FDU brings Alan Alda to New Jersey for speaker series

 
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Above: Acclaimed actor Alan Alda enthralled his audience with stories and anecdotes from his acting experiences at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on October 30, 2014 as part of Fairleigh Dickinson University's New Jersey Speakers Series. (Photos by Michael Paras)
 
 
By Andrew McKay
 
The inaugural season of the New Jersey Speakers Series, presented by Fairleigh Dickinson University, continued on Thursday night with award-winning actor Alan Alda. Combining humor and charm with a talent for storytelling, Alda touched upon his experiences as an actor and shared memorable moments from his childhood.   
 
He opened his discussion with stories about growing up in the theater, watching his father from the wings of the vaudeville stage. “It was the best way to learn about theater,” he said, “seeing how to create the illusion for the audience.” His real education came from watching the comics on stage.
 
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From left: Florham Campus student Alexi Palmer; Alan Alda; FDU President Sheldon Drucker; Patricia Melloy, associate professor and chair of the Department of Biological and Allied Health Sciences; and Devon Sneed, a student at the Florham Campus.
He told the story of how his father had the family’s pet dog stuffed and displayed in the living room by the fireplace. “You can’t have your dog stuffed and keep him,” noted Alda, reflecting on this episode from his life later in the evening. “The past is the past,” he said. “The only thing we have is the present moment.”
 
The biggest laughs of the night came when Alda described the perils of fame. “We all have this experience when we meet someone famous. People lose their syntax,” he said, telling the story of an enthusiastic greeter who said to him, “You’re my biggest fan.”
 
Alda fielded audience questions about a variety of subjects including his character, Hawkeye
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Above: Alan Alda entertained the crowd at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Thursday, October 30. The New Jersey Speaker series continues with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on November 20. Tickets available at www.NJSpeakerSeries.org.
Pierce, on the TV show "M*A*S*H" and the show’s final episode, his work on "The West Wing" and "The Blacklist," as well as his mission to help scientists become better equipped to communicate effectively with the public. Steve Scott, news anchor for WCBS Newsradio 880 AM, one of the University’s media partners for the series, introduced the lecture and moderated the question and answer session.
 
Alda has been a staple on American television for more than four decades, earning 32 Emmy nominations and six Emmy and Golden Globe Awards. Well known for "California Suite," "The Four Seasons" and other movies, he was nominated for an Academy Award for "The Aviator."
 
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FDU media partner, WBCS Newsradio 880 interviewed Alan Alda prior to his talk at the NJPAC. Listen to the interview here.
From 1993 to 2005, Alda hosted PBS’s "Scientific American Frontiers." A recipient of the National Science Board’s Public Service Award, he is a visiting professor at and founding member of Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, where he helps develop innovative programs on how scientists communicate with the public.
 
The New Jersey Speakers Series continues with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on November 20, 2014, followed by former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (January 8, 2015), former Presidential advisor and current CNN political commentator David Gergen (February 19, 2015), Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough (March 19, 2015), and former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather (April 23, 2015).
 
The New Jersey Speakers Series, presented by Fairleigh Dickinson University, is sponsored by Hollister Construction Services, PNC Bank, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, WCBS Newsradio, The Star-Ledger and Prestige Automotive Group. The series is sold by subscription only. For tickets or information, visit www.NJSpeakersSeries.org, or call 1-888-MY-NJPAC or 1-888-696-5722.