Past Specter Center Events

Follow our Instagram and Facebook Account for Updates 

Fixing Our Broken Political System

Date: Tuesday, November 1, 2022 | Listen on Soundcloud 

Speaker: Michael Smerconish, American radio host and television presenter, political commentator, newspaper columnist, author, and lawyer.

He broadcasts The Michael Smerconish Program weekdays at 9:00 a.m. ET on SiriusXM's POTUS Channel (124), and hosts the CNN and CNN International program Smerconish at 9:00 a.m. ET on Saturdays. He is a Sunday newspaper columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Smerconish has authored seven books: six non-fiction works and one novel. He is also of counsel to the Philadelphia law firm of Kline & Specter

A Conversation with Evan Laine on his Book about Arlen Specter

Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2022 | Watch on Youtube 

Speaker: Evan Laine, MA, JD, Faculty Director, Arlen Specter Center; Director, Law & Society Program, Thomas Jefferson Univ. – East Falls

Hear author, Evan Laine, talk about his book, Arlen Specter: Scandals, Conspiracies, and Crisis in Focus, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021.

Unlike today’s political leaders, Specter was highly successful in working across the aisle. He was Pennsylvania’s longest-serving U.S. Senator, with a remarkable career placing him in the middle of some of the 20th century’s most important political events. From the Warren Commission, to the configuration of the U.S. Supreme Court, to his votes on the Affordable Care Act, and his dedication to solving foreign policy dilemmas (the Middle East and Cuba)—all of this work had critical and significant impact. His influence was also felt on the criminal justice system, LGBTQ rights, and stem cell research. Laine’s book centers around photographs from Specter’s personal collection which highlight many of these key moments, revealing the rich narrative not only of one man’s political career, but how it helped shape a nation.

Coping with COVID-19 on the College Campus

Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2021 | Watch on Youtube 

A panel discussion on the psychological impact of the pandemic on college students, faculty, and staff. Hear perspectives of students, an administrator, and a psychologist. Learn about dealing with uncertainty; positives/negatives of online learning; stress and anxiety due to isolation, changed living environments, and more.

Moderator: Evan Laine, MA, JD, Faculty Director, Arlen Specter Center; Director, Law & Society Program, Thomas Jefferson Univ. – East Falls


    Henry Humphreys, PhD, Vice-Chancellor, Dean of Students, Thomas Jefferson University – East Falls

    C. Virginia O’Hayer, MA, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Thomas Jefferson University - Center City

    Julia Smith, BA, Advanced Student, MS in Community & Trauma Counseling Program, Thomas Jefferson University – East Falls

The Future of Roe v. Wade

Date: Thursday, March 25, 2021 | Watch on Youtube 

Hosted by:

Evan Laine - Moderator - JD, MA, Thomas Jefferson University (East Falls), College of Humanities & Sciences, Director & Associate Professor, Law & Society Program; Faculty Director, Arlen Specter Center

Elizabeth Kukura, JD, LLM, MSc, Drexel University, Kline School of Law, Visiting Assistant Professor of Law

Erica Goldblatt Hyatt, DSW, LCSW, MBE, Rutgers University, School of Social Work, Associate Teaching Professor and Assistant Director of Doctor of Social Work Program

Mara Thur, MD, Abington-Jefferson Health, Abington Primary Women’s Healthcare Group, Obstetrician/Gynecologist

Knowledge Exchange - Specter Fellows Present: Prisons in Crisis

Date: Thursday, November 7, 2019 | Watch on Youtube 

Arlen Specter Center at Roxboro House - 2nd Floor
Thomas Jefferson University, East Falls Campus

The Arlen Specter Center offers annual competitive research fellowships to aid scholars in their study and research of an area significant to the late Senator Arlen Specter’s legacy. Both of our fellows for the year 2019-20 examine the U.S. prison system and undertake research to gain deeper insights into the issues of prison overcrowding and judicial fairness.

