The Mission of PALS is to sponsor exceptional public speakers who are excellently credentialed to discourse on current and important topics of public affairs. For over three decades, PALS, the Public Affairs Lecture Series has presented distinguished professors from prominent universities, scholars from prominent think tanks, dignitaries and other governmental leaders. The programs are held at the Bickford Theatre, in the Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ, each fall on Monday afternoons from 2:15 to 3:45 PM.

PALS Topics and Speakers, Fall 2024

September 9
Biden’s Foreign Policy in the Midst of Crisis and Elections
Dr. Jerry Pubantz, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of North Carolina

September 16
The End of China’s Rise and the Future of Global Order
Dr. Michael Beckley, Professor of Political Science, Tufts University

September 23
The State of Artificial Intelligence: Where Do We Go from Here?
Jim Williams, Customer Engineer at Google Cloud

September 30
The Future of the U.S. Constitution
Dr. Bruce Peabody, Professor of Government and Politics, Fairleigh Dickinson University

October 7
Psychedelic Outlaws: The Movement Revolutionizing Modern Medicine
Dr. Joanna Kempner, Professor of Sociology, Rutgers University

October 14
Searching for Goldilocks in the Middle East: How the U.S. Can Get It Right
Dr. Steven Cook, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

October 21
Search for Truth in an Era of False News
Alan Miller, Founder of the News Literacy Project and former Journalist

October 28
Behind the Problems of Bullying and Anxiety in School-aged Youth
Dr. Maurice Elias, Professor of Psychology, Rutgers University

November 4
Tipping from Climate Risk to Climate Solutions
Dr. Radley Horton, Professor, Climate School, Columbia University

November 11
Critical Issues Confronting NJ’s 2025 Gubernatorial Candidates
Dr. Benjamin Dworkin, Director, Rowan Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship

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PALS 2024 Subscriptions

You can submit your application and subscription payment electronically or by mail. Your receipt will be forwarded to you via your email.

As we did last year, we have reserved a section of the Bickford Theater for those who prefer to be seated in a “mask only” section. Otherwise, the remainder of the theater will be Masks optional.

At each lecture, please claim your seats at least 15 minutes before each lecture begins. After that the available seats will be offered to qualified standbys, as well as to members. Please sit in the “Mask Required” section only if you are wearing a mask.

Submit Electronic Payment Online

Secure online payment is available via Touchnet.

Once you have placed your order, you will immediately receive an email order receipt from (check your spam file) that is your confirmation letter to the Lecture Series. Simply print out that confirmation page or take a photo of it on your smartphone and bring it with you to exchange at the door for your PALS lecture series ticket.


Send Subscription Payment by Mail

If you prefer, you can print out the subscription application form and mail it with your check payable to FDU to: 

Donna L. Sadowski, MAS
School of Public and Global Affairs
Fairleigh Dickinson University
1000 River Road, H-DH2-13
Teaneck, NJ 07666

Once your check and application is received we will email you a confirmation receipt. Simply print out the emailed confirmation receipt or take a photo of it on your smartphone and bring it with you to exchange at the door for your PALS lecture series ticket.

If you have not received your confirmation email (and have checked your email spam files) or if you have any questions please contact us at

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PALS Committee

Nine PALS Committee members
Seated, from left: Wally Saffer, Dorrie Susser, Helen Saffer.
Standing, from left: Robert Martin, Joan Sturm, Lynn Gold, Deborah D’Urso, Marcia Geltman, Tina Johnson.

Committee Members

  • Deborah D’Urso, Mendham
  • Trina Frankel, Short Hills
  • Marcia Geltman, Randolph
  • Lynn Gold, Berkeley Heights 
  • Tina Johnson, Morristown 
  • Helen Saffer, Morristown  
  • Wally Saffer, Morristown 
  • Joan Sturm, Morristown 
  • Dorrie Susser, Morristown 

Chair, PALS Committee

Robert Martin
Robert Martin, JD, LLM, EdD

Director, FDU School of Public and Global Affairs

Dr Peter Woolley
Peter J. Woolley, PhD


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Contact Us

Please use the PALS Reply Form to request to be added to our mailing list, or to send comments and questions about the PALS Lecture Series.

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Contact Information
Public Affairs Lecture Series (PALS)

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Speaker Bio, September 29, 2024 PALS Lecture

Jim Williams
Jim Williams, Google Cloud

Jim Williams

Currently in the middle of the 4th large software paradigm shift (minis, pcs, cloud, generative AI) Jim actually began working in engineering geology, geo-hydrology, and environmental sciences. With all of these roles requiring the collection and analysis of large amounts of data, this led to an interest and appreciation of statistical analysis, forecasting, and eventually full time analyst work. This led to a role at a major bank where, unplanned, he ended up running systems and operations for several years, then joined a series of software companies including Microsoft, Amazon AWS, and Google. In those roles, the timing and opportunity arose to evolve and merge analytics into and with AI. From rocks to AI, he did not predict that.

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