top 10 books of the year.

Featured Performers

Bob Eubanks

There have been successful DJ's like Ryan Seacrest, Casey Kasem and Rick Dees. There are artist managers who take unknown personalities and make them big stars, and concert promoters like Live Nation and AEG. There are TV producers who are known within the industry and TV personalities like Tom Bergeron, Bob Barker and Pat Sajak. There are people who have won multiple Emmy awards and people who have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But only one person in the entire entertainment industry has done it all - BOB EUBANKS.

In 1964, 1965 and 1966, Eubanks produced The Beatles concerts at the Hollywood Bowl and Dodger Stadium. He was one of the top rock ‘n roll DJ's in Los Angeles at the number one radio station. He was the exclusive promoter for country star Merle Haggard for 10 years and produced some of the biggest concerts ever, which include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan, to name a few. He produced network and syndicated game shows and variety TV. He hosted some of television's most successful daytime programs, such as "The Newlywed Game" and "Card Sharks." He has won eight Emmy awards, including a lifetime achievement award and was the last person to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the 20th century. He is one of a kind.

THE NEW CHRISTY MINSTRELS®, still under the direction of Randy Sparks, is better than they were in their hey-day. The Minstrels won a Grammy for their very first album and have numerous gold records. The group is now officially seven members strong.  Performing on stage are Randy Sparks, Pete Henderson, Becky Jo Benson, Jennifer Lind, Greg O'Haver, Dave Rainwater, and John Denver's uncle, Dave Deutschendorf. Each performer adds a diverse and unique talent to the show.

"For over 50 years, we have been the best talent show ever," Sparks says. "We still are!"

New Christy Ministrels

Dawn Wells

There is so much more to DAWN WELLS than Mary Ann of "Gilligan's Island," the longest running television sitcom still showing worldwide and in more than 30 languages. She is an actress, producer, author, spokesperson, journalist, motivational speaker, teacher, and chairwoman of the Terry Lee Wells Foundation, which focuses on women and children in northern Nevada.

Wells has starred in more than 150 TV shows, seven motion pictures, and 60+ theater productions. Her book, "What Would Mary Ann Do?" is available in stores, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of "Gilligan's Island." The book is part self-help, part memoir, and part humor - with a little classic TV nostalgia thrown in for good measure.

Symposium Panelists

Dina Butcher

DINA BUTCHER, who successfully led the recent statewide campaign to defeat Measure #1 (personhood constitutional amendment and woman's right to choose), was named 2015 Woman of the Year by the North Dakota Women's Network. Butcher has worked extensively in state government, serving as North Dakota Human Rights Division director under Gov. John Hoeven, director of Community Services Division and senior staff member under Gov. Ed Schafer, as well as director of his state Leadership Initiative, and deputy agriculture commissioner under Kent Jones. She owned and operated Association Management Services, Inc., for nine years, working as a lobbyist for various agricultural interests, managing agricultural associations, and launching numerous grass roots businesses. Butcher was interim director for the National Association of Wheat Growers Foundation and regional director of North Dakota Teacher Learning Center. In 2003, she joined Butcher & Associates, specializing in investigative research, pre-employment background checks and property searches. A former language teacher, she is a past president of the Bismarck Rotary Club.

Kevin Carvell

KEVIN CARVELL is a native of Mott, N.D., a graduate of North Dakota State University, and a U.S. Army veteran. He was editor of the NDSU Spectrum from 1967 to 1968. Carvell worked as a reporter and editor for The Forum in Fargo, N.D., from 1971 to 1980. He was an assistant professor of journalism at the University of North Dakota from 1979 to 1980. He then became district director for U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, a post he held from 1981 to 2004. Carvell collects North Dakota literature and has a private library of more than 7,000 books plus volumes of North Dakota material.

Mike Jacobs

MIKE JACOBS, born in North Dakota in 1947, was in high school Geometry class the day John Kennedy was killed. He graduated from Severson High School in Stanley in 1965, attended the University of North Dakota, served as editor of the campus newspaper and on the Student Senate, stood in peace lines, attended teach-ins and graduated in 1970. He has worked for The Dickinson Press, The North Dakota Farmers Union, The Morning Pioneer of Mandan and published The Onlooker, a sporadical about North Dakota issues. He joined the Grand Forks Herald in 1979, retiring as editor and publisher in 2012 and as publisher in 2014. He continues to write two columns per week, one about birds and one about politics. He is author of "One time Harvest: Reflections on Coal and Our future," published in 1975, and "A Birthday Inquiry: North Dakota at 125" published in 2014. He has also worked as a farm hand and bartender. He and his wife of 44 years, Suezette Bieri, live near Gilby, N.D., where they raise a large garden, keep cats and read books.

