Engaging Perspectives

Sharp Viewpoint Series

Engaging Perspectives



The University of Richmond celebrates fostering important and challenging dialogues through the Sharp Viewpoint Speakers Series. This year, three luminaries with expertise in civil liberties and constitutional law will participate in dialogues on-stage at the Modlin Center of the Arts.

Through these conversations, we will explore speech as a tool for understanding and navigating differences in a democratic society. Together, we will consider why civil discourse is important, why it is sometimes so difficult, and what democracies and university communities stand to gain from embracing a shared commitment to free expression.

Erwin Chemerinsky headshot
Erwin Chemerinsky

Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law, Berkeley Law

Chemerinsky, a legal scholar known for his studies of constitutional law and federal civil procedure, previously served as the founding dean and Distinguished Professor of Law and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. Before that, he taught law and political science at Duke University, University of Southern California Law School, and DePaul College of Law. He is the author of 16 books, including leading casebooks and treatises, and has written more than 200 law review articles. He argues appellate cases, including in the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2016, he was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2022, he became President of the Association of American Law Schools. Chemerinsky earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and his law degree from Harvard Law School. In 2024, National Jurist magazine again named Chemerinsky the most influential person in legal education in the United States. 

Advance registration is required for this event and will open on Thursday, October 3. This event is free and open to the University of Richmond community as well as the public.

Past Events

Robert George headshot

McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Professor of Politics, and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University

George, a legal scholar, political philosopher, and public intellectual, has served as chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and the U.S. President’s Council on Bioethics. He has been a U.S. member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology and a judicial fellow at the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Citizens Medal, the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland, the Canterbury Medal of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and Princeton University’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. In 2023, he was an inaugural recipient of the Barry Prize for Distinguished Intellectual Achievement from the newly established American Academy of Sciences and Letters. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Swarthmore, George holds J.D. and M.T.S. degrees from Harvard University as well as D.Phil., B.C.L., D.C.L., D.Litt. degrees from Oxford University.

View the full discussion.

Suzanne Nossel headshot
MARCH 28, 2024 • 5 P.M. • CAMP CONCERT HALL 
Suzanne Nossel

Chief Executive Officer, PEN America

Nossel, a human rights advocate, serves as the chief executive officer of PEN America, the leading free expression organization, and is the author of Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All. Her career has spanned government service and leadership roles in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. She has served as the chief operating officer of Human Rights Watch and executive director of Amnesty International USA. During the first term of the Obama Administration, Nossel served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations. She also coined the term “Smart Power,” the title of a 2004 article she published in Foreign Affairs magazine. Nossel has published op-eds in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as scholarly articles in Foreign Affairs, Dissent, and Democracy. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

View the full discussion.

About The Sharp Viewpoint Speaker Series

The Sharp Viewpoint Speakers Series was established in 2011 in honor of Richard L. Sharp, a nationally recognized entrepreneur, to present competing views on topics crucial to our society.

Sharp was an exemplar of personal and professional integrity who served as a mentor to aspiring business and community leaders. Among his many professional roles, he served as president, chief executive officer, and chairman of the board at Circuit City until 2002. Under his leadership, Circuit City developed into one of the nation’s Fortune 500 businesses. He also directed Circuit City’s venture into CarMax, which revolutionized the automotive retail industry, growing it into the nation’s largest retailer of previously owned cars. He retired as chairman of the board in June 2007. He also served as chairman of the board of Crocs, Inc. from 2005 to 2010.

Sharp was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease in late 2010 but continued to demonstrate his values of leading by example, until his death in 2014, by helping shape the landscape of Virginia through his personal philanthropy, and by inspiring and motivating others to give back to their community.



The Sharp Viewpoint Speaker Series is free and open to the public. Advance registration for individual seats is required and will open three weeks prior to each event. A brief reception will be offered in the Booth Lobby of the Modlin Center for the Arts following each program.

Note: You will not receive a physical ticket for Sharp Series events; rather, you'll check in upon arrival.