Robert Morris University

John Bolton, Theresa May, Bill Nye the Science Guy and Tarana Burke Among Distinguished Personalities for the 2020-2021 Pittsburgh Speakers Series

The popular series will kick off Sept. 23 and feature a host of celebrated and sometimes controversial personalities, ranging from former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton to Me Too Movement Founder Tarana Burke.

Speaker Series

Heinz Hall is gearing up to welcome another illustrious lineup of speakers to mark the 19th season of the Pittsburgh Speakers Series, including Ambassador John Bolton, former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Bill Nye The Science Guy, author Walter Isaacson and activist Tarana Burke. Presented by Robert Morris University and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), and featuring some of the world’s most celebrated, influential and sometimes controversial personalities of our time, the 2020-2021 Series will offer seven memorable evenings of thought-provoking discussion and powerful perspectives that are guaranteed to entertain, charm and challenge the minds of audience members. 

“We’re thrilled to once again present an outstanding lineup of speakers who will inform, inspire and ultimately entertain our audience over seven memorable evenings at Heinz Hall as they delve into a host of timely, topical subjects that attendees will be buzzing about long after the final presentations,” said Dr. Chris Howard, president of Robert Morris University.

The complete list of speakers, in order of appearance, follows.

Sept. 23, 2020: John Bolton – The 2020-2021 series will start out with what’s sure to be an enlightening presentation by Bolton, who served as the National Security Advisor to President Trump from 2018 to 2019. Known for favoring a strong U.S. foreign and defense policy, he was appointed United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006 by President George W. Bush.

Oct. 28, 2020: Platon – Platon’s portraits of world leaders have been featured on more than 25 Time magazine covers. A genius behind the camera, he is also a master storyteller who shares behind-the-camera tales from his experiences with some of the world’s most iconic personalities, such as Vladimir Putin, Aung San Suu Kyi, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Muammar Gaddafi.

Dec. 2, 2020: Walter Isaacson – Isaacson’s biographical works will be at the forefront of his presentation and have focused heavily on genius, including Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs. A Professor of History at Tulane University, he is the former CEO of the Aspen Institute and has been chairman of CNN and editor of Time magazine.

Jan. 20, 2021: Tarana Burke – The Speakers Series will continue in January 2021 with an insightful presentation by Burke, a civil rights activist from the Bronx. Long before the hashtag #MeToo went viral with the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Burke was the one who coined the phrase “Me Too” to raise awareness of sexual abuse and assault. She was honored as one of The Silence Breakers collectively named Time’s 2017 Person of the Year.

Mar. 3, 2021: Jamie Metzl – Metzl’s latest book, Hacking Darwin, explores the future of our species as scientists turn science fiction into reality with the genetic engineering revolution. A technology and healthcare futurist, Metzl was appointed to the World Health Organization’s advisory committee on global standards for the governance and oversight of human genome editing.

March 17, 2021: Theresa May – Attendees will have the rare opportunity to hear directly from May, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. As only the second woman in British history to hold that position, May became Prime Minster after the historic Brexit referendum and shares unique insight about how politics, technology and business intersect at a time of profound global change.

April 21, 2021: Bill Nye – The 2020-2021 series will conclude with an evening that will challenge minds and spark laughter as Bill Nye The Science Guy takes the stage. Nye is a television personality, best-selling author, and CEO of The Planetary Society. True to his personal mission, he helps foster a scientifically literate society, using his infectious blend of curiosity and humor to help people understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work.

“As a student-centered institution, Robert Morris University serves as a gateway to engaged, productive and successful careers and lives by exposing students to diverse experiences to build their knowledge and skills,” said Howard. “It is our great pleasure to present our broader community with another stellar lineup of speakers whose varied backgrounds and viewpoints will ensure an inspiring and enriching experience for everyone in attendance.”

Tickets for the 2020-2021 Pittsburgh Speakers Series are available now by visiting As in years past, the series is sold by subscription only, with subscribers guaranteed admission to hear all seven speakers. Subscriptions for the entire series range from $345 - $485. Each presentation includes a spirited Q&A period during which the speaker addresses questions from the audience.

Presented by Robert Morris University and UPMC, the Pittsburgh Speakers Series is sponsored by KDKA Newsradio 1020, UPMC and UBS Financial Services Inc. For more information about the 2020-2021 Pittsburgh Speakers Series, visit