Leadership in America

The advances that have positioned the United States as a world superpower have often been initiated in Virginia.

Our Leadership in America lectures feature a wide array of speakers addressing topics of military readiness, economic strength, medical advances, history, and cultural influence. The series will draw heavily from the intellectual talent of the Commonwealth.

2024 speakers:

Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 6:00 p.m.

Security Threats: Government and the Private Sector
with Guest Speaker Adam S. Lee

Adam LeeAdam S. Lee is Dominion Energy’s Vice President and Chief Security Officer.

Before joining Dominion Energy, Lee served as Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Richmond Division. In 2018, he retired from the FBI after a career spanning 22 years in counter-terrorism, counter-intelligence, and cyber operations, in addition to specializing in cases involving political and governmental corruption, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and antitrust violations. Lee previously served as the FBI’s Executive over its national Public Corruption Program, overseeing the FBI’s most sensitive criminal investigations involving elected and appointed officials across the spectrum of government. In 2022, Lee was appointed to serve a four-year term on the Governor’s Information Technology Advisory Council and, in 2023, appointed to the Secure and Resilient Commonwealth Panel.

Lee is a passionate supporter of our nation’s veterans. He serves as Dominion Energy’s executive sponsor of its Veterans Resource Group, and, in 2019, he was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Richmond Fisher House, now serving as vice chair, which supports families of veterans seeking medical care at the Central Virginia VA Healthcare System.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

D+80: Virginians in the Normandy Invasion with Dr. Clay Mountcastle

Mountcastle, ClayClay Mountcastle is Director of the Virginia War Memorial and a retired U.S. Army Officer. He is a 1994 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and holds a master’s and PhD in history from Duke University. Before joining the Virginia War Memorial, he served as Professor of Military History at the University of Washington in Seattle and as an Assistant Professor of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Lee (now Fort Gregg-Adams) Virginia.

Dr. Mountcastle will deliver a gallery talk and officially open our newest marquee exhibit about the significant role played by Virginians in the Normandy Invasion.



Wednesday, September 11, 2024

Patton’s Prayer with Alexander Kershaw

Alex Kershaw is the widely acclaimed, prize-winning, New York Times best-selling author of twelve books, including The Longest Winter and The Bedford Boys. Kershaw is the resident historian for Friends of the National WWII Memorial, a nonprofit based in Washington D.C., whose mission is to make sure that one of the most inspiring chapters in U.S. history is taught in as many Virginia high schools as possible.

His newest book, Patton’s Prayer tells the story of General Patton’s finest hours during the Battle of the Bulge.

Reservations open this summer.

Please contact our Development offices at 804-786-1482 or dthomas@vawarmemorial.org with any questions regarding these events.

View our past "Leadership in America" Speakers

Tuesday, March 14, 2023


Jan Scruggs – Founder of the Vietnam Wall

Jan Scruggs was a wounded and decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, having served in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade of the U.S. Army. He conceived the Vietnam Wall as a memorial for the healing of a different kind of wound—that inflicted on our national psyche by a long and controversial war. He has appeared on 60 Minutes, Nightline, Good Morning America and the Today Show as well as C-SPAN, CNN and FOX. He has written opinion articles for The Washington Post, USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Times and other national and regional publications.

An acclaimed speaker and author, Scruggs has written articles on a wide range of topics, including the Civil War and the battle of Gettysburg.


Wednesday, May 3, 2023


Alexander Kershaw

Alex Kershaw is the widely acclaimed, prize-winning, New York Times best-selling author of numerous books, including The Longest Winter and The Bedford Boys. His latest book tells the story of four men—all from the same unit—awarded the Medal of Honor for their courage during World War II.



Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Admiral James O. Ellis Jr, USN (Ret.)

Admiral James O. Ellis Jr, USN (Ret.) retired as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), located in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 18, 2012.

In 2004, Admiral Ellis completed a distinguished 39-year Navy career. His final assignment was Commander of the United States Strategic Command during a time of challenge and change. In this role, he was responsible for the global command and control of United States strategic and space forces, reporting directly to the Secretary of Defense.

A former Chairman of the Board of the Space Foundation, in 2018 he was appointed Chairman of the User’s Advisory Group to the Vice President’s National Space Council. He is the former Chairman of the Board of Level 3 Communications and served on the board of directors of the Lockheed Martin Corporation and Dominion Energy. Mr. Ellis has served as an Annenberg Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University where he also holds an appointment as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Management Science and Engineering.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023 


One Week in October

October 2023 marked the 40th anniversary of the Beirut bombing. 241 US Military personnel were killed in the Barracks bombing, including 220 Marines. The incident was the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima.

That same week, citing danger to the U.S. citizens in Grenada, President Ronald Reagan ordered nearly 2,000 U.S. troops onto the island, where they soon found themselves facing opposition from Grenadan armed forces and groups of Cuban military engineers who were in Grenada to repair and expand the island’s airport.

To commemorate this anniversary, the Virginia War Memorial Foundation premiered the new documentary film One Week in October,” produced in partnership with Blue Ridge PBS. The premiere in Richmond was accompanied by a panel discussion of the events with veterans who were there.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022


Philip Bigler – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: A Century of Honor

Bigler is a well-known author who has served as an official historian at Arlington National Cemetery. A dynamic speaker and instructor, he has been a featured guest on numerous TV shows and has provided historical commentary on the History Channel, CNN, CBS-Newsmark, Fox News, and others.




Wednesday, August 3, 2022


Dr. James C. Kelly – From West Point to the World: The Army Museum Enterprise

The Army Museum Enterprise holds 600,000 historical artifacts and operates 42 Active Army museums in thirteen states, Germany, and South Korea. Not surprisingly, the first U.S. Army museum was established at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1854. Kelly is a nationally-recognized museum curator, designer, and author. In addition to his work with U.S. Army Collections and museums, Dr. Kelly is the Army Museum Enterprise’s Chief of Museum Programs.


Wednesday, October 19, 2022


Rush Loving Jr. – Fat Boy and the Champagne Salesman

This new book (available in fall 2022) offers a compelling behind-the-scenes exploration of the road to World War II and the invasion of Poland by Hitler’s Third Reich. Focusing on the personal power plays within Hitler’s inner circle, Loving details the struggle for Hitler’s approval, long before the battle for Poland had begun. Loving, a former newspaper journalist and writer for Fortune magazine, is a leading American railroad historian.




Wednesday, November 9, 2022


Rosemary Gibson – China Rx

Millions of Americans are taking prescription drugs made in China and don’t know it–and pharmaceutical companies are not eager to tell them. During this “Leadership in America” Event, author and researcher Rosemary Gibson will take us through the rise of globalization and how that affects antibiotics, antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, cancer drugs, and many others drugs made in China and sold in the United States.

Rosemary Gibson is author of China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine. She has received the highest honor from American Medical Writers Association for outstanding contributions to reporting on critical health issues in the public interest.


Wednesday, October 6, 2021


Rick Atkinson – A Conversation with Al Broaddus

The author of seven narrative histories about five American wars, and of bestselling books such as The Long Gray Line, Crusade, and In the Company of Soldiers, Rick Atkinson has an encyclopedic grasp of America’s military engagements and knows “what it takes” to lead.

J. Alfred Broaddus, Jr., former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Army Veteran, frequent lecturer on monetary policy, and guest commentator on Bloomberg Television and CNBC will be our guest facilitator.