Leon Panetta  2016 Lecture Series Focused on ‘An America in Renaissance or Decline? The Challenges Facing a New President’

Secretary Panetta at the premier 2016 lecture, with Mike Rogers, Wendy Sherman and General Ray Odierno

Secretary Panetta at the premiere 2016 lecture, with Mike Rogers, Wendy Sherman and General Ray Odierno

Each spring, Secretary Panetta moderates the Panetta Institute’s highly acclaimed lecture series that brings national leaders, policy experts and journalists to the Monterey Peninsula.

Speakers appear before a live theater as well as television audiences. During the afternoon of each lecture, the speakers meet with students from the Central Coast and Northern California high schools, colleges and military installations.

For information about subscriptions for the 2017 Lecture Series or to inquire about becoming a sponsor for the events, please call the Panetta Institute at 831-582-4200. Dates and speakers for the upcoming Lecture Series will be announced in the near future.

The theme for the 2016 Lecture Series was An America in Renaissance or Decline?  The Challenges Facing a New President.  A complete list of speakers is detailed below.

During the afternoon of each lecture, speakers also meet with students from the Central Coast and many Northern California high schools, colleges and military installations.

Ticket and Broadcast Information

All the Leon Panetta Lecture Series programs are broadcast live throughout California by Comcast, Comcast Hometown Network, the California Channel, KQED and other cable networks. C-SPAN periodically broadcasts these lectures nationally. The lectures are also available for viewing on the Institute’s YouTube channel and via live web-streaming at http://www.panettainstitute.org/programs/lecture-series/webcast-information/. They are also broadcast live on public radio.


To see a list of past speakers, click here.

The events and speakers for the 2016 Lecture Series were as follows:

March 14, 7:00 p.m.: War, Terrorism and Other Global Threats


Rogers, MikeWith more than a decade of experience shaping critical cybersecurity, counterterrorism and intelligence policies in the United States, Mike Rogers is a respected expert on national security. Before being elected to the United States Congress in 2000, Mr. Rogers was a commissioned officer in the United States Army. He then served as an FBI special agent before he was elected to the Michigan Senate in 1994. He was appointed chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in 2011 and was a member of the powerful Energy and Commerce Panel. In his time as chairman of the intelligence committee, America witnessed the operation that brought Osama bin Laden to justice, the debate surrounding the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden, the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370, and Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Today, Mr. Rogers uses his insider perspective gained from traveling the globe to host his syndicated radio program, Something to Think About with Mike Rogers, which airs on 150 stations throughout the United States. Mr. Rogers is a CNN national security commentator and also appears in major print outlets. He also hosts Declassified, an eight-part series on CNN that delves into true stories of America’s covert operations around the world. Mr. Rogers received his bachelor’s degree from Adrian College in Michigan.


Sherman, WendyOne of the State Department’s leading diplomats, Ambassador Wendy Sherman has three decades of experience in international affairs and politics. In 1993, Ambassador Sherman was named assistant secretary for legislative affairs for Secretary of State Warren Christopher. She went on to serve as counselor of the State Department, as well as special advisor to President Bill Clinton and policy coordinator on North Korea. Ambassador Sherman returned to government service in 2008, when she was appointed to serve on the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation and Terrorism. Named under secretary for political affairs in 2011, Ambassador Sherman became the State Department’s number three official. She was the lead negotiator and was instrumental in the successful construction of the historic Iran nuclear agreement. In recognition of her many diplomatic accomplishments, President Barack Obama awarded Ambassador Sherman with the National Security Medal. Ambassador Sherman has served as chair of the board of Oxfam America and on the Defense Policy Board for the Department of Defense. She is also a long-standing member of the Council on Foreign Relations and numerous national security groups. Today, Ambassador Sherman is a senior fellow at both Harvard’s Institute of Politics and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Ambassador Sherman received a bachelor’s degree from Boston University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland.


Odierno, RayDuring more than thirty-nine years of service, General Ray Odierno commanded units at every echelon and spent more time in Iraq than any other United States Army general. After his first assignment with United States Army Europe, General Odierno was assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He deployed for both Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the division under his command was responsible for the capture of Saddam Hussein. From 2006 to 2008, General Odierno served as the operational commander of the surge of forces in Iraq and went on to lead the multi-national force. In 2010, he was named Commander of United States Joint Forces Command. He culminated his military career as the 38th chief of staff of the Army, leading more than 1,000,000 servicemen and women. In addition to his service in the Middle East, General Odierno was assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff where he was the primary military advisor to Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. General Odierno holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from West Point and a master’s degree in nuclear effects engineering from North Carolina State University. He is also a graduate of the Army War College and holds a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College.