The working titles of their presentations were as follows:

“Lock Them Up, but Where?: Making Sense of the Armed Career Criminal Act and the Late Twentieth-Century Crisis of Prison Overcrowding” by Charlotte Rosen, PhD Candidate in History, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

“You Can’t Win When You Can’t Get Out of the Cage: Understanding the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 and its Role in Expanding the Modern Prison Industrial Complex” by Timothy N. Welbeck, Esq., Adjunct Faculty Member, Thomas Jefferson University (East Falls) and Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

Funding for the fellowships is provided by Shanin Specter, Philadelphia trial attorney and son of Arlen Specter, and his wife, Tracey Specter.

Nurses on the Inside; A Memoir of the AIDS Epidemic in New York City by Ellen Matzer, RN and Valery Hughes, FNP

Date: Friday, April 19, 2019 | Watch the discussion 

Lawrence Katz Memorial Lecture:

Interviewed by Evan Laine, Director of Arlen Specter Center

A discussion about the inspiring story of two nurses at the frontlines of the AIDs outbreak in New York City in the 1980s. Both Matzer and Hughes noticed a growing number of young men with a peculiar immune deficiency entering their ICUs. Although it would be years before anyone understood what was happening, it became the main focus of their careers. The empathy and compassion of Matzer and Hughes deeply affected their patients’ lives. This is the book about that experience.

Nurses on the Inside Facebook Page
Nurses on the Inside Book

Official Opening of Arlen Specter Research Website and Senate Office Replica

Date: Friday, October 19, 2018 2 pm

Arlen Specter Center at Roxboro House - 2nd Floor
Thomas Jefferson University, East Falls Campus

Arlen Specter's collection of papers represents a major contribution to American political history. Ashley Taylor, University of Pittsburgh's Specter archivist, discussed the collection content and how to perform research using the new Specter website.

Also on display was the Senator's replica office containing signed photos and memorabilia, including his Senate desk and chair and a specially commissioned replica Senate carpet.

Dare to Care: Students & Suicide Prevention

Date: Monday, March 26, 2018 6-8 pm | Listen to the panel discussion here

Lawrence Katz Memorial Lecture

Suicide prevention is a crucial issue on campuses across the nation

  • Suicide is currently the second most common cause of death among college students.
  • Nearly 4,000 people age 15-24 die by suicide each year in the United States.
  • According to the JED Foundation, half of college students have had suicidal thoughts.
  • Surveys suggest an increase in overall student emotional distress in recent years

What are the signs and what you can do to prevent suicides?
How can we address this critical issue on campus?

Moderator: Maiken Scott, MA, Host of "The Pulse" a weekly WHYY radio show/podcast about health, science and innovation. Formerly, Behavioral Health Reporter, NPR


  • Keynoter: Matthew Wintersteen, PhD, Assistant Professor and Director of Research in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Thomas Jefferson University (Center City)/Jefferson Medical College.
  • Meghan K. O’Meara, Director, Counseling Services, Jefferson University (East Falls Campus)
  • Nicole Johnson, PhD, LPC, CAADC, CCDP-D -- part-time faculty member, Community and Trauma Counseling Program, Jefferson University (East Falls
  • Kimberly Riordan, first year Community and Trauma Counseling graduate student at Jefferson University-- Co-founder and president of the campus chapter of Active Minds

Ready to Run™ Philadelphia

Ready to Run™ Pennsylvania provides bi-partisan political training to encourage women to run for government leadership positions. The day-long program targets women considering or recently deciding to run for political office, providing training and mentoring by campaign professionals, political women, and officeholders.

Hosted by The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) at Chatham University, a non–partisan center devoted to fostering women’s public leadership through education, empowerment, and action.

LGBTQ rights in Pennsylvania The Past, Present and Future

October 21, 2016 DEC Forum | Watch the Discussion

Prominent Philadelphia Trial Lawyer, Shanin Specter (son of the late US Senator Arlen Specter), interviews LGBTQ civil rights leader Malcolm Lazin concerning Senator Specter's support of the gay community, how the election may effect civil rights and how to become politically active in your community.

Host: Shanin Specter