Special Events

The Arlen Specter Center aims to facilitate and promote public service and civic education in a cross-disciplinary, nonpartisan setting. The work of the Center includes programming inspired by Senator Specter’s long-term interests and accomplishments. 

See some of our past events below:


Upcoming Events


Nurses on the Inside; A Memoir of the AIDS Epidemic in New York City by Ellen Matzer, RN and Valery Hughes, FNP

Interviewed by Evan Laine, Director of Arlen Specter Center

Friday, April 19, 2019

Join us for a discussion about the inspiring story of two nurses at the frontlines of the AIDs outbreak in New York City in the 1980s. Both Matzer and Hughes noticed a growing number of young men with a peculiar immune deficiency entering their ICUs. Although it would be years before anyone understood what was happening, it became the main focus of their careers. The empathy and compassion of Matzer and Hughes deeply affected their patients’ lives. This is the book about that experience.

Free Lunch Served
Online streaming of the event will be available through Facebook Live.
Link TBD.
Nurses on the Inside: https://www.facebook.com/Nursesontheinside.AIDS/

Click here to Register



Past Events




Official Opening of Arlen Specter Research Website and Senate Office Replica

Friday, October 19, 2 p.m.

Arlen Specter Center at Roxboro House - 2nd Floor
Jefferson University, East Falls Campus

Light Refreshments

Arlen Specter's collection of papers represents a major contribuiton to American political history. Ashley Taylor, University of Pittsburgh's Specter archivist, discussed the collection content and how to perform research using the new Specter website.

Also on display was the Senator's replica office containing signed photos and memorabilia, including his Senate desk and chair and a specially commissioned replica Senate carpet.


Dare to Care: Students and Suicide Prevention

Monday, March 26, 2018 6-8pm

Lawrence Katz Memorial Lecture

Suicide prevention is a crucial issue on campuses across the nation

  • Suicide is currently the second most common cause of death among college students.
  • Nearly 4,000 people age 15-24 die by suicide each year in the United States.
  • According to the JED Foundation, half of college students have had suicidal thoughts
  • Surveys suggest an increase in overall student emotional distress in recent years

→ What are the signs and what you can do to prevent suicides?

→ How can we address this critical issue on campus?

Listen to the panel discussion here




Moderator: Maiken Scott, MA, Host of "The Pulse" a weekly WHYY radio show/podcast about health, science and innovation. Formerly, Behavioral Health Reporter, NPR










  • Keynoter: Matthew Wintersteen, PhD, Assistant Professor and Director of Research in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Thomas Jefferson University (Center City)/Jefferson Medical College. Currently, he is working on a study funded by the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) designed to assess parent, adolescent, and family predictors of suicidal behavior in high-risk youth, and is involved in many other research endeavors and projects related to suicide prevention
  • Meghan K. O’Meara, Director, Counseling Services, Jefferson University (East Falls Campus)
  • Nicole Johnson, Ph.D., LPC, CAADC, CCDP-D -- part-time faculty member, Community and Trauma Counseling Program, Jefferson University (East Falls), has over 16 years of experience working in the behavioral health care system in Philadelphia and surrounding counties; has served in a variety of roles: Therapist, Clinical Supervisor, Unit Manager, Clinical Coordinator, Accreditation Manager and Program Director
  • Kimberly Riordan, first year Community and Trauma Counseling graduate student at Jefferson University--Kimberly is the co-founder and president of the campus chapter of Active Minds, a mental health awareness and advocacy organization dedicated to empowering students and encouraging help-seeking



Ready to Run™ Philadelphia

Saturday, February 17, 2018, 8am – 5pm

Ready to Run™ Pennsylvania provides bi-partisan political training to encourage women to run for government leadership positions. The day-long program targets women considering or recently deciding to run for political office, providing training and mentoring by campaign professionals, political women, and officeholders.

Hosted by The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) at Chatham University, a non–partisan center devoted to fostering women’s public leadership through education, empowerment, and action.

