Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author and Presidential Historian to Present the 2023 Beall-Russell Lecture in the Humanities

Doris Kearns Goodwin will speak Oct. 2 on “Leadership in Turbulent Times,” based on her critically acclaimed book

September 28, 2023
Dorris Kearns Goodwin portrait

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin will give the 2023 Beall-Russell Lecture in the Humanities on Oct. 2 at Baylor University. (Photo Credit: Annie Leibovitz)

Contact: Shelby Cefaratti-Bertin, Baylor University Media & Public Relations, 254-327-8012
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WACO, Texas (Sept. 28, 2023) – Baylor University and the Waco communities will have the opportunity to hear from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin during this year’s Beall-Russell Lecture in the Humanities at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2, in the Grand Ballroom of the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center, 905 S. University Parks Drive. The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is requested.

Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian, public speaker and New York Times best-selling author. Her Baylor lecture will focus on “Leadership in Turbulent Times” and is based on her bestselling book of the same title.

“We are thrilled to welcome Doris Kearns Goodwin to Baylor to present the 2023 Beall-Russell Lecture in the Humanities,” said lecture co-chair Kimberley Kellison, Ph.D., associate dean of humanities and social sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences and associate professor of history at Baylor. “Ms. Goodwin’s biographies delve deeply into the trials and tribulations of presidential leaders, detailing the ways that presidents faced and overcame personal as well as political challenges. By illustrating to her readers the value of civic leadership and civic engagement, her work is a testament to the power and significance of the humanities.”

Goodwin was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys was adapted into an award-winning five-part television miniseries. Her memoir Wait Till Next Year is the heartwarming story of growing up loving her family and baseball. Her sixth book, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, won the Carnegie Medal and is being developed into a film. Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln served as the basis for the Steven Spielberg film Lincoln and was awarded the prestigious Lincoln Prize, the inaugural Book Prize for American History, and the Lincoln Leadership Prize.

Her seventh book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, was published in September 2018 to critical acclaim and became an instant New York Times bestseller. A culmination of Goodwin’s five-decade career of studying American presidents, focusing on Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson, the book provides an accessible and essential road map for aspiring and established leaders in every field, and for everyone in their everyday lives.

“Doris Kearns Goodwin, arguably the most influential American biographical historian of this century, goes well beyond reporting or interpreting the vital events of the epochs of Abraham Lincoln, the Roosevelts and Lyndon Johnson,” said lecture co-chair Alden Smith, Ph.D., professor of classics, Master Teacher and associate dean for the Honors College at Baylor. “In lively and gripping English prose, Goodwin expounds upon the events of each of these president’s lives intelligently and profoundly, in such a way as to allow the reader to explore alongside her the psyche of her characters and the character of their psyches, exploring how such character not only was able to shape history but also how it can divulge the key components of leadership itself.”

Well known for her appearances and commentary on television, Goodwin is frequently seen in documentaries, including Ken Burns’ The History of Baseball and The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, on news and cable networks and shows, including Meet The Press and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. She played herself as a teacher on The Simpsons and a historian on American Horror Story. In 2020, she served as the executive producer for History Channel's six-hour, three-night miniseries event, "Washington," which delves into the lesser-known details of America's first president and shows the arc of his developments as a leader.

The Beall-Russell Lectures in the Humanities were established in 1982 with a financial gift from Virginia B. Ball of Muncie, Indiana. The lecture series is named in honor of her mother, Mrs. John A. Beall, and Lily Russell, former dean of women at Baylor, both Baylor alumnae of the Class of 1910. The purpose of the lectures is to provide an opportunity for Baylor students and faculty to meet and hear lecturers renowned in the humanities.

Past lecturers have included artist and designer Maya Lin, poet Maya Angelou, historian David McCollough, writer Amy Tan, journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson, filmmaker Ken Burns and Nobel Prize winner for Literature Czeslaw Milosz.

“The College of Arts & Sciences and the Beall-Russell committee are profoundly grateful for the funding provided by the Beall-Russell Lectures in the Humanities, which has enabled us to bring renowned humanities scholars of national and international stature to campus,” Kellison said. “The common thread running through each of the lectures is the immeasurable importance of the humanities—the ways that humans understand and connect with one another through the study of literature, history, art, theatre and many other humanities disciplines. We are extremely pleased to add Doris Kearns Goodwin’s name to the list of renowned scholars who have made the Beall-Russell Lecture series such an important part of Baylor’s legacy.”

For more information, visit the website of the Beall-Russell Lectures in the Humanities.


The Honors College at Baylor University unites four innovative interdisciplinary programs – the Honors Program, University Scholars, Baylor Interdisciplinary Core and Great Texts – with a shared commitment to providing undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue questions that often fall between the cracks of the specialized disciplines by investigating the writings of scientists along with the writings of poets, historians and philosophers. For more information, visit baylor.edu/honorscollege.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.