Hale Speaker Series



The season will kickoff with the director of the Westfield Memorial Library, Allen McGinley, who assumed his post in 2021, will discuss “Re-Inventing our Library for the 21 st Century,” and focus on his vision for moving beyond today’s stereotypes of public libraries’ offerings. His talk is slated for Wednesday, March 15, at 7 p.m. at the library, 550 East Broad St., Westfield.

Three Westfield residents are listed as the other speakers during the year, according to an announcement by Hale Series chairman Linnea Rhodes.

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi will be the May 17 speaker on “Women in Office—Getting There and Staying There.” In addition to her own role in politics, including serving at one time as Springfield mayor, Rajoppi is highly regarded as an author and historian.

Joe Vaszily, a CPA with two decades in sales and investment banking, has served as a referee for NCAA Division 1 women’s basketball for 24 years. His assignments include officiating at the last nine Final Fours for the division. His Sept. 20 talk is titled “From the Trading Floor to the College Hardwoods.”

Veteran Wall Street Journal editor Jay Hershey is scheduled to speak Nov. 1 on “A Career in News—Thrills, Chills and Ink Spills.” He will discuss change and permanence in the news industry and its impact on residents in a small town.

The programs also can be viewed on the Friends’ YouTube channel fwmlnj.

About the Hale Speaker Series

The Anne M. Hale Speaker Series was established in 2007 with a grant from The Thomas Glasser Foundation to the Friends of the Westfield Memorial Library.  The grant came with a request that the Friends establish an ongoing program in memory of Anne M. Hale.  Anne was an active member of the Westfield community and a lifelong patron of the library.  Lee Hale worked with the Friends to establish a speaker series in his wife’s name.  Additional grants from The Thomas Glasser Foundation and from The Anne and Lee Hale Fund have enabled the series to grow from one speaker in 2008 to four speakers in 2010 through the present.  The focus of the series has also evolved to feature “the Westfield connection” presenting topics relevant to our town and/or speakers who are or have been Westfield residents. Over the years, the speakers have included individuals from varied backgrounds in sports, politics, the arts, local history, etc. with most having strong ties to Westfield.

In 2013 the series was renamed The Anne and Lee Hale Speaker Series to honor the passing of its creator and guiding force, Lee Hale.  The name of the series was shortened to the Hale Speaker Series in 2015.  The popularity of the series, hosted by the Friends, has grown over the years as the community looks forward to its prestigious speakers and their high quality, thought-provoking presentations.