See also:Jefferson Today Article




PCN Book Launch Event

August 14, 2017

The Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) sponsored an official book launch at Jefferson University- East Falls Campus on Tuesday, August 14, to announce the publication of Arlen Specter: An Oral History.  The book is based on a lengthy oral history conducted by PCN via a series of detailed interviews with the Senator after he left office in 2011.  PCN’s CEO, Brian Lockman, and Programming VP, Francine Schertzer edited the book, in which Specter discusses his days as Philadelphia District Attorney, his work on the Warren Commission, his famous questioning of Robert Bork and Anita Hill, his encounters with world leaders and more.  Besides Lockman and Schertzer, there were many others who spoke at the launch event including:  the late Senator’s son, Shanin Specter, journalist, Larry Kane, former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell,  Hon. James Fitzgerald, the Hon. Ron Castille, and Specter Center Faculty Director, Evan Laine.

See also:
Mearhoff, Sarah. “PCN Unveils Arlen Specter Book,” June 23, 2017. http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/capitol-ideas/mc-late-sen-arlen-specter-retrospective-released-20170623-story.html

Photos from the event on Pennsylvania Cable Network's (PCN) Facebook Page



The Trump Transition: A Campus Conversations Series

Civil Liberties in the Trump Era

April 11th, 2017 12:30 pm Roxboro House

With a growing uncertainty concerning the future of civil rights under the Trump Administration, we will discuss the possible ramifications on topics such as LGBTQ marriage laws, 1st amendment rights including religion, and voter rights.
This discussion will be hosted by members of Student Committee for Civil Liberties, a new campus club focused on civil rights. Join our student and faculty panelists as they share their thoughts, provide background and context, and answer your questions in an informal setting. This discussion is open to everyone so feel free to join!

Prof. Evan Laine, associate professor of law and society; director, Specter Center for Public Service; program director, B.S. in Law and Society
Dylan Gormley, director, Student Committee for Civil Liberties; Law and Society major



The Trump Transition: A Campus Conversations Series

Gender in the Trump Era

April 6th, 2017 12:30 pm Roxboro House 

Join us for an exploration of gender issues and the related rise of political engagement at the beginning of the Trump era.  Our faculty panelists will share their thoughts, provide background and context, and answer your questions in an informal setting. Be part of the conversation!

Dr. Katharine Jones, associate professor of sociology and gender studies
Dr. David Rogers, assistant professor of writing and rhetoric
Prof. Maribeth Kradel-Weitzel, associate professor of graphic design communication 



The Trump Transition: A Campus Conversations Series

Truth in the Trump Era 

March 2nd, 2017 12:30 pm Roxboro House 

As accusations of “fake news” and “alternative facts” become more common, what happens to our understanding of truth and knowledge?
Join our faculty panelists as they share their thoughts, provide background and context, and answer your questions in an informal setting. Be part of the conversation!

Dr. Ryan Long, assistant professor of philosophy
Dr. Valerie Hanson, associate professor of writing



Ready to Run™ Philadelphia

February 18, 2017

Ready to Run™ Pennsylvania provides bi-partisan political training to encourage women to run for government leadership positions. The day-long program targets women considering or recently deciding to run for political office, providing training and mentoring by campaign professionals, political women, and officeholders.

Ready to Run™ Pennsylvania is part of the Ready to Run™ National Training Network of the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University (NJ).


Back to top




LGBTQ  Rights, Past  Present  and Future

October 4, 2016

Malcom Lazin, Founder and Executive Director of Equality Forum, and Shanin Specter, Esq., prominent Philadelphia Trial Attorney and son of the late senator Arlen Specter, discussed the critical role Senator Specter played in promoting LGBTQ rights in Pennsylvania and the nation. They also discussed how the results of the current presidential election may affect civil rights and what still needs to be done in the state to protect its LGBTQ citizens. See: http://wordpress.philau.edu/today/2016/10/13/civil-rights-activist-malcolm-lazin-discusses-lgbtq-rights-at-philau/



Exploring Your Bridge Year Options - Post Graduation Service  Opportunities

January 28, 2016

This event featured a panel of Philadelphia University alumni who are making important public and social service contributions by spending their post-graduation year(s) working for service organizations helping those in disadvantaged or difficult circumstances. The panelists shared their knowledge and first-hand experiences as new graduates employed in settings like CityYear, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and Habitat for Humanity. Stories were shared about their experience and information was presented on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for individualized study/research projects in foreign universities.

