March 23, 2017

Renowned Newscaster, Tony-winning Actor Included in 2017-18 Bryan Series Lineup

Guilford College’s Bryan Series in 2017-18 will feature one of the most accomplished and trusted newscasters of all time, the actor who won a Tony Award for portraying Aaron Burr in “Hamilton” on Broadway and a blogger who created the Humans of New York phenomenon, along with two other speakers and a program to be announced.

Ted Koppel, Leslie Odom Jr. and Brandon Stanton are among the speakers in the series’ 13th subscription season that begins in September. Five subscription programs will be at the Greensboro Coliseum, and one non-subscription program will be presented at Dana Auditorium on campus, where the series originated. Speakers committed to date were announced at a gathering of series supporters on campus March 23.

In subscription programs, neuroscientist and best-selling author Lisa Genova will speak Oct. 25, followed by Odom on Nov. 15. Koppel and Stanton will speak on Feb. 20 and April 10, respectively. The season will open with a headlining program that is expected to be announced at this season’s finale on April 6. Religion scholar and bestselling author Reza Aslan will speak in a non-subscription program Jan. 28 on campus.

“This season we will be focused on navigating change in a complex world,” said Ty Buckner, associate vice president, who manages the series. “We will explore how we can best respond to changes in our loved ones and in ourselves, how we view the change in history and society through different lenses, including the arts, and how we process changes on the national and global stage.”

The series’ 2,800 current subscribers may renew their subscriptions beginning March 23. New subscriptions are scheduled to go on sale May 8 at

Eight new and renewed corporate sponsors have committed for 2017-18, including First Citizens Bank, Wells Fargo, Cone Health, Schell Bray, Friends Homes, Well Spring, Lab Corp and Piedmont Natural Gas.

The Bryan Series, Guilford College’s major lecture program, originated more than 20 years ago with a September 1996 presentation by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. The series was held in Dana Auditorium on campus until 2005 and will move from the Coliseum to the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts downtown in 2019.

Speaker Bios

Lisa Genova, neuroscientist, will speak about the challenge of dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. In 2007 she self-published her debut novel, Still Alice, a fictional account about a Harvard University professor who suffers early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Published in 2009 by a division of Simon & Schuster, there are more than 2.6 million copies in print, and it has been translated into 37 languages. Julianne Moore won the 2014 Oscar in for best actress for her portrayal of Alice Howland in the film adaptation. Lisa’s subsequent novels, Left Neglected, Love Anthony and Inside the O'Briens are all New York Times bestsellers.

Leslie Odom Jr., actor and vocalist, will speak on Alexander Hamilton, the man and the musical, and perform musical selections following his talk. He starred as Aaron Burr in the Broadway blockbuster “Hamilton,” for which he won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. He is a Grammy Award winner as a principal soloist on Hamilton’s original Broadway cast recording. He made his Broadway debut at the age of 17 in “Rent,” before heading to Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama, where he graduated with honors. He will appear in the film remake of “Murder on the Orient Express,” scheduled for release later this year.

Reza Aslan, scholar of religion, will speak on confronting Islamophobia in America. An Iranian-American, Reza is an internationally known writer, commentator, professor, producer and scholar of religions. His books, including the international bestseller No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, have been translated into dozens of languages around the world. Reza was born into a Shia Muslim family. He converted to evangelical Christianity at the age of 15 and converted back to Islam the summer before attending Harvard. He is a professor of creative writing at University of California, Riverside.

Ted Koppel, anchor for ABC’s “Nightline” from the program’s inception in 1980 until his retirement in late 2005, will speak on current events including cyberterrorism. After “Nightline,” Ted worked as managing editor for the Discovery Channel and a news analyst for NPR and BBC World News America. He is currently a special contributor to “CBS Sunday Morning.” He earned four Emmy awards for “Nightline” and a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award. In 2015, Ted authored Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath, about the potential for a major cyberattack on America’s power grid.

Brandon Stanton, photographer, blogger and best-selling author, will speak on his photojournalistic work featuring ordinary people, Humans of New York. It has become a set of best-selling books and has 18 million likes on Facebook and 7 million followers on Instagram. He took up photography full-time after losing his job as a bond trader and set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers. Brandon has now photographed people in countries around the world and in the process raised millions of dollars for humanitarian causes. He was named one of Time’s “30 Under 30 People Changing the World” in 2013.