UWAA History

1975: Public lectures bring alumni to campus

UW professor Giovanni Costigan

UW professor Giovanni Costigan

The first principle to emerge from the Alderbrook Congress was “[taking] the University to the people and bringing the people to the University.” That commitment to access to the UW for all bore fruit in 1975, when the UWAA and the History Department joined together to launch a series of public lectures.

UW history professor Giovanni Costigan, inaugural recipient of the UWAA’s Distinguished Teaching Award, was a popular figure among students and alumni. When he reached mandatory retirement age, the UWAA joined with the History Department to seek a way for Costigan to continue teaching, and, more importantly, provide an opportunity for the community to return to campus and continue to learn. They found their answer in a series of evening lectures, open to the community.

His lectures were so popular, Costigan came back again the following year and every year for the next 15 years, bringing thousands to campus for learning and discovery. Costigan’s legacy continues today as the UWAA Winter Lecture Series, and the UWAA produces dozens of additional lectures with partners across campus every year.

Hear Costigan speak on the Easter Rising, part of the Modern Irish History lecture series, recorded Jan. 21, 1976.

Hear Costigan speak on Sir Thomas More, part of the Evolution of Modern England lecture series, recorded Oct. 11, 1978.