Krista Tippett

Becoming Wise

Program Date: February 18, 2017

Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and 2013 National Humanities Medal recipient Krista Tippett has interviewed the most extraordinary voices of our time for her public radio program and podcast, On Being, thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence. On the air and in print, Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics, and moral wisdom—from scientists to theologians to poets and activists. Her most recent book, Becoming Wise, was driven by the search for recurring themes and qualities in the “lives of wisdom and grace” led by her guests.

In her address to The Forum, she offered some “encouragements” to guide us through what she views as an era of reformation, when we are reopening the fundamental questions of humanity and relationship we once thought were answered. She emphasized the importance of the impact of our words, the power of generous listening, and a daring to embody love as a public good.

Program BookTippett Program Book

The Belle Arte String Quartet performed before the program and during intermission.

Mark Webb, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Chief Legal Officer, Dominion Resources, the Lead Patron for the evening, welcomed Krista Tippett to Richmond.

Krista Tippett took the stage to address The Forum for the part one of the program. Dr. Victoria B. Saunders of Chrysalis Institute moderated the question and answer portion in part two.

Krista Tippett and moderator Dr. Victoria Saunders of Chrysalis Institute share a laugh. February 18, 2017.
Krista Tippett laughs during the question and answer portion with Dr. Victoria Saunders. February 18, 2017.
Moderator Dr. Victoria Saunders. February 18, 2017.
Krista Tippett answers audience questions. February 18, 2017.
Belle Arte String Quartet performs before the program. February 18, 2017.
Krista Tippett addresses The Forum. February 18, 2017.
Krista Tippett and moderator Dr. Victoria Saunders. February 18, 2017.
Krista Tippett addresses sponsors and patrons at a dinner before the evening's program. February 18, 2017.

I have seen that wisdom emerges precisely through those moments when we have to hold seemingly opposite realities in a creative tension and interplay: power and frailty, birth and death, pain and hope, beauty and brokenness, mystery and conviction, calm and fierceness, mine and yours.–Krista Tippett
It is hard to meet a simplistic question with anything but a simple answer. It’s hard to transcend a combative question or an inflammatory question. But I can state this positively that it is hard to resist a generous question.–Krista Tippett



I thought the topic and content were timely and relevant—and needed. I realized quickly that Krista’s presentation would require some work from me. That is, I had to focus and pay attention rather than sit back and be entertained. …The outcome for me was some great conversation with my wife and our guests, and some practical behavioral changes that I am implementing.–Subscriber Comment
I found this to be the perfect program for this point in time. It wasn’t an exciting barnburner, but a quiet fire whose gentle warmth was needed and welcomed.–Subscriber Comment


Krista Tippett Speaker Bio

Krista Tippett is a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and New York Times bestselling author. In 2014, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal at the White House for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence.” Presenting the honor, President Obama said, “On the air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics, and moral wisdom.”

Tippett grew up in Oklahoma, the granddaughter of a Southern Baptist preacher. She studied history at Brown University and went to Bonn, West Germany in 1983 on a Fulbright Scholarship to study politics in Cold War Europe. She was The New York Times stringer in Berlin and also reported for Newsweek, The International Herald Tribune, the BBC, and Die Zeit. Later she served as a special political assistant and chief Berlin aide to the U.S. Ambassador to West Germany.

She left Berlin in 1988, the year before the Wall fell. She lived in Spain, England, and Scotland for a time, then pursued a Master of Divinity from Yale. When she graduated in 1994, she saw a black hole where intelligent media coverage of religion should be and began to imagine radio conversations about the spiritual and intellectual content of faith that could open imaginations and enrich public life.

The radio show she developed—originally called Speaking of Faith—became a monthly series on Minnesota Public Radio in 2001, and a weekly national program in 2003. Now called On Being and produced and distributed by Krista Tippett Public Productions, a non-profit organization, the program is heard on more than 440 public radio stations and downloaded by millions as a podcast. On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? Wisdom and moral imagination is pursued as much as knowledge; nuance and poetry is esteemed as much as fact.

In 2007, Tippett published her first book, Speaking of Faith, a memoir of religion in our time. In 2010, she published Einstein’s God, drawn from her interviews at the intersection of science, medicine, and spiritual inquiry. Her most recent book, New York Times bestseller Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living confronts the central questions and challenges of this century. Maria Popova calls it “a tremendously vitalizing read—a wellspring of nuance and dimension amid our Flatland of artificial polarities, touching on every significant aspect of human life with great gentleness and a firm grasp of human goodness.”

Tippett’s two children are at the center of her life. She also loves cooking, radio plays, beautiful writing, great science fiction, cross country skiing, and hot yoga.

Victoria B. Saunders, Ph.D. Moderator Bio

Victoria B. Saunders, Ph.D., has served Chrysalis Institute over the past 20 years as a teacher and professional facilitator, specializing in spiritual development, consciousness, creativity, strategic planning, and women’s studies. She is currently chair of the Program and Development Committees and serves on the Institute’s faculty. Saunders is also a past president of Chrysalis.

Dr. Saunders started her professional career as global account sales manager for Digital Equipment Corporation. From DEC, she started her own independent consulting practice. Her clients included Signet Bank, Philip Morris, Virginia Department of Transportation, United Network for Organ Sharing, Leadership Metro Richmond, and LifeNet. Dr. Saunders has presented at several national conferences and has served as an adjunct professor for American University and Virginia Commonwealth University, teaching courses in Human Performance Improvement and Organizational Learning.

Saunders has a Master’s Degree in Jungian Studies from the Jung Institute in Houston and Saybrook University. She also earned a Ph.D. in Organizational Systems from Saybrook and a Master’s degree in Human Resources Development from George Washington University.

Dr. Saunders is also an avid reader, mediocre golfer, and proud wife, mother, and grandmother.


Recommended Resources

Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living
Krista Tippett, 2016

2016-2017 Season

Nate Parker
November 19, 2016
Krista Tippett
February 18, 2017
Ron Howard
April 22, 2017

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