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2022 Series Speakers

2022 Series Speakers

  • David Ortiz

    David Ortiz: May 4

    Iconic MLB Player, “Big Papi” - Viking Warrior Day!
  • Amal Clooney

    Amal Clooney: September 20

    Award-winning Lawyer Specializing in International Law and Human Rights

Moderator Mike Lynch, WCVB


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Salem State Series


The Power of Flexible Philanthropy

Ways unrestricted funds have been mobilized for good:

2022 Speaker Bios

David Ortiz
Iconic MLB Player, “Big Papi” 

Before he was ever the beloved “Big Papi,” David Ortiz was just a kid from the Dominican Republic.

Ortiz was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on November 18, 1975. His father, Enrique, played baseball for several years in the Dominican pro and semipro leagues and became a source of inspiration for Ortiz. As a young teen, Ortiz learned to love the game like his father and followed in his footsteps. His mother, Angela, played an enormous part in his life and still does to this day. Ortiz’s mother tragically passed away in 2002 and honoring her through his hard work and accomplishments became his biggest motivation. Starting off his professional career in 1992, Ortiz signed with Seattle Mariners, playing in their minor-league system until he was traded to the Minnesota Twins in 1996. He made his Major-League debut on September 2, 1997 and went on to play for the Twins for six seasons. His time in Minnesota came to an end upon the culmination of the 2002 season.

Upon returning to the Dominican Republic in the offseason following his departure from Minnesota, Ortiz ran into his good friend Pedro Martinez. Martinez was excited by the idea of becoming teammates on the Red Sox and was instrumental in recruiting Ortiz to Boston. Ortiz signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2003. It proved to be a perfect marriage for both parties, with Ortiz making an immediate impact finishing top five in MVP voting and leading the Red Sox to the ALCS in 2003. While the team didn’t reach their ultimate goal that season, a foundation was laid and Red Sox Nation knew they had a special team and talent in Ortiz. In 2004, he outdid his performance from the prior season, hitting .301 with 41 home runs while driving in 139 runs. Ortiz quickly became a Boston fan-favorite, earning the nickname “Big Papi” that persists today.

In the 2004 postseason, he helped orchestrate a historic comeback against the rival New York Yankees in the ALCS. His iconic walk-off home run in game four and game-winning single in game five of that series are highlights that will live forever in Boston and baseball history. To date, the 2004 Red Sox are the only team to overcome a three-game deficit and win the series. The season was capped off when Ortiz and the Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals to bring Boston their first World Series Championship in 86 years.

After 2004, Ortiz was widely known as one of the game’s most feared and clutch hitters. Over the duration of his career, he was named an All-Star 10 times, won seven AL Silver Slugger awards, joined the exclusive 500 Home Run Club and helped bring Boston two more World Series Championships in 2007 and 2013. At his position of designated hitter, Ortiz holds the all-time MLB record for hits, runs batted in, games, plate appearances, at-bats, runs, doubles, total bases, extra-base hits, and walks.

Ortiz announced his retirement on his 40th birthday, deciding to play one last season in 2016. Throughout his final season, it came into focus just how much Ortiz meant to not only Boston and the Red Sox, but to the game of baseball in general. In what would typically be seen as unprecedented, he was frequently honored and celebrated at visiting ballparks for his career accomplishments. Despite it being the last season of his playing career, Ortiz had one of the best seasons ever, batting .315 with 38 home runs and 127 RBIs, good for most by any player in their final. To reflect this, he was named the AL Hank Aaron Award Winner for the 2nd time in his career, an award to honor the best hitter in each league throughout the season. On June 23rd, 2017 Ortiz returned to Fenway Park to become the 10th player in team history to have their jersey retired. His iconic #34 will forever hang in Fenway and his legacy always remembered in Boston and beyond.

Amal Clooney
Award-Winning Lawyers Specializing in International Law & Human Rights, & Visiting Professor, Columbia Law School

Amal represents clients before international courts including the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. Alongside court work, she provides advice to governments and individuals on legal issues in her areas of expertise.

Amal is ranked in the legal directories Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners as a leading barrister in international human rights law, public international law, and international criminal law. She is described as ‘a brilliant legal mind’ who ‘handles cases of real international importance’ and ‘knows her brief inside out’. She is said to be a ‘natural lead advocate’ who is ‘tactically first class’ and ‘a rare combination of intellectual depth and pragmatism’. The directories also spotlight her ‘superb advocacy’ and ‘commanding presence before courts’ and describe her as ‘a dream performer before international tribunals’. They also emphasize that she is ‘fantastically innovative’ with an ability to galvanize ‘heads of state, foreign ministers and business … in a way that is very effective’ for victims of human rights abuses. She is described as ‘unafraid to raise novel points of law’, ‘very sophisticated in pushing the boundaries’ and having a ‘passionate commitment to the law and compassion for the people it serves’.

Amal frequently represents victims of mass atrocities, including genocide and sexual violence. She has acted in many precedent-setting human rights cases in recent years including the world’s first trial against an ISIS member for genocide and the first case alleging complicity in crimes against humanity by a company that funded the terror group. She has represented Armenia in a case involving the Armenian genocide and was recently counsel to 126 victims of the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, at the International Criminal Court. In 2021 she was appointed Special Adviser to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Darfur.

