Three people smiling


Mission Statement

The Alan B. and Charna Larkin Symposium on the American Presidency is made possible through the generosity of the Larkin family, which established an endowment in 2004 to support the study of the American presidency at FAU.

Alan B. LarkinThe symposium honors the memory of Alan B. Larkin, a publisher of trade magazines for the fashion industry, a member of the local community, and the father of three children. Alan loved history and collected original signed letters from every American president, from George Washington to George W. Bush.

The annual symposium aims to keep Alan Larkin’s passion for history alive by exploring the role of the presidency in shaping political, cultural, and social developments in American life. Past symposia have featured lectures by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, noted journalists Helen Thomas, David Halberstam, Eugene Robinson, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as well as some of the country’s top historians including David McCulloch, Mary Frances Berry, Michael Beschloss, Brian Balogh, and Mark Neely, Jr.

In February 2008, the symposium co-sponsored "Join It! Civic Engagement Week at FAU". Over 4,000 students participated in civic week events, including voter education workshops, a student voter registration drive, a "Rock the Vote" rally, a visit by the C-Span "Campaign 2008" bus, three student contests, a mock presidential debate by FAU students, and a performance by Comedy Central’s "Indecision 2008." For its contribution in promoting civic understanding, the Larkin Symposium was honored to receive the George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.In 2014, the symposium co-sponsored with the FAU Student Government Association a public screening of “All the President’s Men,” which featured an introduction and commentary by Dr. Timothy Naftali, former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. In 2015, the symposium co-sponsored an exhibit in the Wimberly Library titled “Remembering World War Two at 70,” which also featured a lecture by Dr. Wilson Miscamble of Notre Dame. In 2018, the symposium took advantage of having Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Eugene Robinson on campus and hosted a luncheon for students and faculty associated with the University Press.

Image above: David McCullough, Charna Larkin; Stephen Engle