University of Richmond's Sharp Viewpoint Speakers Series Features Pairs of Thought Leaders From Across the Political Aisle

September 15, 2020

Editor's Note: This release was updated on Jan. 28 to reflect a change in the date of the last event of the Series, "Friendship and Dialogue Across Difference," which will now take place on March 25. 

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND ─ Conversations about bipartisanship, the 2020 election, and viewpoint diversity will distinguish this year’s Sharp Viewpoint Speakers Series.

This year’s series focuses on engaging in dialogue to foster change. University of Richmond President Ronald A. Crutcher will host a series of conversations about pressing issues of our time with pairs of thought leaders from across the political aisle.

“The Sharp Speaker series provides us a unique opportunity to foster dynamic and critical conversations,” Crutcher said. “Each program this year will include two speakers from opposite sides of the political spectrum.  I’m particularly looking forward to the energetic and thought-provoking conversation that will occur with both speakers together.” 

Due to COVID-19, events will be held via livestream.

This year’s series includes:

Sept. 21, 7 p.m.
Bipartisanship: What’s Changed and What’s in Store

Denis McDonough, former White House Chief of Staff under President Barack Obama
Mike Sommers, former Chief of Staff to Speaker of the House John Boehner

The two will discuss American political bipartisanship in the Trump era, the state of the 2020 U.S. presidential race, and possibilities for compromise amidst extreme political polarization.

Nov. 11, 7 p.m.
The 2020 Elections: What Happened?

Mary Kate Cary, former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush
Mary Anne Marsh, Democratic political analyst and consultant

They will discuss the 2020 election results and their implications for critical national issues, including the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and response, economic recovery, and a new era of American civil rights activism.

March 25, 2021, 7 p.m.
Friendship and Dialogue Across Difference

Cornel West, philosopher, political activist, and professor at Harvard University
Robert P. George, American legal scholar and professor at Princeton University

West and George are friends and former colleagues who will discuss the importance of fostering dialogue and cultivating friendships across ideological and political divides.

These livestreamed events are free and open to the public, and registration is required. To register for the Sept. 21 event, visit

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 the national and global society.