Special Events

The Arlen Specter Center aims to facilitate and promote public service and civic education in a cross-disciplinary, nonpartisan setting. The work of the Center includes programming inspired by Senator Specter’s long-term interests and accomplishments.

Upcoming Special Events

The Lawrence Katz Memorial Lecture: The Future of Roe v. Wade

Event Date TBA- Fall 2020

DEC Center
Thomas Jefferson University, East Falls Campus

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. This controversial decision is presently being challenged in many states where laws are being passed that dispute the Court’s ruling. There is a very real possibility that those challenges may come before the Court and that it might overrule its prior decision or extremely limit it. The purpose of the presentation is to provide an expert legal, medical and political panel that explores what rights Roe v Wade recognized, the nature of the controversy and the consequences of the law being overruled or limited.


  • Moderator: Evan Laine, 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, Assistant 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
  • Katharine Jones, PhD, MA, Thomas Jefferson University (East Falls), College of Humanities & Sciences, Associate Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies

Past Special Events

Ready to Run Campaign Training for Women

Ready to Run is a non-partisan program for women who want to run for office, seek higher office, work on a campaign, get appointed to office, or learn more about the political system.

Why Women Leaders Matter:

As political leaders, women of all parties enrich the practice of politics. Research shows that electing women brings new issues to the public agenda and opens government to fresh ideas and a different voices. Political women change the public policy agenda and the way government works. Women make our democracy more inclusive and more responsive to the concerns of all citizens.

This program is in partnership with Chatham University's Pennsylvania Center for Women & Politics. 

Learn more at https://www.chatham.edu/pcwp/education/readytorun/

Knowledge Exchange - Specter Fellows Present: Prisons in Crisis

Thursday, November 7, 2019

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, Ph.D. 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.

Watch the Discussion

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

Interviewed by Evan Laine, Director of Arlen Specter Center

Friday, April 19, 2019

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.

Watch the Discussion

Nurses on the Inside Facebook Page
Nurses on the Inside Book

Official Opening of Arlen Specter Research Website and Senate Office Replica

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 contribuiton 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

Monday, March 26, 2018 6-8 pm

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?

Dare to Care
Maiken Scott, MA

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. Currently, he is working on a study funded by the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) designed to assess parent, adolescent, and family predictors of suicidal behavior in high-risk youth, and is involved in many other research endeavors and projects related to suicide prevention
  • Meghan K. O’Meara, Director, Counseling Services, Jefferson University (East Falls Campus)
  • Nicole Johnson, Ph.D., LPC, CAADC, CCDP-D -- part-time faculty member, Community and Trauma Counseling Program, Jefferson University (East Falls), has over 16 years of experience working in the behavioral health care system in Philadelphia and surrounding counties; has served in a variety of roles: Therapist, Clinical Supervisor, Unit Manager, Clinical Coordinator, Accreditation Manager and Program Director
  • Kimberly Riordan, first year Community and Trauma Counseling graduate student at Jefferson University--Kimberly is the co-founder and president of the campus chapter of Active Minds, a mental health awareness and advocacy organization dedicated to empowering students and encouraging help-seeking

Listen to the panel discussion here

Ready to Run™ Philadelphia

Saturday, February 17, 2018, 8am – 5pm

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.

See Jefferson Today Article