The panel was composed of:

  • Jessica Hubbard ‘15- Big Brothers/Big Sisters
  • Nytae Lane ‘15 – CityYear
  • Omasi  Amabui ‘15 - CityYear
  • TJ Burghardt ‘14- Habitat for Humanity
  • Desiree DiGiovacchino ‘08  -AmeriCorps/Corps Member
  • Madeleine Gambino- PhilaU AmeriCorps VISTA staff member ; Fulbright Scholar

Panelists explained how a bridge year of service promotes personal growth, strength, and self-fulfillment, as well as helping with future job opportunities.  Panelist TJ Burghardt concluded that a post-graduation service year provides an excellent means for self-reflection and a way of “getting to know and understand oneself better.”  

This event was planned collaboratively by staff of several PhilaU departments:  The Arlen Specter Center for Public Service, the Office of Student Engagement, Alumni Relations, the Honors Program, and Career Services. Representatives of several of the bridge year not-for-profit organizations will be available to answer questions at the upcoming February 11 th Career and Internship Fair—See: http://events.philau.edu/event/CareerFairSpring2016

PhilaU Today piece: http://wordpress.philau.edu/today/2016/02/04/philau-students-learn-about-bridge-year-opportunities/


For more information on bridge year opportunities, see:

AmeriCorps VISTA:  http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-vista

Habitat for Humanity: http://www.habitat.org/americorps/americorps_vista.aspx

City Year: http://www.cityyear.org/

Fulbright: http://www.philau.edu/globaleducation/fulbright/index.html


Back to top




Lawrence Katz Memorial Lecture: Traumatic Brain Injuries and the Ethics of Being a Sports Fan

November 4, 2015

Moderated by Ryan Long, Assistant Professor of Ethics and Philosophy
College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts

The Arlen Specter Center for Public Service at Philadelphia University hosted an endowed panel discussion focusing on the issue of head injuries sustained by athletes and the ethical questions faced by those supporting sports which can lead to such injuries.

The lively discussion included panelists Former Governor Ed Rendell, author Steve Almond, Libby Nichols ’14, Fulbright Scholar, and  Bobbie Williams, former NFL Guard.

Watch discussion on our YouTube channel  

For more details see: PhilaU Today Article



Put Your Cards on the Table (Part of the Unity Week Events)

March 23, 2015 

With moderator Imaani Jamillah El-Burki, Ph. D, Professor of Practice, Dept. of Journalism and Communication, Africana Studies, Lehigh University and facilitator Evan Edward Laine, J.D., M.A. Assistant Professor of History, Director of the Law & Society Program, Faculty Director the Arlen Specter Center for Public Service, Philadelphia University. In partnership with The Office of Student Engagement-Diversity Initiative, and The Black Student Union, “Put Your Cards on The Table,” is a moderated discussion concerning current events (e.g. Ferguson, Eric Garner cases, Gender Inequality, etc.) affecting not only the world around us, but the Philadelphia University community.



The Iraq Lie: How the White House Sold the War with Former Congressman Joseph Hoeffel

March 12, 2015 

Joseph Hoeffel, a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1999 to 2005, representing Pennsylvania’s 13th congressional district, discussing his book The Iraq Lie: How the White House Sold the War. His book is the first account by any Congressman to divulge the truth about what really happened in briefings with key Bush Administration figures. Former Congressman Joseph Hoeffel reveals how the Bush White House twisted arms and distorted intelligence to get support for the war.

