James P. ’60 and Mary C. Sczepaniak Lecture Series

The legacy of Jim and Mary Clare Sczepaniak lives on at Lewis University through scholarships, enhancements and a history lecture series. The lectures began in October 2016 and have brought scholarly speakers on a variety of topics. The inaugural event featured Dr. Robert Sterling in his presentation, “Bars and Stripes: The Old Joliet Prison.” These Fall and Spring lectures are free and open to the public.

Dennis H. Cremin, History Department Chair, said, “I knew Jim and Fran, his second wife, and their consistent commitment to education is a model. Their scholarships are transforming lives. The lecture series was inspired by Jim’s appreciation of public historical programs. They also funded the sculpture installation, located on the west entrance of the Arts and Sciences building, which is a special tribute to the De La Salle Christian Brothers to mark the 55th anniversary of their dedicated sponsorship of Lewis University.

The Sczepaniaks have found various ways to support history. Reflecting on his time at Lewis University, Jim noted, “Lewis was a great school and my classmates were good, too. We had the same goal – to get out there and make a change in the world, big or small.”

Most Recent lecture

Fall 2023

Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad in the Chicago Area

Presented by: Larry McClellan, professor emeritus of sociology and community studies at Governors State University

Past Lectures

Fall 2023

Place, Region, and Changing Human Interactions with Nature

Presented by: William Barnett, Ph.D., Professor of History, North Central College

Spring 2023

Formidable: American women and the fight for equality.

Presented by: Dr. Elisabeth Griffin, Ph.D.

Fall 2022

Segregated Suburbs and the History of the United States

Presented by: Dr. Paige Glotzer, Assistant Professor of History and John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe Chair at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Spring 2022

No lecture.

Fall 2021

Unvarnished: Civil Rights in Our Backyards

Presented by: Dr. Sarah Doherty, Frank Lippo, Nicholas Hoffman, Dr. Sabrina Robins, and Donna Sack.

Spring 2021

No lecture.

Fall 2020

No lecture.

Spring 2020

Chicago Women and the Vote: Curating Women’s Activism (canceled due to COVID-19)

Presented by: Dr. Elizabeth Fratterigo, Loyola University Chicago.

Fall 2019

The Activist Museum: Museums, Communities, and Social Justice

Presented by: Jennifer Scott, director and chief curator of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum.


Spring 2019

Allied Collapse and American Intervention: How Hyphenated Americans Won WWI

Presented by: Dr. Geoffrey Wawro, University of North Texas.

Fall 2018

At Home in Illinois: the View from Historic Houses

Presented by: Presented by: Kelly Kloubucher, Scott Mchaffey, and Donna Sack.

Spring 2018

To Make the World Safe: Woodrow Wilson and the Impact of the United States on World War I

Presented by: Ross A. Kennedy, Illinois State University.

Fall 2017

The Global Challenge of 'Place Making': How Can Cities Maintain their Cultural and Natural Heritage in the Path of Massive Change

Presented by: Presented by: Gerald W. Adelmann, President & CEO of Openlands.

Spring 2017

How the Mexican Border Became a Problem: Pancho Villa and Beyond

Presented by: Dr. Ben Johnson, Loyola University Chicago.

Fall 2016

Bars and Stripes: A Short History of the Joliet Prison

Presented by: Dr. Robert Sterling, Joliet Junior College.


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