Programs for Apr 1-30


April 1, Monday Quarterback Luncheon – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Dick Ullman is our Quarterback.

April 4, Thursday Luncheon Roundtable – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Speaker is Steven Ujifusa. His topic – The Last Ships from Hamburg: A Pre-WWI Race to Save Russia’s Jews.

Philadelphia author and historian Steven Ujifusa is a finalist for the Athenaeum’s 2024 Literary Award with his newest book, which continues his work at what he calls “the confluence of American business, social, and maritime history.” The Last Ships from Hamburg: Business, Rivalry, and the Race to Save Russia’s Jews on the Eve of World War I (HarperCollins, 2023) unfolds the complex story of business titans who enabled millions of Eastern European Jews to escape persecution. Three powerful men with often-conflicting interests – Albert Ballin, of the Hamburg-America Line; Jacob Schiff, of the investment bank Kuhn, Loeb & Co.; and J.P. Morgan, who tried to monopolize the steamship business – created a transatlantic pathway to refuge from Hamburg to America. The book relates the perils of Jews facing pogroms in Russia, and reveals the financial bonanza of mass migration for the steamship lines and the investors backing them. There was gold in the passenger count on a 13,000-ton Hamburg- America vessel: 2,143 passengers in third class, with just 346 voyagers in first and second class.

Steven holds a master’s degree from Penn in historic preservation and real estate development and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard in history. He spoke to us two years ago about his book Barons of the Sea and Their Race to Build the World’s Fastest Clipper Ship (Simon & Schuster, 2018). His awards include the Athenaeum’s 2012 Literary Award for Nonfiction for A Man and His Ship, the biography of William Francis Gibbs, designer of the SS United States. And you’ll find many articles with his byline on the urban history website

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April 8, Monday Quarterback Luncheon – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Roberta Kangilaski is our Quarterback.

April 11, Thursday Luncheon Roundtable – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Speaker is Ian S. Lustick. His topic – What Makes Talking about Israelis and Palestinians so Difficult?

Discussions of Israel and the Palestinians are typically fraught in American politics in general, and on university campuses in particular. But the Hamas attacks of October 7, 2023, and the Gaza War, with a death toll now in excess of 32,000, have embittered and polarized discourse as never before. Accusations of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and suppression of free speech have been accompanied by donor boycotts and demands for speech codes. Students and faculty have been disciplined, class syllabi have been censored, and cultural and scholarly events have been canceled. Professor Lustick, who has taught, researched, written, and consulted on the Israel/Palestine conflict for five decades, will discuss particular features of the problem and of American politics that help explain why it is treated so differently from other foreign policy problems.

Ian S. Lustick is professor emeritus and the Bess W. Heyman Chair emeritus in Penn’s political science department. During his career, he has seen many wars, many peace processes, many hopes, and many dashed hopes in the Middle East. He spoke to us three years ago about his book Paradigm Lost: From Two-State Solution to One-State Reality. Before coming to Penn in 1991, he taught at Dartmouth for fifteen years. He served as a State Department analyst on Israel-Palestinian affairs during the Carter administration, and as a consultant on intelligence, national security, and foreign policy issues in every subsequent presidential administration prior to that of Donald Trump. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a founder and past president of the Association for Israel Studies. His published work, written or edited, includes scores of articles and twenty books. Among his books are Arabs in the Jewish State (1980); For the Land and the Lord (1988, 1994); Unsettled States, Disputed Lands (1993); Trapped in the War on Terror (2006); and Paradigm Lost (2019).

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April 15, Monday Quarterback Luncheon – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Sam Gold is our Quarterback.

April 19, Friday Club Dinner, starting at 5:30 p.m. Speaker is Paul A. Offit, MD, on his newest book, Tell Me When It’s Over: An Insider’s Guide to COVID Myths and Navigating a Post-pandemic World – in conversation with Innmate Stuart Shapiro, MD, with Q&A afterward.

Paul Offit, as director of CHOP’s Vaccine Education Center, was a voice of reason during the pandemic, often struggling to be heard over the clamor of misinformation and disinformation about the source and spread of SARS-CoV-2, health system strains, morbidity and mortality, patient treatment, and finally life-saving vaccines. In this book, just published by National Geographic Books, he draws on what we have learned about this deadly shape-shifting virus to answer questions of how to deal with it now.

Dr. Offit is a professor of pediatrics in the infectious disease division at CHOP, and he holds the Maurice R. Hilleman professorship of vaccinology at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. He is co- inventor of the rotavirus vaccine RotaTeq, which is recommended for universal use in infants by the CDC. As an internationally recognized expert in virology and immunology, he served on the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. He is also a member of the FDA’s advisory committee on vaccines and related biological products, a founding advisory board member of the Autism Science Foundation and the Foundation for Vaccine Research, and a member of the Institute of Medicine. His publications include more than 150 papers in medical and scientific journals, and he is co-editor of the leading medical textbook, Vaccines.

Former Philadelphia Health Commissioner Stuart Shapiro, M.D, has had an extensive public health and business career. He also served as Deputy Health Secretary in Massachusetts and senior staff member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health and Scientific Research. Currently, he is a strategic healthcare consultant, and he advises nursing homes and other clients on business matters, including managing the Covid-19 crisis.

April 22, Monday Quarterback Luncheon – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Skip Schwarzman is our Quarterback.

April 25, Thursday Luncheon Roundtable – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Speaker is Innmate Gresham Riley. His topic – Life in Mississippi: Growing Up in the Rural South.

In the idealized myth, rural America was a land populated by self-reliant Jeffersonian yeoman farmers, who lived in communities defined by easily formed personal relationships, generosity of spirit, and absence of malice. In its place, Gresham will sketch a more realistic picture of a distinctive culture defined by features that characterized his youth in rural Mississippi, if not rural America generally. His thoughts have been stimulated by the work of historian Steven Conn, who will speak at the Club Dinner in June about his book The Lies of the Land: Seeing America for What It Is – And Isn’t.

Gresham Riley was president of the Franklin Inn Club from 2016 to 2018. He is a published philosopher, president emeritus of Colorado College, and former president of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

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April 29, Monday Quarterback Luncheon – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Russell Cooke is our Quarterback.

April 30, Movie Night at the Inn – starting at 6:00 p.m.

  •  No charge for admission, or snacks and drinks – popcorn, chips, nuts, sodas, beer, and wine.
  •  Feature, starting at 6:30, 2001: A Space Odyssey