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    New name, still unique(sci)

    New name, still unique
    (Original publication: January 2, 2003)

    The lectern is miked and polished, and Purchase College is ready to welcome its annual roster of five female celebrity speakers. The Journal News Life&Style Lecture Series, formerly Unique Lives & Experiences, kicks off later this month with another program featuring well-known women sharing their stories of hardship and accomplishment.

    This year, the guests include an Oscar-winning actress who is also a best-selling author, an activist whose life story inspired a blockbuster film, an inspirational Hollywood wife, one of the world's leading feminists and a groundbreaking tennis champion. Each speaker's talk is followed by a casual question-and-answer session.

    The program launches Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the college's Performing Arts Center. That evening's speaker will be Shirley MacLaine, who is perhaps as well known for her New Age views as for her work in more than 50 films including her Academy Award-winning role in 1983's "Terms of Endearment." MacLaine - the sister of actor Warren Beatty - will also talk about her recent 500-mile journey across northern Spain, which she detailed in a best-selling book, "The Camino."

    The series' other guests:

    • Erin Brockovich: This feisty, bra-baring mother of three became a household name when Julia Roberts played her on the big screen. The movie that won Roberts a best-actress Oscar was based on Brockovich's fight to help the residents of Hinkley, Calif., win a $333-million lawsuit claiming that a utility company contaminated the area's groundwater. Feb. 24.

    • Dana Reeve: Since a 1995 riding accident left her husband, Christopher Reeve, paralyzed from the neck down, Pound Ridge resident Dana Reeve has become a tireless speaker and fund-raiser for spinal-cord injury research. March 10.

    • Gloria Steinem: As an author and founder of Ms. magazine, Steinem has championed women's rights for more than three decades. April 23.

    • Billie Jean King: A legendary athlete, King won 71 singles titles - including 20 at Wimbledon . She fought for gender equality in sports throughout her lengthy tennis career, and won the famous "Battle of the Sexes" match against Bobby Riggs in 1973. May 21.

    Since 1993, this lecture series has brought some of the world's most inspiring women to Westchester County and to at least 20 cities across the country.

    Tickets to the series are sold only by subscription; prices range from $209 to $249. For more information, call the Performing Arts Center box office at 914-251-6200.