Forum History

In January 1964, the Richmond Public Forum was founded by members of the First Unitarian Church in Richmond, Virginia. Nationally and internationally known speakers who came to enlighten, educate and entertain Forum audiences included: Henry Kissinger, Shirley Chisholm, Ronald Reagan, Shana Alexander, Gerald Ford and Moshe Dayan, to name a few. In 1980 after 16 years in operation, the Richmond Public Forum dimmed its lights and closed its doors.

Ralph KruegerIn 1986, Ralph Krueger, who was involved with the original Forum, founded The Richmond Forum and incorporated the new entity as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization. Krueger believed that Forum programs should instill civic pride, relate to contemporary life, and challenge citizens to discuss and explore the political, cultural and economic trends and issues that affect our communities today. On January 24, 1987, The Richmond Forum presented its first program "The News and Newsmakers," with ABC News journalist Ted Koppel. Presenting nationally and internationally known speakers became the unique hallmark of the organization.

For thirty seasons, The Richmond Forum has been presenting the most engaging, influential, entertaining and educational speakers in the world to stimulate, inspire and inform 4,500 patrons at each of five programs every season. The Richmond Forum is increasingly known nationally for producing programs that are innovative, compelling, and often "one and only" events that can't be seen anywhere else. Because our patrons have become accustomed to seeing the best speakers in the world, they have high expectations for each new season. Speakers always know to bring something special to The Richmond Forum.

For a complete list of speakers who have appeared at The Richmond Forum over the years, click here.

To learn even more about our history, check out The Forum Files!


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