This free lecture series brings renowned biographers to the Mary Washington campus to explore the lives and achievements of remarkable people. The subjects aren’t necessarily upstanding role models, but all are great in their influence, actions, or ideas. Since 2004, the series has investigated the lives of more than 150 people and a few non-human subjects including the racehorse Secretariat and the fictional Frankenstein.
Lectures are held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, January through April, in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium. They include question-and-answer sessions and book-signings.
The series began in 2004 as a class to introduce UMW students to history through biography. A few of those lectures were opened to the public, and the response was extraordinary. The program outgrew its 200-seat Monroe Hall venue and moved to Dodd Auditorium, where audiences now average about 500 per lecture.
The series is named for the late Carmen Culpeper Chappell ’59 and sponsored by her family.