Richard Norton Smith relied on his connections as a TV analyst to lure three nationally known presidential historians to Kansas University's Dole Institute of Politics.
Smith announced Monday that Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Beschloss and David McCullough will serve as the speakers for the institute's first Presidential Lecture Series.
"It's our first big programming announcement and in many ways a prototype for what we want to do, combining scholarship with popular participation," Smith said.
The series will be on three consecutive Sundays in November Goodwin on Nov. 3, Beschloss on Nov. 10 and McCullough on Nov. 17. The speeches at the Lied Center will be free and open to the public.
Smith, who also is a nationally recognized presidential historian, said each of the speakers will spend time with students while at KU.
Smith and the three speakers are regulars on PBS' "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."
Goodwin won a 1995 Pulitzer Prize for her biography of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, "No Ordinary Time." She also wrote "Johnson and the American Dream" and "The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys," which was made into an ABC miniseries.
Beschloss' books focus on presidents in times of crisis. They include "Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnson's Secret White House Tapes, 1964-1965," "The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960-1963" and "Kennedy and Roosevelt: The Uneasy Alliance."
McCullough won a 1993 Pulitzer Prize for his biography "Truman" and recently published "John Adams." Other books include "The Johnstown Flood," "Mornings on Horseback" and "Brave Companions." He also is host of PBS' "The American Experience" and narrated Ken Burns' "The Civil War" on PBS.
McCullough and Goodwin have already appeared at Kansas State University's Landon Lecture Series.
Though the first round of speakers features historians, future years could include former presidents, cabinet officials, journalists or others who work near the president, Smith said.
Meanwhile, Smith, who began work at KU in November, said work will begin soon on an oral history project on Bob Dole, the former Kansas senator and presidential candidate. A similar project on the history of Kansas politics also is planned.
He's also continuing to oversee building of the $8 million, 28,000-square-foot building west of the Lied Center. It will house more than 3,500 boxes of Dole's papers in addition to sponsoring programs.