The Winter Park Institute (WPI) at Rollins College recently announced the schedule for its 12th season.

Each year, WPI brings preeminent scholars, artists, entrepreneurs, entertainers, writers, and world-renowned speakers to Rollins students, faculty members, and the broader community. Guests of the speaker series have won Academy Awards, Tony Awards, Emmy Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, Presidential Medals of Freedom, and a Nobel Peace Prize, among many other distinguished honors.

This season, speakers include human rights advocate Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jose Antonio Vargas, hall-of-fame golfer Annika Sorenstam, PBS Newshour Chief Correspondent Jeffrey Brown, two-term U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, and award-winning journalist Laura Ling.


Full season subscription (now available) is $125 per person, which includes a premium ticket to all six speakers, as well as:

  • 20% discount (all 6 programs for the price of 5)
  • Best seats available for all six speakers
  • Arts at Rollins Elite Discount Passport, with coupons to nearby shops, restaurants, and spas.

Individual tickets are $25 per person per program (available August 6, 2019)

Tickets can be purchased via the online box office or by calling the box office at 407-646-2145 between 1pm and 5pm on weekdays.


Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein
Global Challenges to Human Rights Today
September 17, 2019, 7pm
Tiedtke Concert Hall

Throughout his career, Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein of Jordan has been an advocate for human rights and peace initiatives. The former U.N. human rights ambassador’s humanitarian work includes international criminal justice, U.N. peacekeeping, post-conflict peace building, and counter nuclear terrorism.

Zeid al Hussein c/o Winter Park Institute

Jose Antonio Vargas
Migration: The Changing Landscape of Immigration, Travel, and America
October 17, 2019, 7pm
Warden Arena, Alfond Sports Center

Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and immigration rights activist. An undocumented immigrant from the Philippines, Vargas chose to reveal his powerful story in a 2011 New York Times Magazine essay. In 2013, he directed the CNN film Documented, narrating the details of his personal journey. With his 2018 memoir, Dear America: Notes from an Undocumented Citizen, and the Broadway play, What the Constitution Means to Me, Vargas has continued to share his story and champion the rights of other undocumented immigrants.

Jose Antonio Vargas c/o Winter Park Institute

Annika Sorenstam
Journey from Hall of Fame Golfer to Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
November 18, 2019, 7pm
Bush Auditorium, Bush Science Center

A trailblazer in women’s golf, Annika Sorenstam won more than 70 tournaments and was named LPGA Player of the Year eight times during her 16-year career. Her success drew increased attention to the women’s game and changed how the sport was viewed, played, and covered. Sorenstam has been just as successful off the course. The entrepreneur has founded a number of business ventures, including a golf course design firm, a golf academy, and a clothing line. She also established the Annika Foundation to encourage wellness and healthy lifestyles.

Annika Sorenstam c/o Winter Park Institute

Jeffrey Brown
On the Value of the Arts & Culture in a Global Community
February 18, 2020, 7pm
Tiedtke Concert Hall

Jeffrey Brown’s career as a distinguished journalist spans nearly three decades with the PBS NewsHour. As the show’s senior correspondent and chief arts correspondent, Brown has traveled the globe, profiling the world’s leaders in music, literature, art, film, and theater. He also hosts Now Read This, a monthly book club collaboration between PBS NewsHour and The New York Times. Brown is the recipient of many honors, including an Emmy.

Jeffrey Brown (credit: Daniel Sagalyn)

Billy Collins
Poetry, Painting, and the Condition of Music
March 4, 2020, 7pm
Tiedtke Concert Hall

Two-term U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins occupies a rarefied place at the intersection of critical and popular acclaim. Collins has won many accolades for his 12 books of poetry, and his collections have appeared regularly on The New York Times Best Sellers List. He has been honored with fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and he is the recipient of the Mark Twain Award for Humor in Poetry. Most recently Collins was elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts & Letters.

Billy Collins c/o Winter Park Institute

Laura Ling
Journey of Hope
April 7, 2020, 7pm
Bush Auditorium, Bush Science Center

Laura Ling captivates audiences with a candid look inside the life of an international journalist, including the importance of exposing critical issues, challenges faced in various parts of the globe, and what she learned about one of the world’s most reclusive countries. Her story provides a unique view into North Korea and what happens when outsiders interact with this nation’s people face to face. She recounts her violent capture, 140-day imprisonment, and fears that she might never see her family again, while also acknowledging the glimmers of compassion her captors directed toward her.

Laura Ling c/o Winter Park Institute

To learn more about the 2019–20 Winter Park Institute season, visit

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