Leadership Lecture Series

The Leadership Lecture Series, with ongoing public events throughout the academic year, addresses issues of topical interest in leadership, public service, politics, and international affairs. These events bring some of America’s most respected leaders in public service to the University of Maine. These events are an important facet of the Institute’s mission to promote and teach leadership and public service in a way that reflects and honors the rich legacy of Secretary William S. Cohen, one of Maine’s most highly respected and influential citizens. 

Fall 2016

Why is Congress So Unpopular?
The American Public’s Growing Disapproval of the American Political Establishment

Constance A. Morella (R-MD) served as Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) from 2003 until 2007. From 1987 until 2003, Ambassador Morella represented Maryland’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. During her sixteen years working in Congress, Ambassador Morella served on several committees including, the House Committee on Science and the Committee on Government Reform. She also chaired the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues. She was Co-Chair of the Congressional Delegation to the U.N. Women’s Conference in Beijing.

Prior to her public service, Ambassador Morella was a Professor of English at Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland from 1970-1985. In 2008 she was a Resident Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School Institute of Politics. She was appointed Ambassador in Residence at American University School of Public Affairs where she teaches “Women, Politics, and Public Policy.” Ambassador Morella holds a B.A. from Boston University, an M.A. from American University and 12 honorary degrees.

Mike Ross (D-AR) served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District, including as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. During his 12 years in the congress, Mike was also member of the House Financial Services Committee, House Foreign Affairs Committee, House Agriculture Committee, House Small Business Committee, and House Science and Technology Committee. He was also elected vice president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

Additionally, Mike spent 10 years in the Arkansas State Senate. He also owned a family pharmacy and home medical equipment business, was a retail sales manager for McKesson Corporation and was a licensed independent insurance agent. He was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Arkansas in 2014. Mike Ross earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Spring 2016

Two Days after New Hampshire

February 21, 2016

Dr. L. Sandy Maisel is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Government, chair of the Department of Government, and founding director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement at Colby College, where he has taught since 1971.  He is the author or editor of nineteen books (several in multiple editions) including American Political Parties and Elections: A Very Short Introduction and Evaluating Campaign Quality: Can the Electoral Process Be Improved?  From Obscurity to Oblivion: Running in the Congressional Primary chronicled Maisel’s unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for Congress from Maine.  Maisel has served as president of the New England Political Science Association, twice a member of the Council of the American Political Science Association, and chair of the APSA’s research sections that focus on political organizations, parties and legislative studies.  He has twice been awarded Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer grants and has served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Australia, Harvard University and at Stanford University.


Fall 2015

The Adversary:  Uncertainty

November 5, 2015 

Col. William Smullen III ’62, US Army (Ret.). is the Director of the National Security Studies Program and a Professor of Public Relations at Syracuse University. Prior to his appointment at Syracuse University, he was the Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell beginning in January 2001.  A veteran of 30 years in the U.S. Army, his last assignment on active duty was Special Assistant to the eleventh and twelfth Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., and General Colin L. Powell.  Upon leaving active duty, he became the Executive Assistant to General Powell, assisting with the writing and promotion of his best-selling autobiography, “My American Journey.” Colonel Smullen has written his own book, titled “Ways and Means for Managing Up.” It is a book on how to be successful in the workplace.

Colonel Smullen’s discussed the threats and challenges facing the United States today and his personal recommendations for how the US can effectively meet these challenges.

The State of the World: A Personal Perspective

September 21, 2015 

An award-winning journalist, David Lamb ’62, has traveled to or reported from 185 different countries. He has covered the Vietnam War, the Iranian revolution, the overthrow of Idi Amin in Uganda, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the African famine, the Rwanda massacres, the Persian Gulf War, the popular uprising in Indonesia in 1998, the anarchy in East Timor in 1999, the war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq and many of the other major stories of the past three decades. He has served as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, an Alicia Patterson Fellow and a writer-in-residence at the University of Southern California.

Spring 2015

Trade in the 21st Century: Fear Not

April 14, 2015 

Peter Madigan ’81 has had a long and distinguished career, serving in the Bush/Cheney Transition Team as chief of staff to United States Trade Ambassador Robert B. Zoellick. During the Bush administration, he was the principle deputy assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs for Secretary James A. Baker III. In the Reagan Administration, Mr. Madigan was a special assistant to the assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services as well as the legislative assistant to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget David A. Stockman.

Throughout his career, Mr. Madigan has continued to be a strong supporter of his alma mater, the University of Maine, most recently on UMaine’s Board of Visitors. He currently chairs the Board of Advisors of the Cohen Institute for Leadership & Public Service, and serves on the Board of Advisors for the School of Policy and International Affairs, and has contributed myriad scholarships and internships for UMaine students.

Fall 2014

Politics in Washington D.C.: Past, Present, and Future

October 7, 2014 

Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-MN) began his career in politics when he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1983. He served in the Minnesota House of Representatives – where he was the Republican floor leader for three years – until 1994 when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Mr. Gutknecht served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives in a number of positions, including chair of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Operations Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry, and vice chair of the Science Committee.

Rep. Michael Kopetski (D-OR) was a member of the Oregon House of Representatives from 1985 to 1988. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1990 and served as Representative from Oregon’s 5th congressional district from 1991 to 1995. He was a member of the Ways and Means Committee during his term. Mr. Kopetski did not seek reelection in 1994 and became an international trade consultant. He became a board member at On2 Technologies, a designer of video codec technology, in 2003.