Pulitzer Prize winner kicking off Annual Staenberg Lecture series


Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Isabel Wilkerson will be the first guest lecturer as part of a new partnership between Maryville University, philanthropists Michael and Carol Staenberg, and the Staenberg Family Foundation, and the  St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum.

The partnership creates the Annual Staenberg Lecture, a five-year series focusing on contemporary social issues through the lens of the Holocaust, its lessons, and its historical significance.

“Our Museum and this partnership with Maryville University is an important step to broaden the outreach for learning how the events of the Holocaust and current issues weave together even today,” said Michael Staenberg.

The Inaugural Lecture

The first lecture is set for April 12, 2022 and will be held at The Factory in West St. Louis County and is open to the public.

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Wilkerson, the former Chicago Bureau Chief for The New York Times, is the author of  “Caste: The Origins of our Discontents.” The book was a #1 New York Times bestseller and was named #1 Nonfiction Book of the Year (2020) by Time magazine. The book explores America’s deeply-rooted divisions and the parallels with historical hierarchies in both India and Nazi Germany. It also inspired an in-depth Oprah’s Book Club podcast series, produced by Apple Books.

The annual lecture will also create educational opportunities for Maryville students as well as students from area high schools and youth organizations who will attend the lectures.

“We are both honored and grateful to receive such generous support from the Staenberg Family Foundation to launch this program with the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum,” said Maryville President Mark Lombardi, PhD. “Together we will shine a spotlight on social issues that remind us we must never forget our past so that we can build a more just and better future.”

“We are delighted to forge this partnership with Maryville University to educate the community about the legacies of the Holocaust and its relevant, contemporary lessons,” said Helen Turner, director of education and interpretation for the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum. “We’re grateful to our longtime partners and supporters Michael and Carol Staenberg and the Staenberg Family Foundation for making this opportunity possible.”

Details On The Way

Details about the inaugural lecture along with registration information are to be announced soon.

“We are excited to launch this effort in our community, and provide a platform for sharing ideas and creating a dialogue to combat antisemitism and hate,” Lombardi said. “The lessons of history provide a roadmap for us all.”