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Professor Ed Larson Leads 8th Annual William French Smith Lecture


Professor Edward J. Larson, winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in History and Hugh and Hazel Darling Chair in Law and professor of history at Pepperdine University, will discuss his recent bestselling book, The Return of George Washington, 1783-1789, in a lecture titled "Searching for George Washington." The event will take place Thursday, April 30, at 6 PM at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.

Conventional wisdom has our nation's founder in chief, George Washington, moving almost seamlessly from leading the American Revolution to the presidency. Drawing on his best-selling new book The Return of George Washington, Larson will take the audience on an informal and entertaining conversation journaling Washington's unexplored journey from his retirement as commander in chief to becoming president, a job he never wanted.

Larson is University Professor of History and the Darling Chair in Law at Pepperdine University, and the recipient of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in History. Larson has taught at Stanford University, the University of Melbourne, and for 20 years at the University of Georgia, serving as chair of its history department. The author of nine books and over 100 published articles, Larson’s expertise is on issues of law, science, and politics from a historical perspective. His latest book, The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789, was published in 2014. He has held many prestigious academic and professional honors, including the Fulbright program’s John Adams Chair in American Studies, serving as an inaugural Fellow at the Fred W. Smith Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, and an honorary doctorate from Ohio State University in 2004, among others. Larson earned a BA from Williams College, a JD from Harvard University, and his PhD in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

This event, cosponsored by the Los Angeles chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, is in honor of the life and accomplishments of William French Smith, and is made possible by the generosity of the Los Angeles chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers and the William French Smith family. 

William French Smith (1917-1990) served as the 74th Attorney General of the United States (1981-1985). In so many ways, he was the embodiment of rectitude and integrity. A towering figure in the Los Angeles legal community, this learned and gentle man was the loving husband of the elegant Jean Webb Smith and the father of four children whose lives honor their father’s memory. Bill brought his mature insight and stature to his work as attorney general, refashioning antitrust law and advancing President Reagan's efforts to streamline government regulation.

The Pepperdine School of Law, where Smith served on the Board of Visitors, is honored to pay tribute to his memory and service through this annual lecture series.

​This lecture was made possible through the generosity of numerous donors, including lecture benefactors.

For more information, and to register, visit the School of Law website.