Susan Russell to deliver 2017 Mark Luchinsky Memorial Lecture on Jan. 30

January 09, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Susan Russell, Penn State associate professor of theatre and 2014-15 Penn State Laureate, will present “The ABC’s of Peace: The Power of ‘U’” as part of the Schreyer Honors College’s 22nd annual Mark Luchinsky Memorial Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, in the Palmer Lipcon Auditorium, Palmer Museum of Art.

The event is free and open to the public, although attendees are required to RSVP, as seating is limited. Free tickets are available online at

The Luchinsky Memorial Lecture Series was endowed by family and friends to honor the memory of Mark Luchinsky through the support of a speaker who exemplifies intellectual honesty, personal integrity and joy in learning. The 22nd annual event is sponsored by the Schreyer Honors College, the Presidential Leadership Academy, Hillel, the Multicultural Resource Center and the Schreyer Honors College Student Council, and is an “All In at Penn State” event.

Russell plans to engage the audience in a conversation as part of what she calls “an experiment in present-tense living.” She will focus on giving attendees a working understanding of how to create a peaceful space.

“We spend so much time creating the differences, creating the categories, defining the categories, setting up sets of actions to take to make ourselves stay in those categories,” Russell said. “In order to find the peace plans that I think can work for us as a whole, we have to start drilling through the horizon line here, and what is it that everybody wants? What is it that everybody needs? This is what my conversation will be about.”

Russell previously spent 25 years as a professional actor on and off Broadway — including five years in the Broadway production of “Phantom of the Opera” — in regional theater and at opera companies across the country. Her plays “Olympia” (1998) and “Present Perfect” (1999) have been produced by Lincoln Center and the Emerging Artist Theatre in New York City.

Her books, “Body Language: Cultural Conversations Reaching Out and Reaching In” and “Body Language: Stop the Violence/Start the Conversation,” are texts designed to offer day-by-day templates for school systems on how to use playwriting, media and public performance to explore issues that affect middle school and high school students. She is currently working on a children’s book titled "The ABC’s of Peace."

In 2012, Russell won the Penn State Commission for Women’s Achieving Woman Award, and in 2013 she won the Centre County Youth Service Bureau’s Dr. Edward Vogelsong Professional Excellence Award. She was selected as one of the “Faces of Penn State” in 2013.

Luchinsky was a Schreyer Scholar and biochemistry major who died in 1995 at the age of 20. A native of Pittsburgh who graduated first in his class from Thomas Jefferson High School, he was a member of the Penn State Golden Key Society and the Alpha Epsilon Delta Premedical Honor Society. Known for his intellectual honesty and integrity, Luchinsky enjoyed the study of all subjects and loved the classics, sports, poetry, history and geography.

Past Luchinsky lecturers have included Wendy Kopp, founder and president of Teach for America; Sean Misko, special adviser to the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan; and Schreyer Scholar alumna Mary Beth Long, former U.S. assistant secretary of defense. Additional information about the Mark Luchinsky Lecture and a list of previous speakers is available at

The Schreyer Honors College promotes academic excellence with integrity, the building of a global perspective, and creation of opportunities for leadership and civic engagement. Schreyer Honors Scholars, including Gateway Scholars admitted after their first or second year of enrollment, total more than 1,900 students at University Park and 20 Commonwealth campuses. They represent the top 2 percent of students at Penn State who perform well academically and lead on campus.

For additional information about the event, contact Donna L. Meyer, director of student programs, at 814-863-2636 or

Last Updated January 11, 2017