Amal also represents political prisoners around the world and has helped to secure the freedom of journalists arbitrarily detained for their work across the globe. In 2020 Amal was the recipient of the Gwen Ifill Award for ‘extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom’ from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Amal has also served as a senior advisor to Kofi Annan when he was the UN’s Envoy on Syria, as Counsel to the UN Inquiry on the use of armed drones and as a rapporteur for the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute on independence of the judiciary. She is a member of the UK’s team of experts on preventing sexual violence in conflict zones and the UK Attorney General’s panel of experts on public international law. In 2019-2021 she also served as deputy chair of an International Bar Association Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom chaired by former UK Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger.

Prior to joining the London bar, Amal worked in The Hague at the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. She is admitted to the New York Bar and practiced as a litigation attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York.

She is also a Visiting Professor at Columbia Law School, where she co-teaches the Human Rights course with Professor Sarah Cleveland. And she is the co-founder of the Clooney Foundation for Justice, which aims to advance justice through accountability for human rights abuses around the world.

40th anniversary Salem State Series Committee

Salem State Series Information

John Legend and Lisa Hughes 2017 Salem State Series

The Salem State Series was founded in 1982 under the auspices of the Salem State University Foundation, Inc. as one of the first high-profile speaker series in the country. It has hosted countless world leaders, artists, athletes, and intellectuals on its suburban North Shore campus. Annually, thousands of patrons come to Salem State to hear what Series speakers have to say on a wide variety of subjects.

A self-supporting community enrichment program presented through the generous and dedicated support of corporate and individual sponsors alike, the Series is but one facet of the university’s progressive public education mission.

Buy tickets

Box office information

Hours: Monday–Friday, 10 am–4 pm


  • Premium (Entered to win dinner and photo with speaker): $250, a savings of $50!
  • Reserved: $160
  • General Admission In-person: $80

Individual Event

  • Premium (Entered to win dinner and photo with speaker): $150
  • Reserved: $80
  • General Admission In-person: $40
  • General Admission Virtual: $25


  • Available in the general admission sections. First come, first served
  • Limited to the first 200 Salem State Students at each event
  • Limit one ticket per student (valid Salem State University ID must be presented at the door)

ACCESSIBLE SEATING: Available in all seating levels

Salem State University is committed to equal access for students, staff and visitors, and encourages all to participate in its programs and activities. People who anticipate needing accommodations due to a disability, or who have questions about access, may contact disability services at

2022 Series Sponsors

Platinum Sponsor

Kim Gassett-Schiller '83, '18H and Philip Schiller

Presenting Sponsor

Denorabilia.Com Dennis Drinkwater '67, '12H

Gold Sponsor

Axial Financial Group 

Silver Sponsors

Eastern Bank Foundation

Karen M. Morrissey '71, '93H

Salem State Alumni Association

The Hotel Salem 

Bronze Sponsors

Annalisa and Dino Di Palma 

Boston Advisors

Hawthorne Hotel on the Commons 

North Shore Bank


WXRV/92.5 the River

Rich Bane '12H

DGI Communications

Cheryl and Michael Crounse

Henry '60, '62G and Claire Dembowski

Merry Glosband

Gorton's Seafood

Andrea and Gary Gregory

John J. Walsh Insurance Agency, Inc.

Elliot '78 and Donna '78, '98G Katzman

Andrea Liftman '75G

Cynthia McGurren '83

Mike ’07 and Estrella ’07 Mitchell

Joanne ’68, ‘19H and Phil ‘19H Ricciardiello

Eugene and Kathleen Skrabut 

Salem Five Charitable Foundation

St. Jean’s Credit Union Charitable Foundation

Sterling Insurance  

SSU Student Government Association

C. David '88 and Debbie Surface

The Tin Whistle

2021 Series Booklet

Spring 2020

Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, chief strategist and co-founder, Partners In Health, moderated by Mallika Marshall, MD, health reporter, WBZ-TV Boston

Fall 2019

Rebecca Eaton, Executive Producer, MASTERPIECE, moderated by Jared Bowen, WGBH

Fall 2019 Series with Rebecca Eaton with Jared Bowen

Spring 2019

Sam Kennedy, General Manager, Boston Red Sox, moderated by Steve Burton, CBS Local

Sam Kennedy and Steve Burton with Cynthia McGurren, Dennis Drinkwater and John Keenan


Paul Farmer MD, PhD moderated by David Walton, MD, MPH and Jim Ansara '10H

2018 Speaker Series with Paul Farmer MD, PhD, John Keenan, president Salem State University and moderators


John Legend moderated by WBZ-TVs Lisa Hughes

John Legend at the Salem State Series


Ed Davis and Richard DesLauries moderated by Lisa Hughes 


Tom Brady and Jim Gray 

Tom Brady with Jim Gray


Cory Booker
Tony Kushner and Robin Young


Bobby Valentine and Peter Gammons


Newt Gingrich
John Irving


Ted Kennedy Jr.
Dr. Deepak Chopra


Jay Leno
Bob and Lee Woodruff


Bill Belichick 
George F. Will


Cal Ripken Jr.
President George H.W. Bush and Natalie Jacobson
Tom Wolfe
Maya Angelou


