Tickets selling fast for Judson forum featuring Caroline Kennedy Oct. 8
More than 400 tickets have been sold for Judson University's 2019 World Leaders Forum on Oct. 8 featuring Caroline Kennedy, former U.S. ambassador to Japan and the only surviving child of former President John F. Kennedy.
Officials expect to cap admission at roughly 600 attendees. The forum, previously held in the spring on Judson's Elgin campus, will be at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center, 1551 N. Thoreau Drive, Schaumburg.
It outgrew Judson's on-campus Herrick Chapel, which seats roughly 525 people. The Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center's Schaumburg Ballroom can accommodate 1,900 people attending multiple events simultaneously.
Recognizing that Kennedy would be a big draw, organizers changed the venue this year to accommodate the forum's growing popularity and make it more widely accessible.
"She has a nice broad appeal," Judson President Gene Crume said. "We also wanted to make it a little more centrally located to the city and suburban areas."
Aside from Judson's usual supporters and sponsors in the Midwest, the program is attracting attendees from the East and West coasts, Crume said.
Kennedy will be interviewed by conservative cultural commentator Eric Metaxas, a nationally syndicated radio host and founder and host of "Socrates in the City," an acclaimed series of conversations on "life, God and other small topics." Metaxas is a senior fellow and lecturer at large at King's College in New York City. Kennedy's interview will air on his show at a later date.
Metaxas has modeled his "Socrates in the City" program on legendary talk show host Dick Cavett, said Crume, who added it is a format that has worked in New York and Dallas.
"(Cavett) was well known for having thoughtful conversations where you really learned more about the person," Crume said.
The conversation with Kennedy will focus on "values, political courage and service" with some audience engagement, he said.
Metaxas is expected to moderate the World Leaders Forum for several years.
The forum serves as Judson's signature fundraising event, with proceeds supporting the Judson Leadership Scholars program, innovative entrepreneurial activities, ongoing forum operations and the higher education of youth in foster care.
Past forums have featured several former world leaders, including former President George W. Bush, former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Mexican President Felipe Calderón, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Queen Noor of Jordan. The 2018 forum was jointly headlined by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former presidential candidate Howard Dean.
Officials at the Christian liberal arts and sciences university decided to move the main forum out of Elgin, while keeping its offshoot, World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series, and the new "Conversations with Mark Vargas" series focusing on business and entrepreneurship on campus. The latter featured billionaire entrepreneur, investor and the NBA's Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban in the spring. Speakers for the inspirational and business series will be announced soon.
"We really have three different platforms to feature people," Crume said. "Now, it's just a matter of continuing to bring great speakers and build those platforms out."
A 5 p.m. VIP reception with Kennedy and Metaxas will precede the program at 7 p.m. in the Schaumburg Ballroom. Tickets are $75 for general admission and $1,000 for the VIP reception, available at WorldLeadersForum.info.