April 18, 7:00 p.m.: Jobs, Debt and Taxes


Daneils, MitchWith leadership roles at both the state and federal level, Mitch Daniels is also a business leader with expertise in budget policy and economic development. Governor Daniels began his political career as an aide to United States Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) before becoming a senior advisor and political director to President Ronald Reagan in 1984. In January 2001, he was sworn in as director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush. During his two and one-half years in the administration, he helped design and present the administration’s tax cuts and was the main architect of the president’s budget. First elected governor of Indiana in 2004, Governor Daniels was re-elected in 2008, receiving more votes than any candidate for any public office in the state’s history. Governor Daniels created Indiana’s first state Office of Management and Budget to look for efficiencies and cost savings across the state’s government. In 2005, he led Indiana to its first balanced budget in eight years and, without a tax increase, transformed the nearly $800 million deficit he inherited into an annual surplus of $370 million within the following year. In 2008, Site Selection magazine and CNBC both named Indiana as the “Most Improved State for Business” in the country. Presently, Governor Daniels serves as president of Purdue University. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, and his juris doctorate degree from Georgetown University.


Goolsbee, AustanOne of President Barack Obama’s key economic advisers, Austan Goolsbee is a leading expert on debt, the deficit and the global economy. Prior to joining the Obama administration, Dr. Goolsbee was a member of the Panel of Economic Advisers to the Congressional Budget Office, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a research fellow at the American Bar Foundation. Dr. Goolsbee was an economic adviser to Barack Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign before serving as a senior economic adviser to then Senator Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. When President Obama was elected, Dr. Goolsbee was appointed as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers and as staff director and chief economist of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which provided independent, nonpartisan information, analysis and advice on economic recovery. As Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Dr. Goolsbee served as one of President Obama’s chief consultants in guiding the administration’s macroeconomic policy and reform of the financial system as well as a primary spokesperson on the economy. Dr. Goolsbee is a former Fulbright Scholar and Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. He is presently the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Dr. Goolsbee earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in economics from Yale University and his doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Insana, RonCNBC contributor Ron Insana has been a familiar voice on business television and radio programs for nearly three decades and is known for his sharp perspective on the financial markets and the economy. In addition to his work as a business journalist, Mr. Insana gained first-hand knowledge of the markets working as the CEO of Insana Capital Partners from 2006 to 2008 which, at its peak, managed the $125 million Insana Capital Partners “Legends Fund.” He has written for Money Magazine and USA Today and has authored four books about Wall Street and the financial markets. Additionally, Mr. Insana is the editor of Insana’s Market Intelligence, a subscription-based Internet newsletter. Well known for his high-profile interviews, Mr. Insana has spoken with Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as well as business magnates Warren Buffett, George Soros, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, among others. Among his many honors, Mr. Insana was named one of the “Top 100 Business News Journalists of the 20th Century” and was nominated for a news and documentary Emmy for his role in NBC’s coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. During Secretary Panetta’s tour of duty as Director of the CIA and Secretary of Defense, Mr. Insana moderated several of the Panetta Institute lectures on the budget and the economy. Mr. Insana is currently the host of the nationally-syndicated daily radio show The Market Scoreboard Report  and a senior analyst and commentator for CNBC. He graduated with honors from California State University, Northridge.

May 9, 7:00 p.m.: Gridlock, Partisanship and Executive Action


Shields, MarkA nationally known columnist and commentator, Mark Shields has worked in Washington through the administrations of ten United States presidents. Mr. Shields served in the United States Marine Corps from 1960 to 1962 before going to Washington in 1965 to work for United States Senator William Proxmire (D-WI). In 1968, Mr. Shields joined United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign and later held leadership positions in three other presidential campaigns. For eleven years, Mr. Shields helped manage campaigns from the courthouse to the White House in some thirty-eight states. Mr. Shields began writing his nationally syndicated column for The Washington Post in 1979. In 1988, Mr. Shields began his seventeen-year stint as moderator and panelist on Capital Gang, CNN’s landmark political debate program. That same year he joined the award-winning PBS NewsHour providing weekly political analysis and commentary on national campaigns. He is now a regular panelist on Inside Washington, the weekly public affairs show broadcast on both ABC and PBS. Mr. Shields was a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy Institute of Politics and has taught courses in journalism at Georgetown University and the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of the well-received book, On the Campaign Trail, which detailed the 1984 presidential campaign between Walter Mondale and Ronald Reagan. Mr. Shields earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.


