The three Celebrity Forum Speakers Series are sponsored by the Foothill/De Anza Community College District which presents between six to eight different speakers each year from September/October through April/May at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on the De Anza College campus in Cupertino, California.
Distinguished people share with the audience their experiences and perspectives on a wide variety of topics providing students and community members with a deeper understanding of politics, world affairs, science, economics, education, business, the arts and the entertainment world. It is an opportunity to hear formal presentations and to ask questions of knowledgeable heads-of-state, brilliant scientists, prominent educators, members of royalty, outstanding business leaders and various notable newsmakers.
The Celebrity Forum stands for the relevance and power of ideas. In a very important way, it represents one of the significant ways our society has of thinking things through, of applying reason and intellect to the frequently intractable problems of our times – and doing this in the belief that ideas are important in today's world. We need ideas in our society – fresh ideas, relevant ideas, ideas for new times and old ideas made relevant through new application.
The Celebrity Forum Speakers Series is an opportunity to share informative and inspirational programs with community members, including mature high school and college-age children. It provides a wonderful opportunity for family dialogue on important issues, such as international affairs, American politics, current events, science, economics, popular books and authors.
Foothill and De Anza College students, as well as local high school students routinely attend the programs.
The speakers comprising the next "season" are announced at the final lecture of the current series which is in April or in May.
Renewal information and descriptions of the speakers are mailed at the end of the season to all current subscribers. Subscribers are given a specific period of time to respond before tickets are sold to those on the Wait-List and non-subscribers.
Yes, we do keep a waiting list/mailing list for upcoming series. Please email your contact information to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, address, daytime phone number, and email and we will add your name. Or, you can fax your information to (650) 949-7121.
Applications for series tickets from those on the Wait-List are accepted on a "first-come, first-served" basis; all orders, whether by internet, fax or U.S.mail are time-stamped. Orders may be placed online on our website at: http://www.celebrityforum.net, faxed or mailed using credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and Discover) or checks. Orders are not taken over the telephone.
We do not provide contact information to any outside source.
We have both open and reserved seating. Open seating allows you to choose a different seat for each event within the open seating sections located on the main floor and in the balcony, except in the corporate boxes. Reserved seating means your seat is assigned throughout the series. Each year, an attempt is made to improve seating for those with reserved seats, assuming people in better seats drop out. However, if you wish to remain in the same seats, you can indicate that on your renewal form. Ninety seven percent (97%) of the audience renew their subscriptions.
Indicate that you want reserved seats on your order form. Reserved seats are renewable from year to year. Once renewals are complete, remaining seats in the reserved section become available. These seats become available first to current subscribers wishing to upgrade from open to reserved seating, and then to current subscribers changing to a different night and new subscribers.
Each evening lasts one and one-half hours, from 8 to 9:30 p.m. The evening begins at 8 p.m. with a short introduction by Celebrity Forum founder Dick Henning. The speaker begins at about 8:05 p.m. with remarks usually lasting until about 9 p.m. During the talk, members of the audience have the opportunity to fill out a question card for the speaker. Following the speaker's formal remarks and beginning at approximately 9 p.m., audience questions are read by Dr. Henning to the speaker. During this 30-minute session, the speaker clarifies and/or amplifies previous remarks or offers spontaneous and revealing new information. It is often the most interesting part of the evening.
By contract, the Celebrity Forum cannot record the speakers' talk for public use. We are prohibited from distributing the program in any form. Some speakers allow their talks to be recorded for our college archives only.
When dealing with such high-profile people, there is a small chance that a postponement or substitution of a speaker will occur. This has happened only a few times in past years. When you purchase tickets to the series, you must assume this very small risk. Our brochure and application state that speakers are subject to substitution and/or rescheduling. We make every attempt to reschedule the same speaker at a later time or bring in a comparable speaker on the same date.
It is often the speakers with whom you don't agree that you learn the most. These are the speakers who challenge our views and opinions and intellectually stimulate our thinking. It does not matter whether you accept another's views or ideas, but it is helpful and wise to listen to them.
You are not expected to agree or accept the views of the speaker just because he or she is famous. Moreover, if you do not agree with a speaker, ask the speaker a question and challenge his or her views! Hopefully, we will always have speakers with whom you disagree; otherwise, the series could be boring. There is tremendous value in having diverse opinions — that is what makes the Celebrity Forum interesting and makes our country great.
There are several reasons why tickets to individual lectures are not available. Selling it as a series allows us to advertise the Celebrity Forum at one time which tremendously reduces the marketing cost. Marketing each of the speakers individually would greatly increase the cost of the series.
In addition, besides the added cost, if tickets for individual lectures were sold, then it is no longer a "Speakers Series". There is great benefit to attending all of the lectures instead of choosing two or three of favorites. Since you will already have purchased your tickets to the series, there is a good chance you will attend the lecture of a speaker you don't know or one with whom you think you will disagree. The vast majority of at people have discovered that they get more out of the series if they attend every lecture. The series is a Gestalt. The total value gained in attending the series of speakers is much greater than the sum of the individual speakers. By attending all of the speakers year after year, a huge body of knowledge can be amassed.
Single tickets to individual events are not sold. If a series is not sold out when it begins, tickets remain available by series only.
The Celebrity Forum is popular because it is, unlike television, an interactive experience. You get to see and hear famous people up close such as Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Rudy Giuliani, Tom Brokaw, Madeleine Albright, Ken Burns, Queen Noor of Jordan, Jane Goodall, David McCullough, Cary Grant, Walter Cronkite, Margaret Thatcher, Colin Powell, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Mario Cuomo, to name a few, coming from all walks of life to share their views and opinions with the Celebrity Forum audiences. Again, unlike television, our guests have time to elaborate at length about their topic as opposed to TV "sound bites." This is a rare, educational experience for little time and money.
The Celebrity Forum is an easy, effective, enjoyable way to keep up-to-date on current affairs, which includes domestic and international perspectives. Often, friends and small groups attend together and discuss the program after the session. Some groups have pre-study meetings. Following a speaker's appearance, the talk around Silicon Valley often times has to do with what that speaker said the night before.
Yes. From the beginning night in January, 1968, it was a sell-out.
In 1967–68, Dick Henning was Director of Student Activities at Foothill College, and he had a challenge when students coming back from Vietnam decided they didn't want the community college lumping the cost of student body cards into enrollment fees. His job was to convince the students that the card was worth well in excess of the $20 they were paying. When he was finishing formulating the perfect solution, the school was offering four new programs, two of which were a concert series and a speakers series.
The concert series included such greats as Big Brother & the Holding Company with Janis Joplin (four weeks before she died), The 5th Dimension, B. B. King, Taj Mahal, Joan Baez, The Doobie Brothers and The Grateful Dead, which drew capacity student crowds.
The first speakers series in 1968, which was held in the Foothill College gymnasium, featured Louis Leakey, Dick Gregory, Indira Gandhi, Pearl S. Buck and Alistair Cooke. It drew a capacity crowd of 1,500 but only about 50 students attended. Evidently, the students had better things to do on Friday nights. However, the highly-educated, inquisitive residents were happy to pay the $2 entrance fee. In those early days, each speaker's fee was a flat $600; so a nice profit was realized the very first year.