The Chesley lectures, made possible by a gift to Carleton’s endowment by Frank ’36 and Jean ’37 Chesley of Red Wing, Minnesota, bring to Carleton outstanding scholar-teachers from the selected disciplines for a series of classes, public lectures, faculty seminars and meetings with students.

The endowment is administered by the Provost. Our goal is to invite two Chesley lecturers to campus each year, but in some years we invite three.  Below is the yearly rotation schedule for the participating departments:

  • 2023-24 Biology and Computer Science
  • 2024-25 Physics and Neuroscience
  • 2025-26 Anthropology, Statistics, and Biochemistry (deferred from 2024-2025)
  • 2026-27 Astronomy and ENTS
  • 2027-28 Chemistry and Geology
  • 2028-29 Geology and Mathematics
  • 2029-30 Biology and Computer Science

The two departments or programs may elect to collaborate on a topic for the Chesley lectureship each year, thereby creating an opportunity to approach that topic from the perspective of two different disciplines. This is not expected or required for the lectureship, however. It is helpful for the departments or programs to coordinate with one another when determining the timing of their Chesley Lectureship speaker.

Timeline of activities:

Every spring the Associate Provost (Eric Egge) sends departments a reminder about the Chesley Lectureship and the rotation. In the year prior to the lecture, the designated department searches for and selects a Chesley lecturer. The department forwards the name and CV of the guest to the Associate Provost for approval. The CV should include current address, e-mail address, and phone number.

Once the Associate Provost approves the selection, the department contacts the guest to explore the guest’s interest in coming to campus, agree on the dates of the visit, as well as the activities during the visit (public lecture, class visits, faculty seminar, etc.). The Associate Provost then sends a letter of invitation to the guest with the honorarium amount, the dates of the visit, and the name of the point person for the visit. The administrative assistant for the point person will request that the speaker upload a completed W-9 form using our secure portal.  As soon as the details have been worked out the department’s point person or administrative assistant should inform Laura Theobald, Associate Director of Stewardship.

The Office of the Provost budgets approximately $12,000 annually for the Chesley lecture (including the honorarium). If you think you will need additional funds, please contact the Associate Provost.

The department will:

Six months prior to lecture

  • Arrange overnight accommodations for the speaker; this could be in the Alumni Guest House or a downtown hotel.
  • When planning the schedule it’s helpful to check the Campus Events Calendar to make sure that there aren’t any major events planned for the same time as your public lecture. This will help avoid conflicts and maximize attendance. Add the public events for your lecturer to the Campus Events Calendar (an informative heading, short paragraph about bio and lecture, name of funding lectureship, etc.). Consider putting the announcement on the departmental Web site.
  • Contact Campus Services to reserve rooms for lectures, workshops, or other activities. Be sure to ask the speaker about technology needs for the lecture.

As soon as possible, but aim for three months prior to the lecture

  • Work with the speaker to arrange travel to campus—flight, ground transportation, etc. Contact the Associate Provost for charge number.
  • Finalize schedule with lecturer and provide a copy to the Associate Provost and Stewardship.
  • Send the Facilities office a set-up request for each room reservation.
  • Contact Catering Services to arrange meals and select menus for events.
  • Contact PEPS to arrange for audiovisual needs.
  • Think about appropriate additional activities and set-up: possibilities include a book signing, classes with students, meals with department members and students, tour of Carleton or Northfield, etc.
  • Ask the speaker for permission to videotape the lecture for limited broadcast at the College or on the Northfield cable station. If the speaker gives permission, then make the appropriate arrangements with PEPS.
  • Reach out to the Stewardship Office with the lectureship date so they can notify the Chesley family.

Six weeks prior to lecture

  • Create an invitation list (with addresses) and print invitations for dinner to be held on the day of the lecture/performance (include members of the department, the President, Provost, and appropriate Associate Provosts; people inside and outside Carleton interested in the subject, as determined by the department). Notify the Stewardship Office when the invitations will be sent and send a copy of the invitation list to them at that time. The Stewardship Office will send invitations to the Chesley family and will notify the department if family members plan to attend.
  • Create the program announcement and posters. Be sure to use the full name of the lectureship: The Frank G. and Jean M. Chesley Lectureship.

Three weeks prior to lecture

  • Submit check request with completed W-9 form for the speaker’s honorarium.

Two weeks prior to lecture

  • Publicity: submit public event information to Carleton Today.
  • Confirm dinner arrangements: confirm final guest list, room reservation, menu and wine order, and facilities set-ups. 
  • Send other invitations for specific additional events.
  • The Stewardship officer should confirm Chesley family attendance at the events.
  • The Stewardship Office can assist in providing a one to two sentence background on the Chesleys and the fund for use in the introductory remarks for the lecture.

One week prior to lecture

  • Publicity: distribute posters around campus.
  • Send copy of speaker’s final itinerary to the Associate Provost and Stewardship office. Send two copies of printed materials (posters and handouts) to the Stewardship office and one copy of the same to the Associate Provost.
  • Confirm accommodations and transportation (flight and ground) for the speaker.
  • Confirm count for the dinner with Catering Services.

Notes for dinner: There should be some social engineering with a head table: Chesley family member, speaker, chair of the department, other most interested individuals. Nametags are suggested.

Other: If there is a book signing, the department should get an extra copy signed to give/send to the Chesley family.

Immediately after the visit

  • Mail check (honorarium) to the speaker. Make sure to reimburse the speaker for any relevant travel expenses (speaker needs to turn in receipts in order to be reimbursed).