Former White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly kicks off Purdue University Northwest Sinai Forum season Sept. 8

By: Purdue University Northwest Last Updated: June 8, 2019

2019-pnwSullenberger, Steinem, Dershowitz and Murray round out 2019 season

WESTVILLE, Ind. — Five prominent leaders are coming to the Purdue University Northwest (PNW) Sinai Forum during the acclaimed speaker series’ 66th season this fall, starting September 8 with former White House Chief of Staff General John F. Kelly, U.S. Marine Corps (RET).

“This year’s series features leaders in their respective fields. From those in government and law to those who inspire movements and change,” said Sinai Forum Executive Director Leslie Plesac. “We are grateful for the generosity of our sponsors to help us bring a wonderfully diverse and dynamic lineup of speakers to northwest Indiana.”

Tickets for the general public go on sale starting Monday, June 10 at

Hosting prominent speakers has been the cornerstone of the Sinai Forum’s renowned history. Plesac said the Forum is designed to give audiences a unique opportunity to hear noted speakers and pose questions in a town-hall style format.

The season runs from September through December, leading off with Gen. Kelly at the Stardust Event Center at Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa in Michigan City, Indiana. The remaining programs are hosted at the James B. Dworkin Student Services and Activities Complex on PNW’s Westville Campus, 1401 S. U.S. 421, Westville. All programs will begin at 4 p.m., with doors opening at 3 p.m.

The 2019 Sinai Forum season speakers are:

Gen. John F. Kelly, USMC (RET.) — Sunday, Sept. 8 at 4 p.m. (CDT)
“Geopolitics: Risk, Reward and Balance”
A 4-Star General, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and former White House Chief of Staff, few people are as qualified as Gen. John F. Kelly to provide firsthand insight into the evolving geopolitical landscape around the world. From the UN to the Pentagon, from the South China Sea to Washington, DC, Gen. Kelly will discuss the trends, risks and potential rewards amid the hot spots around the globe.

Liz Murray — Sunday, Oct. 6 at 4 p.m. (CDT)
“From Homeless to Harvard”
Liz Murray’s life is a triumph over adversity and a stunning example of the importance of dreaming big. Raised in the Bronx by two loving but drug-addicted parents, she grew up in poverty, often without enough food, chronically absent from school and most of all, struggling to connect her education to a viable future. By age 15, Murray’s mom had died and she was homeless. Determined to take charge of her life, she finished high school in just two years and was awarded a full scholarship to Harvard University, all while camping out in New York City parks and subway stations. A passionate advocate for underserved youth, Murray is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Arthur Project, a mentoring program that works intensively with at-risk youth.

Alan Dershowitz — Sunday, Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. (CDT)
“Perspectives on Justice and Civil Liberties”
Professor Alan M. Dershowitz is a Brooklyn native who has been called “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer” and one of its “most distinguished defenders of individual rights.” A prominent scholar on U.S. Constitutional and criminal law, Dershowitz has also been called the “winningest” criminal lawyer in modern history and has argued hundreds of appeals in courts throughout the nation. As a speaker, he challenges audiences with his thought-provoking perspectives on today’s foremost social, legal and ethical issues. Dershowitz joined the Harvard Law School faculty at age 25 – the youngest in the school’s history – and became an emeritus professor after 50 years of teaching.

Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger — Sunday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. (CST)
“208 Seconds: A Lifetime of Lessons”
One of the most captivating American heroes of our time, and now an ardent advocate for the safety of everyone who flies, Captain “Sully” Sullenberger’s preparation and leadership enabled him to safely guide US Airways Flight 1549 to an emergency water landing in New York City’s frigid Hudson River – an inspirational and iconic moment in modern history. Capt. Sullenberger will share his lifetime of experience, which prepared him to handle the unprecedented crisis that came to be known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.”

Gloria Steinem — Sunday, Dec. 1 at 4 p.m. (CST)
“An Afternoon with Gloria Steinem”
Gloria Steinem remains an iconic and inspiring voice, and one of the most visible symbols of the women’s movement. A writer, lecturer, political activist and feminist organizer, she travels in the U.S. and other countries as an organizer and lecturer and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality. Steinem produces and hosts “WOMAN with Gloria Steinem,” a TV series on VICELAND that explores human rights and violence against women around the world. Her next book, “THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE, BUT FIRST IT WILL PISS YOU OFF,” is out October 29, 2019.

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets are sold as a season series for all programs. A limited number of single program tickets will be offered only for Gen. Kelly.

Regular season series tickets with general seating for all five programs are $150 each. Patron season series tickets, including reserved seating and an exclusive reception with speakers before each program, are $275 each. Single program tickets for Gen. Kelly are $100 each.

Admission for all programs is free for high school and college students with a valid student ID card. Advanced student reservation is required for the Gen. Kelly program.

Tickets can be purchased by credit card online at or by cash or check starting June 19 at the Bursar’s Office on either Purdue University Northwest campus, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Bursar’s Office is located in Room 130 of the Charles H. Lawshe Hall on the Hammond Campus at 7141 Woodmar Ave., and in Room 127 of the Robert F. Schwarz Hall on the Westville Campus at 1401 S. U.S. 421.

The season sponsors are Urschel Laboratories, Inc., The Times Media Company, Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa and The Bankoff Family.

Additional sponsors are John W. Anderson Foundation, Horizon Bank, Healthcare Foundation of La Porte, “The Herald-Argus” and “The News Dispatch.”

Patron-level ticket holders are welcome to attend all pre-program speaker receptions. The receptions are sponsored by Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa, Leonard J. and Irene Brown Foundation, Harbour Trust Investment Management Company, La Porte Hospital and HealthLinc, Inc.

Additional information about the Purdue Northwest Sinai Forum is available at

Purdue University Northwest Sinai Forum
The Sinai Forum has brought world-renowned scholars, leaders, dignitaries, artists and personalities to Northwest Indiana since 1953. Founded by Sylvia and Dr. Milton Bankoff with a mission to enlighten, inspire and entertain, the revered speakers’ series came under the stewardship of Purdue University Northwest in 2006.

Purdue University Northwest
Purdue University Northwest (PNW) is a student-centered university that values academic excellence, supports growth and celebrates diversity. Located in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago, PNW fosters a vibrant academic community through high quality and engaging undergraduate and graduate education. For more information about PNW, visit