Al Jaeger

AL JAEGER was elected North Dakota's 14th Secretary of State in 1992 and was re-elected in 1996, 2000, 2004 (two-year term), 2006, 2010 and 2014. He serves on the state Emergency Commission, the State Historical Society of North Dakota board, and the North Dakota Board of University and School Lands. Since his election, Jaeger has participated in the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and served nine terms on its Executive Committee. He continues as a member-at-large to the Notary Public Administrators' section of NASS. Jaeger was born in Beulah, N.D., in 1943 and graduated from high school in 1961. He received an associate degree at BSC in 1963 and a BS degree from Dickinson State University in 1966 and is recipient of their alumni awards. Jaeger also completed post-graduate work at University of North Dakota in 1968 and in Montana. During high school and college, he worked for his father's excavating and ready-mix concrete company. Between 1966 and 1971, Jaeger taught at Killdeer and Kenmare, N.D., moving to Fargo in 1971 to work as a marketing analyst for Mobil Oil Corporation. From 1973-92, he was self-employed as a real estate broker and owned his own brokerage business in Fargo. Jaeger served in the North Dakota Army National Guard from 1966-72. He has been active in several community organizations, including the Jaycees, Kiwanis Club, and his church council.

Sherry O'Donnell

DR. SHERRY O'DONNELL is a professor of English at the University of North Dakota. A native of Decatur County, Iowa, she received her B.A. in English from Marycrest College in Davenport, Iowa, her M.A. in English from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio, and her Ph.D. in English from the University of Arizona in Tucson.  She taught at Dayton Community College and at New Mexico State University before joining the UND faculty in l979. Professor O'Donnell has taught more than 150 undergraduate and graduate courses in British literature, literary theory, literature and culture, nonfiction, and Women Studies at UND. She regularly hears from former students who are using their English degrees to work in business, the arts, non-profit organizations, public relations, medicine, law, education, publishing, and haute cuisine. She received a University Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2013.  Sherry and her partner Virgil Benoit, a UND French professor, live on a farm near Red Lake Falls, Minn., where she raises natural colored sheep and chickens. O'Donnell sells brown eggs to neighbors and friends, markets wool to hand-spinners and weavers, and sells grass-fed lamb and breeding stock to other growers in the region.


Laurel Reuter

LAUREL REUTER is the founding director of the North Dakota Museum of Art, where she also serves as chief curator. She was born and raised on the Spirit Lake Dakota Reservation in North Dakota. She received an MA in American literature at the University of North Dakota in 1977, and as a graduate student, established a gallery in the Student Union that evolved into North Dakota's first art museum, the North Dakota Museum of Art. As curator for the museum, she has organized numerous exhibitions and artist commissions. Reuter was honored with the 1999 Award of Distinction from the National Council of Art Administrators "in recognition of her dedication to art and to culture in North Dakota and her struggle to create a world-class museum in a remote environment. She helped a devastated community draw together and recover its spiritual existence." In 2007, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of North Dakota. In 2008, Reuter was awarded a $50,000 Curatorial Research Award from the Andy Warhol Foundation to begin work on a major exhibition about "what it means to be a Middle Eastern Woman in today's world." In 2008, she also received $60,000 from Modern Media Foundation to research and write the official biography of Chinese Artist Xu Bing.

Tom Regan

TOM REGAN has been a media and marketing professional for 45 years. He began working in radio in his hometown of Milwaukee in 1968 at a time when Top 40 music stations were transitioning to the AOR (Album-Oriented Rock) format. He was on the original staff of WTOS-FM, Milwaukee's first "Progressive Rock" (the term that replaced AOR) station. One of his "claims to fame" is his attendance at Woodstock. Tom and his wife, Patti, moved to Bismarck-Mandan in 1981 when he was hired as Prairie Public Radio's first music director. He later became manager of Prairie Public's radio network. Today, Regan is a writer, a fundraiser and public relations director, and an addiction counselor. He holds a bachelor's degree and two master's degrees.

Gary E. Skogen

Born and raised in Hettinger, N.D., GARY E. SKOGEN, a Vietnam veteran, is retired from the Los Angeles Police Department. Skogen was in the United States Army from January 1966 to September 1973. He served in Vietnam from February 1971 to January 1972. For most of his military service, he was a special investigator with the Army's Criminal Investigative Division. It was that work in Vietnam, primarily drug enforcement, that forms the basis of his book, "Not All Heroes: An Unapologetic Memoir of the Vietnam War, 1971-1972."