Tom Brokaw

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 – Start time 7:30 p.m.

Tom Brokaw has spent his entire distinguished journalism career with NBC News beginning in 1966 in the Los Angeles bureau where he covered Ronald Reagan’s first run for public office, the rise of the Sixties counter culture, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and the 1968 presidential campaign.

From Los Angeles, Brokaw went to Washington as the White House correspondent during Watergate and as the principal back up for John Chancellor as anchor of NBC Nightly News. Next stop: New York and TODAY followed by his appointment as anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.  He took over Meet the Press for the 2008 campaign when his close friend and colleague Tim Russert died.

In addition to his daily news gathering responsibilities, Brokaw reported on more than thirty documentaries covering subjects ranging from AIDS, Los Angeles gangs, race, education, medicine, immigration and global warming.  He has an impressive list of firsts, including the first interview with Mikhail Gorbachev; the first network report on human rights abuses in Tibet accompanied by an exclusive interview with the Dali Lama; the only American network anchor to report from Berlin the night the Berlin wall came down.

In 1998, Brokaw published his first book, The Greatest Generation, one of the most popular non-fiction books of the 20th century. He followed that with five other books, including BOOM! Voices Of The Sixties, The Time Of Our Lives.  He is also a popular essayist for publications ranging from The New York Times to Rolling Stone and a wide assortment of other periodicals and newspapers.

Brokaw has won every major award in his craft, including Peabody, Duponts, Emmys and lifetime achievement recognition. In 2014, President Barack Obama awarded Brokaw with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Brokaw’s latest book is A Lucky Life Interrupted (Random House, 2015). In this powerful memoir of a year of dramatic change, the bestselling author and former NBC anchorman chronicles a year spent battling cancer and reflecting on his long, lucky life.

Diana Nyad

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 – Start time 7:30 p.m.

At the age of 64, in her fifth and final attempt, Diana Nyad successfully fulfilled her lifelong dream of completing the 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida on September 2, 2013. Upon completing her grueling 53-hour journey, a breathless Nyad told the world, “I have three messages. One is we should never ever give up. Two is you are never too old to chase your dreams. And three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team.”

Nyad has never been one to quit. In July of 2010, at the age of 60, she began her “Xtreme Dream” quest of swimming from Cuba to Florida, a task she had failed to finish thirty years previously. When asked her motivation, she replied, “Because I’d like to prove to the other 60-year-olds that it is never too late to start your dreams.” Nyad was unsuccessful in her quest in 2010 and tried two more times 2011 and 2012 before completing the historic swim in 2013.

Back in the 1970’s, Nyad was the greatest long-distance swimmer in the world. Her world records, such as circling Manhattan Island and crossing the 102.5 miles between the Bahamas and Florida, have led to inductions to many Halls of Fame, such as the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Nyad became a prominent sports broadcaster, filing compelling reports for NPR, ABC’s Wide World of Sports, Fox Sports, and The New York Times. She has written three books and speaks French and Spanish fluently. Nyad has also earned the reputation of a uniquely passionate and entertaining public speaker, earning standing ovations with a broad spectrum of audiences.

In her 2015 memoir, Find a Way, Diana engages us with a unique, passionate story of this heroic adventure and the extraordinary life experiences that have served to carve her unwavering spirit. She recently debuted the one-woman show, Onward! The Diana Nyad Story, in Los Angeles and Key West. Directed and adapted by Joshua Ravetch, who helped shape Carrie Fisher’s show Wishful Drinking, Onward! has received praise among the theatre community.

John Brennan

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 – Start time 7:30 p.m.

John O. Brennan was sworn in as director of the Central Intelligence Agency on March 8, 2013. As director, he managed intelligence collection, analysis, covert action, counterintelligence and liaison relationships with foreign intelligence services.

Before becoming director, Brennan served at the White House for four years as assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. During that time, he advised the President on counterterrorism strategy and helped coordinate the U.S. government’s approach to homeland security, including its policies for responding to terrorism, cyberattacks, natural disasters and pandemics.

Brennan began his service in government at the CIA, where he worked from 1980 to 2005. He spent most of his early career in the agency’s main analytic arm, the Directorate of Intelligence, specializing in the Near East and South Asia before directing counterterrorism analysis in the early 1990s. In 1994 and 1995, he was the agency’s intelligence briefer to President Bill Clinton.  After an assignment as a chief of station in the Middle East, Brennan served from 1999 to 2001 as chief of staff to George Tenet, who was then director of Central Intelligence.

Brennan next worked as deputy executive director of the CIA until 2003, when he began leading a multiagency effort to establish what would become the National Counterterrorism Center. In 2004, he became the center’s interim director.  After retiring from the CIA in 2005, Brennan worked in the private sector for three years.

Brennan graduated from Fordham University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. While enrolled at Fordham, he studied abroad at the American University in Cairo. He later attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a master’s degree in government with a concentration in Middle Eastern studies.  Brennan was born in North Bergen, New Jersey. He is married and has three children.

Geno Auriemma

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 – Start time 7:30 p.m.

Geno Auriemma has served as the head coach of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team for the past 32 years. Under his transformative leadership the team has garnered 11 national titles, 18 Final Four appearances, six perfect seasons, and 45 Conference titles.

Auriemma has been inducted into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, and the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. He is a nine-time national coach-of-the-year and has been named the Conference coach-of-the-year 14 times. Additionally, he has served as head coach of the US National Team–winning gold medals in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.

His commitment to excellence is illustrated not only in his 32-year overall record of 991-135 (.880), the best winning percentage in the history of the sport, but also in his 100 percent graduation rate among four-year players. Auriemma is the first coach in women’s basketball history to compete in five consecutive Final Four appearances on two separate occasions; he enters the 2017-18 season just 9 games shy of 1,000 career wins.

Auriemma’s family immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1961 when he was 7 years old. He is a 1981 graduate of West Chester State University and currently resides in Manchester, CT, with his wife Kathy.

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