Eric R. Williams

Eric R. Williams

Eric R. Williams is a Professor in the School of Media Arts & Studies at Ohio University, where he teaches courses on screenwriting, film, and virtual reality production. He is also the director of the MFA in Communication Media Arts program at Ohio University. Professor Williams received his bachelor’s degree in Communication with a minor in Education from Northwestern University, and he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in Film from Columbia University. Before directing his first feature film, Professor Williams worked as a cinematographer and assistant director in New York City. He has written more than 30 screenplays.

He has also written, produced, and directed for companies such as Workshop Productions, Liam Films, American Movie Classics, Fox Interactive, and Universal Studios. Professor Williams’s films and screenplays have won the Best New Work award from the Writers Guild of America and the Individual Excellence Award in screenwriting from the Ohio Arts Council. His film, Breaking News, was selected as one of the “Top Five Films Not to Miss” by the Athens Independent Film Society at the Athens International Film and Video Festival.

At Ohio University, he received the University Professor Award for excellence in teaching, and he was also a finalist for the Presidential Teacher Award. Professor Williams co-edited the book Media and the Creative Process. He is also the author of two other books: Screen Adaptation: Beyond the Basics and The Screenwriters Taxonomy. When he is not writing, producing, or directing, Professor Williams enjoys working on international media education projects and he frequently travels to South America and Eastern Europe. His dedication to teaching was recognized by the president of Guyana, where he was awarded a lifetime honorary membership to the CineGuyana society.


Paul Wagner

Paul Wagner

Paul Wagner is a Viticulture & Winery Technology Instructor at Napa Valley College. He is also a guest lecturer at many universities, including the University of Rovira i Virgili, the University of Bordeaux, and the University of Porto. He has judged more than 100 international wine competitions and has spoken at more than 80 conferences throughout the world on wine, wine tourism, wine education, public affairs, and wine marketing.

Mr. Wagner is the coauthor of Wine Marketing & Sales: Success Strategies for a Saturated Market, which won the Gourmand Award for the best wine book for professionals in 2007 and is now in its third edition. He is also the author of Artisan Public Relations: A Hands-On Guide to Getting Your Food & Beverage Creations the Attention They Deserve and coauthor of Wine Sales and Distribution: The Secrets to Building a Consultative Selling Approach. He was a columnist for Vineyard & Winery Management magazine for 10 years, and he previously served on the board of directors for the Society of Wine Educators. He also cohosts Bottle Talk, a weekly conversation about wine, at www.rickandpaulwine.com.

Mr. Wagner is also a founding member of the Academy of Wine Communications; consultant for the International Wine & Food Society, London Branch; member of the nominations committee for the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintners Hall of Fame; and member of the Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference advisory board. He was inducted into the Spadarini della Castellania di Soave in 2005, and in 2009, he was honored with a Life Dedicated to Wine award at the Feria Nacional del Vino (FENAVIN) in Spain. In 2018, he received the American Wine Society’s annual Award of Merit, joining such luminaries as Robert Mondavi and Gina Gallo, and was named the winner of the McPherson Distinguished Teaching Award at Napa Valley College.

Mr. Wagner is the founder and president emeritus of Balzac Communications & Marketing. His clients there included the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux; Caymus Vineyards; Seagram Chateau & Estate Wines Company; Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico; FurmintUSA; La Rioja Alta, S.A.; Constellation Brands; Sogevinus; Bodegas Salentein; Villa Trasqua; Consorzio del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano; Regione Siciliana; and a host of other wine, food, and regional tourism clients.


Robert M. Wachter, MD

Robert Wachter, MD

Robert M. Wachter, MD is Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, where he is the Holly Smith Distinguished Professor in Science and Medicine and the Benioff Endowed Chair in Hospital Medicine. The department leads the nation in NIH grants and is generally ranked as one of the nation’s best.

Wachter is author of 250 articles and 6 books and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. He coined the term “hospitalist” in 1996 and is often considered the “father” of the hospitalist field, the fastest growing specialty in the history of modern medicine. He is past president of the Society of Hospital Medicine and past chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

In the safety and quality arenas, he has written two books on the subject, including Understanding Patient Safety, the world’s top selling safety primer. In 2004, he received the John M. Eisenberg Award, the nation’s top honor in patient safety. Thirteen times, Modern Healthcare magazine has ranked him as one of the 50 most influential physician-executives in the U.S.; he was #1 on the list in 2015. His 2015 book, The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age, was a New York Times science bestseller. In 2016, he chaired a blue-ribbon commission advising England’s National Health Service on its digital strategy.

In 2020, his frequent tweets on Covid-19 were viewed over 50 million times by more than 100,000 followers and served as a trusted source of information on the clinical, public health, and policy issues surrounding the pandemic.


