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. Town Hall South is very proud of the fact that, for the first 50 years, it has been 100% funded through its subscribers and that proceeds are distributed to local charities. Town Hall South has contributed over $620,000 to various charities over the past 51 years.
Over the years, Town Hall has hosted over 255 famous and notable speakers who have provided stimulating, intellectual entertainment. The variety of speakers has run the gamut from authors, Mary Higgins Clark, Erma Bombeck and Mitch Albom, to journalists Mike Wallace and Leslie Stahl, to singers Beverly Sills and Judy Collins to television personalities Jane Pauley and Jack Hanna, to chefs Anthony Bourdain and Jacques and Claudine Pepin, to civil rights activist Maya Angelou, to renowned scientists David Eagleman, Dr. Isaac Asimov and Dr. Alan Russell, to medical pioneers Dr. David Agus, Dr. Gary Small and Dr. Eben Alexander.
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.