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The National Conference on the First Amendment:

Bedrock for American Freedoms

This event also is free of charge and will be presented at Duquesne University’s Power Center Ballroom on October 21-22. Speakers and panelists are nationally-known experts in journalism, politics, law, higher education and civic advocacy.


Save these dates! Look for an invitation to register in coming months.


Conference theme: opening a national dialogue focusing on the First Amendment as a foundational value that all Americans share and support regardless of political or ideological views.


Conference sessions: to be announced when registration opens.


Keynote speakers and panelists committed so far include:


  • Floyd Abrams, one of the nation’s leading authorities on First Amendment law.


  • Dean P. Baquet, executive editor, The New York Times.


  • Martin Baron, executive editor, The Washington Post.

  • Keith Burris, editorial page editor, The Toledo Blade.


  • Alan Dershowitz, renowned lawyer and scholar, Harvard University (via Skype).


  • Noel Francisco, U.S. Solicitor General.

  • Michael Gerhardt, Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law, University of North Carolina School of Law.

  • Nancy Gibbs, former editor of TIME magazine.

  • Richard Gingras, senior director of news and social products at Google and the overseer of Google News.


  • Judge Thomas Hardimann, judge for the United States Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit.


  • General Michael Hayden, retired 4-star general and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency.


  • Hugh Hewitt, radio and television commentator (invited).


  • John Kasich, Republican governor of Ohio (via video).


  • Lata Nott, executive director, First Amendment Center.

  • Dr. Shawn Peters, author and professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin v. Yoder, Amish children attending school.


  • Tom Ridge, former Republican U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and Pennsylvania governor.


  • Jeff Rosen, president and chief executive officer of the National Constitution Center.

  • Robert Rosenthal, former editor,The Philadelphia Inquirer, former managing editor, The San Francisco Chronicle and executive director, Center for Investigative Reporting.


  • David Shribman, executive editor, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

  • Sree Sreenivasan, co-founder, digimentors.

  • Teresa Sullivan, president emeritus, University of Virginia.

  • Simon Tam, The Slants, Matal v. Tam, Lanham Act’s disparagement clause and the First Amendment.


  • Mary Beth Tinker, plaintiff in the landmark Tinker v. Des Moines case upholding the right of high school students to wear black armbands to protest the Vietnam War.

  • Juan Williams, Fox News contributor.

  • Robert Zimmer, president, University of Chicago.


Please mark your calendars for the October 21-22 conference at Duquesne University. As a community leader, you understand that shining a light on the critical importance of the First Amendment is the best assurance of a strong, free and democratic society.


We look forward to seeing you.

Ken Gormley, President, Duquesne University

Maxwell King, President and CEO, The Pittsburgh Foundation

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