Watts, J.CAs a former congressman, author, ordained Baptist minister, businessman, and celebrated collegiate football player, J.C. Watts, Jr. is an important voice in the discussion of the future of the Republican party. Mr. Watts was elected to Congress representing Oklahoma in 1994. In 1998, he was elected to serve as chairman of the Republican Conference, the fourth-ranking leadership position in the majority party. While in Congress, he served for eight years on the House Armed Services Committee and authored legislation to create the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, which became law, and on which he later served. His other committee assignments included the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as well as the House Banking Committee. Congressman Watts co-authored the Community Renewal and New Markets Act, which President Bill Clinton signed into law in 2000. Additionally, Congressman Watts was the author of President George W. Bush’s faith-based initiative, the Community Solutions Act of 2001. Congressman Watts opted not to seek a fifth term and is now chairman of a Washington, D.C.-based multi-industry company with diverse holdings that include the first African American-owned John Deere dealerships in the United States and a public affairs consulting company. He is the  author of the autobiography, What Color is a Conservative? My Life and My Politics. Congressman Watts earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma, where as the university’s quarterback, he led the football team to two consecutive Big Eight Championships.


Borger, GloriaSenior political analyst for CNN, Gloria Borger is an award-winning journalist known for her hard-hitting analysis of policy issues and political developments. Ms. Borger began her career as a reporter at the Washington Star in 1975. During the next three decades, she served as a political columnist for U.S. News & World Report, chief congressional correspondent for Newsweek, co-anchor of CNBC’s Capitol Report, and national political correspondent for CBS News, where she also contributed to Face the Nation, 60 Minutes II and that network’s special events coverage. Ms. Borger joined CNN in 2007 and now serves as the network’s senior political analyst, appearing regularly across the network’s primetime programs. Ms. Borger plays an instrumental role in the network’s daily coverage while reporting on a variety of political and breaking news stories and writes a regular column for CNN.com. In addition, Ms. Borger is the correspondent for an acclaimed series of in-depth specials, Gloria Borger Reports. Ms. Borger has been a prominent part of all recent CNN election coverage, and was pivotal to CNN’s Emmy award-winning election night coverage in 2012. She also played key roles in the network’s political coverage for the 2010 midterm elections, as well as the historic “America Votes 2008” coverage, which earned CNN a George Peabody Award. Ms. Borger has a bachelor’s degree in English from Colgate University in New York.


Matthews, ChrisOne of television’s most recognizable political journalists, Chris Matthews has been following American politics since the first Eisenhower campaign. Mr. Matthews served in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1968 to 1970, before beginning his career in politics working first for United States Senator Frank Moss (D-UT) and then for United States Senator Edmund Muskie (D-ME). He was staff assistant to the Senate Budget Committee until 1977 and later a speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter. In 1981, he became top aide to Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. In the late 1980s, Mr. Matthews became Washington Bureau Chief for the San Francisco Examiner. Mr. Matthews began his career in television in 1994 as host of a nightly program on NBC-owned America’s Talking network. Three years later, he launched Hardball, now on MSNBC, which was the title of his best-selling book on real-life politics published in 1988. Mr. Matthews has been on the air every weeknight since. In addition to Hardball, Mr. Matthews is the author of five other best-selling books. His most recent, Tip and The Gipper: When Politics Worked, describes how Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker Tip O’Neill overcame ideologies and compromised for the benefit of the country. Mr. Matthews earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, and did graduate work in economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

June 27, 7:00 p.m.: Changing Society, Technology and Media


Koppel, TedRecognized around the world as one of the most trusted voices on current events and issues of global importance, Ted Koppel has spent more than half a century in broadcast journalism. Mr. Koppel joined ABC News in 1963. He covered Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign, was the network’s diplomatic correspondent while Henry Kissinger was secretary of state and reported on the Vietnam War. When the Iran hostage crisis erupted in 1979, Mr. Koppel became the anchor of The Iran Crisis: Americans Held Hostage. This show was renamed Nightline in 1980. Mr. Koppel spent more than twenty-five years as anchor and managing editor of the landmark news program, becoming the longest serving news anchor in United States broadcast history. Following forty-two years with ABC, Mr. Koppel joined the Discovery network as its managing editor, where he developed more than a dozen documentaries. Today, Mr. Koppel serves as a news analyst for NPR, a special correspondent on the NBC News magazine Rock Center and a contributing columnist for several leading newspapers. In 2015, he published the bestseller Lights Out, which examines the threat of a cyber-catastrophe and how Americans can prepare. Mr. Koppel has been honored with every major professional recognition including eight George Peabody Awards, eleven duPont-Columbia Awards and forty-two Emmys. Mr. Koppel earned his bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in communication from Stanford University.