Sean K. Todd

Sean K. Todd

Sean K. Todd holds the Steven K. Katona Chair in Marine Sciences at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. Professor Todd received a Joint Honours undergraduate degree in Marine Biology and Oceanography from Bangor University in the United Kingdom and his master’s and doctoral degrees in Biopsychology at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

He joined the College of the Atlantic as a faculty member in Biology & Marine Mammals and became the inaugural holder of the Steven K. Katona Chair in Marine Sciences in 2006. That same year, he also became director of Allied Whale, the college’s marine mammal research program, which includes the Marine Mammal Stranding Response Program, one of two programs responsible for stranding response in Maine.

Professor Todd’s marine mammal research interests include foraging ecology, population studies, bioacoustics, and fishery interactions. He has authored or coauthored a variety of peer-reviewed papers for journals including the Canadian Journal of ZoologyMarine Mammal Science, the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, and Marine Policy. He has also completed several invited chapters for books, and his work has been featured on BBC, CBC, PBS, NPR, and Scientific American Frontiers.


John B. Taylor

John B. Taylor

John B. Taylor is the Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics at Stanford University and the George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Economics at the Hoover Institution.  He is Director of the Stanford Introductory Economics Center.  He formerly served as director of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, where he is now a senior fellow.

Taylor’s fields of expertise are macroeconomics, monetary economics, and international economics.  He is known for his research on the foundations of modern monetary theory and policy, which has been applied by central banks and financial market analysts around the world.  He has an active interest in public policy. He currently is President of the Mont Pelerin Society and recently served on the Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance created by the G20. He served as senior economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1976 to 1977, as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1989 to 1991.  He was also a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Economic Advisers from 1995 to 2001.  Taylor served as a member of the California Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors from 1996-98 and 2005-10.

For four years from 2001 to 2005, Taylor served as Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs where he was responsible for currency markets, trade in financial services, foreign investment, international debt and development, and oversight of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.  He was also responsible for coordinating financial policy with the G-7 countries, was chair of the OECD working party on international macroeconomics, and was a Member of the Board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. His book Global Financial Warriors: The Untold Story of International Finance in the Post-9/11 World chronicles his years as head of the international division at Treasury.  His book Getting Off Track: How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Financial Crisis was one of the first on the financial crisis, and he has since followed up writing or coediting over a dozen additional books on restoring economic growth and preventing future crises, including First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring Americas’ Prosperity for which he won the 2012 Hayek Prize. His most recent book is Choose Economic Freedom: Enduring Policy Lessons from the 1970s and 1980s with George P. Shultz.

Taylor received the 2016 Adam Smith Award from the Association of Private Enterprise Education and the 2015 Truman Medal for Economic Policy for extraordinary contribution to the formation and conduct of economic policy. In 2010, he received the Bradley Prize from the Bradley Foundation and the Adam Smith Award from the National Association for Business Economics for his work as a researcher, public servant, and teacher. Taylor was awarded the Alexander Hamilton Award for his overall leadership at the U.S. Treasury, the Treasury Distinguished Service Award for designing and implementing the currency reforms in Iraq, and the Medal of the Republic of Uruguay for his work in resolving the 2002 financial crisis. He was awarded the George P. Shultz Distinguished Public Service Award at Stanford.  He received the University-wide Hoagland Prize for excellence in undergraduate teaching and the Rhodes Prize for his high teaching ratings in Stanford’s introductory economics course, and recently the 2015 Stanford Economics Department Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award.  He also received a Guggenheim Fellowship for his research, and he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society; he formerly served as vice president of the American Economic Association.

Previously, Taylor held positions of professor of economics at Princeton University and Columbia University.  Taylor received a B.A. in economics summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1968 and a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 1973.


Jeremi Suri

Jeremi Suri

Jeremi Suri holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is a Professor in the Department of History and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Jeremi is the author and editor of ten books on leadership, history, and politics. His most recent book is The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Highest Office.

Dr. Suri also publishes in major newspapers and magazines across the United States, and he frequently appears on national radio and TV news shows. He is a popular public lecturer and an award-winning teacher.

He hosts a weekly podcast with a large nation-wide listening audience on the past and future of democracy: “This is Democracy.”


Richard B. Spence

Richard B. Spence

Dr. Richard B. “Rick” Spence is Professor of History at the University of Idaho, where he has taught since 1986. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1981), and taught there as a visiting assistant professor from 1981 to 1985. His primary areas of study are modern Russian, modern European, Middle Eastern, and military history.

Professor Spence’s research interests include espionage; occultism; anti-Semitism; and, of course, secret societies. His major published works include Boris Savinkov: Renegade on the Left (1991), Trust No One: The Secret World of Sidney Reilly (2002), Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult (2008), and Wall Street and the Russian Revolution, 1905-1925 (2017).

He is the author of numerous articles in Revolutionary Russia, Intelligence and National Security, Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism, American Communist History, The Historian, and other journals. He has also contributed to New Dawn and other popular publications. His current projects include a book, American Spies in Revolutionary Russia, and articles on the mysterious literary figure, Arthur Cravan; the smuggling of Russian Imperial Jewels; and the deadly Eddystone munitions plant explosion of 1917. He has been a commentator/consultant for HISTORY®, the International Spy Museum, Radio Liberty, and has consulted for and been interviewed in documentaries produced by the Russian Cultural Foundation, Mamontov Productions, and other Russian media outlets.