For more details see:  PhilaU Today Article

Back to top



Antitrust Symposium: Capitalism, Antitrust, and Democracy

November 8, 2014

The Arlen Specter Center for Public Service co-hosted an antitrust symposium with the leading antitrust journal, The Antitrust Bulletin. Titled Capitalism, Antitrust, and Democracy: The Legal and Ethical Dilemmas, the symposium featured academic papers by both national and international scholars in the field. The papers analyzed the connections, conflicts, and synergies of antitrust laws with the philosophies and practices of capitalism and/or democracy and the ethical issues that arose in the process. The symposium will be published in a forthcoming issue of The Antitrust Bulletin. This event was jointly created and organized by Specter Center Director Evan Laine and Professor Raju Parakkal.



Law and Service Day

Friday, November 7, 2014
Specter Center for Public Service

The Arlen Specter Center for Public Service, along with Phi Alpha Delta (the law fraternity) and the Law & Society program sponsored Law & Service Day – an occasion to bring speakers from the political, legal and public interest spheres to educate to PhilaU students, faculty and staff about significant social issues.

Speakers discussed topics of interest, as well as service and internship opportunities.



Opening of the Arlen Specter Center

September 11, 2014

Philadelphia University formally dedicated the Arlen Specter Center for Public Service and its newly restored home, Roxboro House, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by faculty, staff, students, trustees, Specter family members, East Falls neighbors and other guests.

Back to top



Presentation by investigative reporter Philip Shenon, author of the new book  A Cruel and Shocking Act : the Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Philip Shenon will present about his research regarding the Warren Commission and the aftermath of the assassination of President Kennedy. After the presentation, guests are welcome to explore the Specter Center's inaugural exhibition, Single Bullet: Arlen Specter and the Warren Commission Investigation of the JFK Assassination.

For more information about Philip Shenon, see the links below:

This event is made possible in part by the Selma Katz Trust, which honors the legacy of industrialist Lawrence Katz by supporting distinguished lectures at Philadelphia University



Single Bullet: Arlen Specter & the Warren Commission Investigation of the JFK Assassination 

Produced during the academic year 2012–2013, this transdisciplinary project is the result of active collaboration featuring Philadelphia University's three colleges– the College of Architecture and the Built Environment; the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce; the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts–with additional support from members of the Paul J. Gutman Library and The Design Center at Philadelphia University.

The exhibition coincides with the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination and depicts Senator Specter's selection, participation and unique contributions to the Warren Commission's activities and final report, with special attention focused on his "single bullet theory or conclusion."

For more information please take a look at  news coverage of the exhibit.


Single Bullet Exhibition Preview

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Guest speaker, Howard P. Willens
Former assistant counsel to the Warren Commission; author of the forthcoming book  History Will Prove Us Right: Inside the Warren Commission Investigation into the Assassination of John F. Kennedy.



Ceremonial Groundbreaking: Arlen Specter Center

May 23, 2013

Philadelphia University officially dedicated the Arlen Specter Center for Public Service and its newly restored home, Roxboro House. The ceremonial groundbreaking took place at the Paul J. Gutman Library and featured special guest Michael Smerconish.


Management of Archives to be Cooperative Effort between Philadelphia University and the University of Pittsburgh

March 4, 2013

In an agreement that will promote access to and preservation of the papers of the late U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, Philadelphia University and the University of Pittsburgh will cooperatively manage the archive, which is part of the Arlen Specter Center for Public Service. Under the agreement, Pitt’s University Library System will organize and manage the Arlen Specter Collection over the next four years and store the collection.


Philadelphia University accepted as a member of the Philadelphia Area Consortium for Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL)

March 4, 2013

Philadelphia University has been accepted as a member of the Philadelphia Area Consortium for Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL), a prestigious area group comprised of 36 institutions – all with a strong interest in collecting, caring for, and sharing with a world-wide audience collections and archives of impressive depth and variety. The consortium sponsors numerous grant-funded projects which enhance the visibility, use, and recognition of the many extraordinary collections available in the Philadelphia region. Other members include: the Barnes Foundation, The Academy of Natural Sciences, Villanova University, Temple University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Stan Gorski, Gutman Library’s Coordinator of Special Collections, will serve as the institution’s representative for PACSCL.

Back to top