Colin Powell. Barbara Walters. Jay Leno. George and Barbara Bush.

And now, Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager.

Sound like a Murderer's Row of celebrities? That's just a sampling of who's appeared at the Middlesex Community College annual Celebrity Forum.

This year's event, which takes place at Lowell Memorial Auditorium Friday, June 14, will feature the former first lady being interviewed by her daughter Jenna, who works as a correspondent on NBC's Today.

"I'm very excited about bringing in Laura Bush," said MCC President Carole Cowan. "We were hoping we could bring her earlier. And the fact that Jenna is coming with her adds another dimension to it."

No Published CaptionSun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our MyCapture site.
No Published Caption

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our MyCapture site.

The MCC Celebrity Forum, which is underwritten by the MCC Foundation and is managed by the MCC Advancement office, started in 1999, when famed broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite was interviewed on stage by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

"The Foundation's hope was that we could establish a signature event that would hopefully build our endowment and scholarships by bringing in speakers from broader communities," said Cowan.

Since then, the list of speakers has gotten more impressive every year, with other journalists (Chris and Mike Wallace, Robin Roberts), writers (David McCullough) and even former presidents (George H.W. Bush) getting involved.


"If you look at our roster of past speakers, you'll find we're all over the lot," said MCC Dean of college advancement Dennis Malvers. "It does get easier every year because the roster of past speakers that we can present helps sell the program."

MCC worked with Jenna to craft a guideline for a discussion that will touch on the family's life during George W. Bush's presidency, their reaction to 9/11 and the causes that Laura trumpeted as first lady such as literacy and human rights.

Carole Cowan with Walter Cronkite
Carole Cowan with Walter Cronkite

"I hope everyone will hear about her experiences in the White House and her passion about literacy -- really just have people get to know her," said Cowan.

After the discussion/interview portion, the program will conclude with a 15-minute Q&A with questions coming from the 70-plus sponsors that will attend the event. Malvers said that 65 to 80 sponsors purchase a table in any given year, including the program's presenting sponsor, The TJX Companies.

"We look to bring in people that are internationally known that can share their experiences," said Cowan. "We've never been disappointed, they all bring us a very interesting evening."

Cowan with Michael J. Fox
Cowan with Michael J. Fox

Tickets are available for $25 and $35 by calling the Lowell Memorial Auditorium box office at 978-454-2299 or online at

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Walter Cronkite and Doris Kearns Goodwin, 1999

"We started with Walter Cronkite because he was known as the most trusted man in America and he had a story to tell," said Cowan.

Tim Russert, 2005

Malvers said the former Meet the Press moderator was impressed with Lowell -- maybe even too impressed.

"We brought him to the Federal Building for a reception before the program, and he looked at the buildings and said 'Wow, this architecture is unbelievable! Can I walk down there to Merrimack Street?' I said, 'Tim, if we let you go now, we'll never get you back.' "

Geena Davis, 2006

"Geena Davis was a little surprise to our sponsors, who I think were expecting glitz," said Malvers. "We knew why we brought her was not because of Hollywood -- it was her organization, which advocates for the portrayal of young women and girls in positive roles in the TV and film industry."

Michael J. Fox, 2012

"Michael J. Fox came over and said, 'This was one of the most well-organized events I've ever experienced,' " said Malvers.

The only other event that even came close was probably the 1955 Enchantment Under the Sea Dance at Hill Valley High School.