He is also a popular guest on radio shows and podcasts, having been interviewed more than 30 times since 2015 on such programs as The Other Side of Might, Midnight in the Desert, Leak Project, Esoteric Hollywood, and Truth Be Told. Professor Spence offers a number of special courses at the University of Idaho, including Conspiracies and Secret Societies in History, Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, History of Terrorism, and The Occult in History. He has been recognized for his contributions to the University’s Honors, International Studies and Naval ROTC Programs, and has received teaching excellence awards from the university, alumni, and student body.


Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and playwright. His works include the Broadway plays A Few Good MenThe Farnsworth Invention and To Kill a Mockingbird; the television series Sports NightThe West WingStudio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and The Newsroom; and the films A Few Good MenThe American PresidentCharlie Wilson's WarMoneyball, and Steve Jobs. For writing The Social Network, he won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, among other awards. He made his feature directorial debut in 2017 with Molly's Game, which he also wrote. He received two additional Oscar nominations for Moneyball and Molly's Game.

Sorkin's trademark rapid-fire dialogue and extended monologues are complemented, in television, by frequent collaborator Thomas Schlamme's characteristic directing technique called the "walk and talk". These sequences consist of single tracking shots of long duration involving multiple characters engaging in conversation as they move through the set; characters enter and exit the conversation as the shot continues without any cuts.


Michael Shelden

Michael Shelden

Michael Shelden is a Professor of English at Indiana State University, where he has won the top award for excellence in scholarship, the Theodore Dreiser Distinguished Research/Creativity Award, three times. He earned his Ph.D. in English from Indiana University. Professor Shelden is the author of six biographies, including Orwell: The Authorized Biography, which was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Professor Shelden is also the author of Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill, which has been translated into Russian, Chinese, and Portuguese. His book Mark Twain: Man in White was a New York Times best seller, was chosen as one of the best books of 2010 by the Library Journal, and was named one of the best nonfiction books of 2010 by the Christian Science Monitor.

In a special issue on the 240th anniversary of American independence, TIME® Magazine praised Professor Shelden’s biography of Herman Melville, Melville in Love, as one of “240 Reasons to Celebrate America.” American Literary Scholarship, the annual journal published by Duke University Press, has said, “Shelden possesses that rare gift of the truly talented biographer: He can sketch scenes so vividly that a reader seems to mingle with the subjects in their long-ago conversations.”

For 12 years, Professor Shelden was a featured writer for The Daily Telegraph in London. His many scholarly articles and reviews have included publications in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Shakespeare Quarterly, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Victorian Studies, and the Journal of British Studies.


Karl Rove

Karl Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. At the White House he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy-making process.

Karl has been described by respected author and columnist Michael Barone in U.S. News & World Report as “…unique…no Presidential appointee has ever had such a strong influence on politics and policy, and none is likely to do so again anytime soon.” Washington Post columnist David Broder has called Karl a master political strategist whose “game has always been long term…and he plays it with an intensity and attention to detail that few can match.” Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard, has called Karl “the greatest political mind of his generation and probably of any generation. He knows history, understands the moods of the public, and is a visionary on matters of public policy.”

Before Karl became known as “The Architect” of President Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns, he was president of Karl Rove + Company, an Austin-based public affairs firm that worked for Republican candidates, non-partisan causes, and non-profit groups. His clients included over 75 Republican U.S. Senate, Congressional, and gubernatorial candidates in 24 states, as well as the Moderate Party of Sweden.

As a Fox News contributor, Karl provides a “genuine feel of inside knowledge,” says David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun television critic. Megan Garber, of the Columbia Journalism Review, says Karl has “focused his punditry on what he knows best: strategy.” Even the New York Times acclaims that “Rove’s substantive contributions may now inspire a little work ethic among the celebrity talking heads who may be forced to bring to the news a little more data and a little less opinion, a recalibration that would be welcome to its devoted viewers.”

Karl writes a weekly op-ed for the Wall Street Journal and is the author of the New York Times Bestseller, "Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight." He has written for various publications, including The Daily Beast, Financial Times, Forbes, FoxNews.com, HumanEvents.com, Newsweek, The Times, Washington Post, and The Weekly Standard.

A Colorado native, he attended the University of Utah, the University of Maryland-College Park, George Mason University, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Karl has taught graduate students at UT Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and undergraduates in a joint appointment from the Journalism and Government departments at the university. He was also a faculty member at the Salzburg Seminar.

He was previously a member of the Board of International Broadcasting, which oversaw the operations of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, and served on the White House Fellows regional selection panel. He was also a member of the Boards of Regents at Texas Women's University and East Texas State University.

Karl now serves on the University of Texas Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee and on the Board of Trustees for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and the Texas State History Museum Foundation. He is a member of the McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors and the Texas Philosophical Society. He was inducted into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame in 2009 and the American Association of Political Consultants Hall of Fame in 2012.