Skip to main content


Lecture Series
September 30, 2013

Neil Degrasse Tyson: 2013 Volpe Lecturer

Founders Hall was bursting at the seams while dozens more people watched on closed circuit TV in Callahan Center as Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium delivered the 2013 Thomas J. Volpe Lecture on September 30, 2013.

The astrophysicist spoke openly about the challenges and possibilities we face as a society. He urged a rededication to science in the United States, seeing a turnaround in attitudes and a more favorable opinion of science than in past years. DeGrasse Tyson pointed out that The Big Bang Theory is the most popular show on TV, "and the equations on the board are always correct."

He also pointed to the upcoming series Cosmos, which he will be hosting and will be on in primetime on Fox.

After the talk, deGrasse Tyson gamely signed books and posed for dozens of selfies with students and members of the community.

DeGrasse Tyson, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, was born and raised in New York City. The son of St. Francis graduate Cyril '53, he was educated in the public schools through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. Tyson went on to earn his BA in Physics from Harvard and his PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia.

Tyson's professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our Milky Way. He is currently working on a new version of the landmark science TV series, COSMOS.

The lecture series is funded through a generous gift from Thomas J. Volpe, Chairman Emeritus of the St. Francis College Board of Trustees and a former Senior Vice President of Financial Operations for The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc..

Guest speakers offer an international perspective in a variety of fields; from business leaders to world leaders. Past speakers include authors Frank Bruni, Pete Hamill, E.L. Doctorow and Salman Rushdie, Russell Simmons (Def Jam), Mariane Pearl (wife of slain reporter Daniel Pearl), Paul Rusesabagina (the real Hotel Rwanda hero), Lech Walesa (former President of Poland, Nobel Prize winner) and George Mitchell (former U.S. Senator, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, baseball steroids report).

The Neil deGrasse Tyson event is part of a week-long celebration by the College of the Feast of St. Francis. Learn more at

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City's five boroughs and beyond.


St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201

This site uses cookies

We use cookies to improve user experience and analyze website traffic. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies.