The Peltason Lecture series honors the contributions of Jack and Suzanne Peltason to higher education in America and the study of the democratic process. This named lectureship brings leading politicians and experts on democracy for a temporary residence at the center.
Jack Peltason served as the 16th president of the University of California (1992-95), after serving as chancellor of the University of California, Irvine (1984-92) and as chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1967-77). In addition, he was president of the American Council on Education (1977-1984) and was co-chair of the Western Center, American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Peltason was a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a founding member of the Center for the Study of Democracy. He was one of the nation's leading experts on the Constitution, and his book is the definitive work in the field.
Suzanne Peltason also has made very significant contributions to the spirit and the history of the University of California and the University of Illinois. She was an equal part of the team that helped to build UC Irvine as great university, and played an especially important role in developing a sense of community among the faculty and employees of the University. As UCI celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary, she authored UCI--The First 25 Years as a testament to what had been achieved.
And when the Peltasons retired and returned to Irvine, Suzanne has continued to develop the sense of community and spirit that has made the university so successful.
The Peltason Lecture was established in 1999 with a generous initial grant from the
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation with the support of David Gardner, the foundation
president at that time. The Hewlett gift initiated an endowment that will provide
continuing support for an annual Peltason Lecturer at the center.