rows of seats inside of a large performance hall
Jun 29, 2023
Daily Inter Lake

Slate of Speakers To Present at the Wachholz Through 2024

By Daily Inter Lake Staff

A former CIA director, mountaineer, NASA engineer, professor, best-selling author, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, celebrated actors and underwater photographers are slated to present at the Wachholz College Center in Kalispell.

Ten speakers will enlighten, inspire, educate and entertain during the Wachholz College Center 2023-24 season. A new part of the speaker series includes five who are National Geographic Live Changemaker speakers.

“National Geographic Live events are returning to only a few major markets in the upcoming season, but we were still able to bring five of their speakers to the Flathead Valley. These five are now called “Changemaker Events” and will feel very much like a Nat Geo Live event,” noted WCC Director Matt Laughlin.

On Sept. 16, go through 100 years of American history in 100 minutes with professor Greg Jackson, creator, writer and host of the podcast “History That Doesn’t Suck.”

Through storytelling, live music and multimedia, Jackson tells the epic tale of the “unlikely union,” weaving defining moments in American history, from 1754 to 1865, into a thrilling narrative of the struggle and triumph of a young nation to form, define, and reform itself.

Jackson is an associate professor and senior fellow at the Center for National Security Studies and fellow of Integrated Studies at Utah Valley University. He holds a doctorate in history from the University of Utah.

The event begins at 7 p.m.

Former CIA Director John Brennan will present at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7. Joining the CIA in 1980, he rose through the ranks to become director of the agency from March 2013 until January 2017.

As CIA director, Brennan was responsible for intelligence collection, analysis, covert action, counterintelligence, and liaison relationships with foreign intelligence services.

From January 2009 to March 2013, Brennan served as the deputy national security advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, shaping and coordinating presidential administration policies on counterterrorism, homeland security, pandemics, cyberattacks, and natural disasters.

At 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 14, Missoula resident and acclaimed National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale will take audiences on a visual expedition, revealing the beauty and fragility of the natural world. Her work has taken her to more than 100 countries.

After two decades on the front lines, and grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder, Vitale asked herself about what stories she was telling and why. This led to her taking a year-long assignment for a nature organization, generating an epiphany, “We can’t solve our problems without taking nature into account.’”

In addition to being a photographer, Vitale is a writer, documentary filmmaker and founder and executive director of the nonprofit Vital Impact, which supports organizations protecting people, wildlife and habitats.

Spend an evening with Tony and Emmy-award-winning actor John Lithgow at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14. Ever charming, Lithgow is sure to delight audiences with his trademark wit and heartfelt conversations.

Performing on camera and on stage, Lithgow has made an indelible impression with his work in film, television and the theater, earning two Tonys, six Emmys, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and two Oscar nominations. Lithgow has appeared in a long list of critically acclaimed films, with his most recent role being prosecutor Leaward in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” and “Sharper” with Julianne Moore.

THE SERIES continues with speakers scheduled to talk in 2024.

Visiting from New Zealand, mountaineer Peter Hillary will share the gripping tales of his daring expeditions to the world’s highest peaks, known as the “Seven Summits,” at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25, 2024. Son of the iconic Sir Edmund Hillary, who made the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953, Peter Hillary summited Everest and reached the South Pole on skis, forging a new route across Antarctica. Along with stories of his exploits, Peter Hillary will share how his family gives back to the communities they explore.

As one of only a handful of lead principal engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, engineer Kobie Boykins will share an insider’s view leading design and testing for the last few decades of Mars rovers, along with a glimpse at what’s next at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22, 2024. Through footage shot by the rovers and animations, Kobie gives an up-close look at other worlds and shares why he’s so passionate about his work and how it’s relevant to life on Earth.

In 2024, Boykins will serve as chief engineer of NASA’s Europa Clipper mission to circumnavigate Jupiter’s icy moon to determine if conditions are suitable for life.

Best-selling author Min Jin Lee takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. March 18, 2024. Jin Lee is a Korean American author and journalist whose award-winning fiction explores the intersection of race, ethnicity, immigration, class, religion, gender and identity.

Her second novel, “Pachinko,” which follows a Korean family migrating to Japan, was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction, runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the Medici Book Club Prize and was listed in the New York Times “10 Best Books of 2017.”

On March 20, 2023, photojournalist Lynsey Addario will share an incomparable body of award-winning work that focuses on humanitarian and human rights issues. The event begins at 7:30 p.m.

Since the war began in Ukraine, Addario has spent more days on the frontline, on assignment for The New York Times, than she has at home. For her work documenting the Russia-Ukraine war, Addario won the prestigious 2023 Polk Award for Photojournalism for a single image documenting the war crimes being committed in Ukraine and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Addario was also part of the New York Times team that received the Pulitzer Prize for their overseas reporting out of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Despite death threats and multiple kidnappings, she continues walking toward danger and heartache so that the public may understand the pivotal stories unfolding around them.

On April 9, 2024, audiences will be immersed in two worlds at once with photographers Jennifer Hayes and David Doubilet, whose photography brilliantly captures life above and below the water's surface in a single frame.

Together, they unveil the awe-inspiring wonders of the world beneath the waves, immersing audiences in the mesmerizing beauty of our ocean, while emphasizing the urgent need for its protection.

The event begins at 7:30 p.m.

Famous for his role as the “the Fonz” in the TV series “Happy Days,” actor and comedian Henry Winkler will share humorous anecdotes and inspirational life lessons about overcoming adversity and a storied career in television and entertainment at 7:30 p.m. April 24, 2024.

Winkler’s passion for supporting others is the result of a lifetime struggle with undiagnosed dyslexia. He has worked tirelessly to bring awareness and support to children who learn differently by advocating for changes in the education system and informing parents and teachers about learning challenges.

The Wachholz College Center is located on the Flathead Valley Community College campus.

Tickets are on sale now with subscription packages available. Tickets may be purchased online at Call 756-1400 for more information.