Kurtz, HowardCovering the news business since 1990, Howard Kurtz is a veteran journalist who specializes in questioning the media’s objectivity and fairness on subjects ranging from politics to technology, business, culture and sports. In 1981, Mr. Kurtz joined The Washington Post after being hired by Bob Woodward. He spent twenty-nine years at the paper and went on to serve as a Justice Department and congressional reporter, New York bureau chief and deputy national editor. He became the media reporter for the paper in 1990 and wrote the weekly “Media Notes,” one of the most widely read media columns. Moving into television, Mr. Kurtz spent fifteen years as the host of CNN’s Reliable Sources before joining FOX News Channel in 2013. Currently, Mr. Kurtz serves as host of FOX News’ Media Buzz, where he examines the bias and shortcomings of the news business. This show has been the number one rated program in its time slot for two years. Mr. Kurtz is the author of five books, including Media Circus, Reality Show and The New York Times best seller Spin Cycle. The recipient of multiple honors including the National Press Club Award for Media Criticism, Mr. Kurtz graduated from the University of Buffalo (SUNY) with bachelor’s degrees in English and psychology, and attended the Columbia School of Journalism.


Woodruff, JudyWith decades of broadcast experience and coverage of eight presidential elections, Judy Woodruff is one of America’s most accomplished political journalists. Ms. Woodruff joined NBC News in 1977, serving as the network’s White House correspondent. She went on to serve as chief Washington correspondent for the NBC program, Today. She chronicled her experience in her 1982 book, This is Judy Woodruff at the White House. She spent the next ten years at PBS where she was anchor of Frontline with Judy Woodruff and chief Washington correspondent for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. In 1993, Ms. Woodruff joined CNN and served for twelve years as anchor and senior correspondent for Inside Politics, the nation’s first program devoted exclusively to politics. Today, Ms. Woodruff is back at PBS as co-anchor and managing editor for NewsHour. While there, she has completed a series of documentaries on the views of young Americans called Generation Next: Speak Up. Be Heard. From 2006 to 2013, Ms Woodruff also anchored a monthly program for Bloomberg Television entitled, Conversations with Judy Woodruff. Ms. Woodruff earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, where she is a trustee emerita. She has served as a visiting professor at Duke University’s Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy and as a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.

2016 Lecture Series Sponsors

The Panetta Institute would like to salute our sponsors of the 2016 Lecture Series for their extraordinary public service in supporting this important event:

Sue Antle

AT&T California

Automobile Club of Southern California

Bank of America

Laurie and David Benjamin

The Boeing Company

Boutonnet Farms

California American Water

Cannery Row Company

Louis and Jane Castruccio

Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation

Chevron Corporation

City of Carmel-by-the-Sea

David and Terice Clark

Roger W. Coleman

Comcast NBC Universal/
Comcast Hometown Network

Debra and George W. Couch III

Sherry E. DeBoer

The Dennis and Gloria O’Brien Foundation

Dominican University of California

Gordon and Ronda Eubanks

The Frank & Denise Quattrone Foundation;    Denise Foderaro and Frank Quattrone, trustees

Georgia Power, A Southern Company

Gail and Jim Griggs


Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Associates, Inc.

Joanne Taylor Johnson

Lockheed Martin

Mann Packing Company

Sharon and Stan Meresman

Monterey County for Energy Independence

Monterey County Office of Education

Mike and Mary Orradre

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Leon and Sylvia Panetta

Tanimura & Antle, Inc.

Edward and Louise Trout

Anthony B. Varni

Victory Toyota/Lexus Monterey Peninsula

Welton Foundation

Kathy and Tom Wiggans

Stanley Zax


William Anton

Cathy and Gary Brock


Hon. Stephanie E. Hulsey

The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation

Kenneth Talmage

Myles and Rhonda Williams

Zenith Insurance Company