Newt Gingrich and John Irving to headline 2011 Salem State Series

Salem State Series


The Salem State Series is pleased to announce its 2011 lineup. Political activist and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich will appear at the university’s O’Keefe Center on Wednesday, March 30. Author John Irving will speak at the same location on Tuesday, September 13. Tickets go on sale Monday, February 14, and may be purchased online at

Newt Gingrich, political activist, author and chairman of the Gingrich Group, served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives as a congressman from Georgia, the last as speaker. As the architect of the Contract with America that laid out ten policies Republicans promised to bring to a House vote in Congress’ first 100 days, he catapulted his party to victory in 1994, giving Republicans a majority in the House for the first time in 40 years. Among his accomplishments was the passages of the first balanced budget in a generation, the first tax cut in 16 years and extensive welfare reform.

A history scholar, Newt Gingrich is acknowledged internationally for his expertise in the arenas of world history, military issues and international affairs. In addition to serving as a member of the Defense Policy Board, he teaches officers from all five services as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Professor at the National Defense University, serves on the Terrorism Task Force for the Council on Foreign Relations and is credited with suggesting that a secretary of homeland security serve on the president’s cabinet, something President George W. Bush implemented with the creation of a Department of Homeland Security in 2003.

One of this country’s most respected writers, John Irving’s novels are American classics; each one is a “publishing event.” His first international novel, The World According to Garp, introduced readers to his masterful story-within-a-story style and a world of highly engaging and very memorable characters. The work, which instantly became a classic in the pantheon of American novels, won a National Book Award in 1980 and was made into a film starring Robin Williams that earned Academy Award nominations for John Lithgow and Glenn Close. The Cider House Rules was turned into a movie in 1999 that won Irving the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay.

Irving has won the O. Henry Award and additional honors from the Rockefeller Foundation, the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2001, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Founded in 1982 as one of the first high-profile speaker series in the country, the Salem State University Series has hosted countless world leaders, artists, athletes, and intellectuals on its suburban North Shore campus. Annually, more than 7,500 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.

The Series, presented under the auspices of the Salem State University Foundation,is pleased to announce that presenting sponsor for its 2011 season is longtime supporter Giant Glass. Cranney Companies continues its support as well as feature sponsor.