The Saurman Provocative Lecture Series

Have you been provoked lately?

San Jose State University Department of Economics presents the Provocative Lecture Series, a forum to raise intellectual arguments on a variety of thought-provoking topics, offered in memory of David S. Saurman, Ph.D., former Professor in the Department of Economics.

This lecture series fosters the tradition in higher education of challenging ideas and developing critical thinking in an environment of respect and intellectual discourse on controversial topics. Presenters in the Provocative Lecture Series are noted for their outstanding scholarship and public speaking ability; students, faculty, the general public, as well as the media are invited.

Our goal is to help students and life-long learners develop the critical thinking skills necessary to reach their own informed positions on controversial issues. We invite you to attend, relax, ponder, and enjoy the thought process at upcoming lectures. You can also enjoy viewing recordings of past lectures at the video archive.

If you would like to support The Saurman Provocative Lecture Series, please contact Colleen Haight at For information or to be added to our events list, please contact

Fall 2018 Schedule

September 27, 2018 (Thurs.) - Safwan Shah, Ph.D
CEO and Founder PayActive
Students will hear how an entrepreneur searched for and found a private sector way to ease financial burden on low income workers. His talk on PayActiv demonstrates the effectiveness of private market solutions to poverty issues and also the rigors of entrepreneurship!
Safwan Shah flyer (pdf)

October 10, 2018 (Wed.) - Adam Andrzejewski
CEO and Founder of Open the Books

November 6, 2018 TBA

Spring 2018

April 11, 2018 John Cochrane
“The Old Lady, the Fly and the Horse: an Outline for Economic Reform”
SJSU, Student Union Theater  |  5:15-6:45pm  |  Free and open to the public
John H. Cochrane, Ph.D. flyer (pdf)

March 20, 2018 Clark Neily
"Incarceration Nation - How America Became the World's Leading Jailer"
SJSU, Student Union Theater  |  5:15-6:45pm  |  Free and open to the public
Clark Neily flyer (pdf)

February 28, 2018 Jacob T. Levy
"Black Liberty Matters"
SJSU, Student Union Theater  |  5:15-6:45pm  |  Free and open to the public
Jacob T. Levy flyer (pdf)

View past lectures via the video archive