Our History


The mission of Town Hall South is to provide an enrichment program for the community through quality lectures and to engage the public in reflection and dialogue on the key issues of our day. Additionally, Town Hall South provides outreach to the community through philanthropic gifts to a wide range of local organizations.


Town Hall South was conceived and organized in 1969 by Westminster Presbyterian Church members Edna Brown and Ruth Bayley, with the encouragement of Pastor John Galbreath, as an outreach of the church. From its inception, it has been led and managed by an all-volunteer board of approximately 6 – 12 members. Town Hall South Board members work throughout the year, volunteering their time and talents to investigate, secure funding for, and contract each season’s speakers. In addition, this group works together to plan and execute the operations behind the lecture series: logistics, ticket sales, marketing, publishing, customer service, and community outreach. Annually, Town Hall South awards a portion of proceeds as grants to a wide variety of local organizations. To date, Town Hall South has committed to providing service to the community through philanthropic gifts of nearly $650,000.

In its 53rd season, Town Hall South is dedicated to bringing nationally and internationally acclaimed lecturers to the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Over the years, Town Hall South has hosted over 255 famous and notable speakers who have provided stimulating, intellectual entertainment including authors Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jon Meacham, David McCullough, and Mitch Albom, journalists Mike Wallace, Leslie Stahl and Wolf Blitzer, entertainers Beverly Sills, Judy Collins, and Marlee Matlin, television personalities Jane Pauley and Jack Hanna, chefs Anthony Bourdain and Jacques Pepin, civil rights activist Maya Angelou, coaching legend Lou Holtz, changemakers Wes Moore and Bill Strickland, and renowned scientists David Eagleman and Dr. Isaac Asimov, to name a few. Town Hall South’s current 2022-2023 season includes John King, Kevin Surace, Leon Logothetis, Richard Stengel, and Alton Fitzgerald White. Our forthcoming 2023-2024 slate includes award-winning actor, author, and producer Henry Winkler, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario, James Beard Award recipient and culinary icon Ruth Reichl, NASA Lead Engineer Kobie Boykins, and best-selling author, distinguished professor, and CNN Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley.

While lectures sites, attendance, ticket prices, board size and members have changed, the mission, high standards, and lecture format of Town Hall South have remained constant. 

Of special note are the women who have served to chair the Town Hall South board over the years. They are Edna Brown, Della Inman, Susan Redfield, Sally Lewis, Ethel Collins, Janice O’Brien, Ann Gabler, Susan Miller, Maureen Ludwig, and Suzanne Palko.