Robert Redford and Joyce Kulhawik
Patrick Buchanan
Bianca Jagger


Thomas Friedman
David Halberstam
Jack and Suzy Welch and Anne Driscoll ’76


Goldie Hawn
Jesse Ventura
Christopher Reeve and Dr. Robin Cook


Dr. Christiane Northrup
Jamling Norgay and Peter Hillary
Rudy Giuliani


David McCullough
Dr. Jane Goodall
Mia Hamm and Dale Arnold
The Motley Fool


Mark Russell
Molly Ivins
Bill Russell and Mike Lynch
President William Jefferson Clinton


Sebastian Junger and Linda Greenlaw
George Mitchell
Walter Cronkite and Natalie Jacobson


Beverly Sills
George Stephanopoulos
Doug Flutie


Benazir Bhutto
Dave Barry
Barbara Bush


Mike Wallace
Joan Rivers
Shimon Peres


Brian Mulroney
Ken Burns
Ann Richards


Mary Matalin and James Carville
Colin L. Powell
Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu


Capitol Steps
Mary Higgins Clark
President George H.W. Bush


Mario Cuomo
Gloria Steinem
Mary Fisher


Marvin Kalb
Judy Woodruff
Robert Fulghum


William Bennett
Alex Haley
Ed Koch


C. Everett Koop
Pat Schroeder
Mark Russell


Mario Cuomo
Helen Thomas
Elie Wiesel


Thomas “Tip” O’Neill
Lesley Stahl
Abba Eban


Geraldine Ferraro
Ed Bradley
Helmut Schmidt


Jeane Kirkpatrick
Sam Donaldson
Reverend Jesse Jackson


President Jimmy Carter
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Kevin McCarthy


Alexander Haig
Howard K. Smith
Art Buchwald


President Gerald Ford
Douglas Kiker
Henry Kissinger

Salem State University Viking Warrior Day 2022 4th Salem State Series with superfan

1,854 Minutes to Make a Difference!

Viking Warrior Day is an energetic, inspiring day that unites our Viking community to do what we do best: work together. Each year Viking Warrior Day builds a better, stronger, more affordable Salem State for students. We can think of no better way to celebrate the Series’ impressive legacy than by focusing a discussion on leadership, achievement, equity, and the power of philanthropy.

Salem State is home to a community of dreamers and doers—motivated by a deep-seated desire to succeed, resilient in the face of challenge and made stronger by the bond we share as Vikings. And when unforeseen challenges arise—or new opportunities present themselves—Salem State relies on unrestricted, flexible funding that allows us to provide our community with critical support when it’s needed. This is the vital role of the Salem State Annual Fund. From financial aid to help a student who lost their job to funding for faculty development or essential equipment for our labs, teams and departments, the Salem State Annual Fund allows us to make good on our mission to provide opportunity for all, and high-quality education to everyone in our community.

Finding Meaning through Civic Engagement: Lizabeth Davis ’23

Lizbeth Davis '23

“Through Salem State’s First Year Day of Service, which gives 100 first-year students the chance to spend a day giving back to the local community made possible by unrestricted funds, I volunteered at the food pantry at Citizens Inn Haven from Hunger. After this, I applied for and became a Civic Engagement Fellow through the university’s Center for Civic Engagement. A lot of the issues students face, like accessing resources and food insecurity, shouldn’t be their problems. I’ve learned from the Center how to advocate for people without speaking for them. If I see an issue on campus that other students want to solve, I can be part of the solution by amplifying their voices and helping them push it through. It’s really empowering.”

Prioritizing the Needs of Vulnerable Students: Rachel Frank ’19G, MSW

Rachel Frank '19G MSW

“Students aren’t going to graduate if they’re hungry and have nowhere to sleep. Thanks to the Massachusetts Student Housing Security Pilot Program and unrestricted gifts to Salem State, we’re able to provide our most vulnerable students with the basic security, dignity and autonomy they need to succeed in college. We guarantee 12 months of campus housing and cover meal plans. When these individuals can stay enrolled and ultimately graduate, upward socioeconomic mobility becomes possible for these motivated and deserving students.”

Providing Experiential Learning Opportunities: Sanjay Kudrimonti, assistant professor of accounting and finance

Sanjay Kudrimonti

“Thanks to unrestricted funds, the Cabot Wealth Management Lab can continue to provide hands-on experience outside and inside the classroom, an essential tool for my students managing the Student Investment Fund. The lab provides access to the financial information via 12 Bloomberg Terminals and elevates the abilities of student asset managers to investigate and analyze the work in the process portfolio.”

Ways to Engage

Sponsor the Series

As a sponsor, you will enjoy valuable interaction with key change-makers in the greater Boston community and the world, while receiving valuable marketing benefits and exclusive access to our speakers.

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Be among the first to know about upcoming Salem State Series events, speakers, exclusive ticket promotions, news, and more.

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