UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND ─ The University of Richmond fosters important and challenging dialogues through the Sharp Viewpoint Speaker Series. This year, President Ronald A. Crutcher will welcome prominent thought leaders to campus to discuss critical aspects of identity development, including gender, race, faith, and political ideology.

The series includes: 

Sept. 24: “Advancing Trans Equality on Campus and Across the Country”
Sarah McBride is the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, Delaware State Senate candidate, and author of Tomorrow Will Be Different.

Nov. 12: “The Race Card: Observations on Race, Identity, and Inclusion”
Michele Norris is a Peabody award-winning journalist, founder of The Race Card Project, and author of The Grace of Silence. 

Feb. 11, 2020: “Forging a Political Identity: A Personal Journey”
Michael Steele is the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, former lieutenant governor of Maryland, and political analyst for MSNBC.

March 31, 2020: “The Clean Air of Civil Discourse: Advancing Interfaith Cooperation”
Eboo Patel is founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, former member of President Barak Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council, and author of Out of Many Faiths.

Sarah McBride will discuss what it means to be openly transgender in America today and the LGBTQ community’s ongoing struggle for equal rights. In 2012, McBride made national headlines when she came out as transgender while serving as student body president at American University. In 2016, she became the first openly transgender person to address a major political convention when she spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Michele Norris started The Race Card Project in 2010 to foster a wider conversation about race in America. She will discuss how she turned a pejorative phrase into a productive dialogue on a difficult topic. For more than a decade, she served as a host of NPR’s All Things Considered where she interviewed world leaders, American presidents, Nobel Laureates, leading thinkers, and groundbreaking artists.

Michael Steele will discuss the development of his political identity, sharing his personal journey. A self-described “Lincoln Republican,” Steele made history in 2003 when he was elected lieutenant governor of Maryland, becoming the first African-American elected to statewide office in the state. He made history again in 2009 when he became the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Eboo Patel will discuss the complex landscape of religious diversity in America and the power of interfaith cooperation in the 21st century. Patel has worked with governments, social sector organizations, and college and university campuses for more than 15 years to help make interfaith cooperation a social norm. He was named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009.

Additional details about the series

All Sharp events will take place in the Queally Center, Breed Pavillion, at 7 p.m. Events are free and open to the public but registration is required. For more information or to reserve your seats, visit or call 804-289-8980.

Share your own perspective of the speaker’s viewpoints by mentioning @URichmond on Twitter or by using the hashtag #URsharp.

The Richard L. Sharp Viewpoint Speakers Series was established in 2011 in honor of Richard L. Sharp, a nationally recognized entrepreneur, to present competing views on topics crucial to our national and global society.  




Related Campus Units

President's Office