Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Ruckelshaus Circle Luncheon

The Ruckelshaus Circle Luncheon celebrates the Ruckelshaus Circle, a group of the Center’s most dedicated supporters whose annual commitments to the Center exceed $1,000. Lifetime Ruckelshaus Circle members have given more than $25,000. The Ruckelshaus Circle enables the Center to develop collaborative, durable, and effective solutions to complex public policy challenges.

2023 Luncheon

The 13th Annual Ruckelshaus Circle Luncheon was held on Monday, October 9th from 12:00 – 1:30 at the Hyatt Regency Seattle. The Luncheon featured a conversation with Valerie Jarrett, CEO of the Barack Obama Foundation. You can watch a recording of the conversation here.

Fall 2022 Luncheon

The 12th Annual Ruckelshaus Circle Luncheon took place on October 7th, 2022. The Luncheon featured a stimulating conversation with authors Timothy Egan and Shaylyn Romney Garrett about how America has come together before and can come together again. If you were unable to attend, you can watch a recording of the Luncheon here.

For 18 years, Timothy Egan worked as a correspondent for the New York Times. He is the author of nine books, including The Immortal IrishmanShort Nights of the Shadow Catcher, and The Worst Hard Time, for which he received the 2006 National Book Award. A University of Washington graduate, he lives in Seattle with his two children.


Shaylyn Romney Garrett is the co-author of The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again. She has been featured by the New York TimesNational Public RadioBBC Radio, and PBS Newshour. A Harvard graduate and former Peace Corps volunteer, she lives in Southern Utah with her husband, children, and dog. 

Spring 2022 Luncheon

The 11th Annual Ruckelshaus Circle Luncheon took place virtually on February 16, 2022. The Luncheon featured author Mark Gerzon and filmmaker Ben Rekhi of The Reunited States. Based on the book of the same name, The Reunited States focuses on individuals dedicating their lives to depolarization and inspires the rest of us to do the same. The film could not be timelier nor more in keeping with the Center’s mission.

With your continued support, the Center can bring together community members, business leaders, and government decision-makers to tackle complex, controversial public policy issues.

2020 Luncheon

Over 550 people attended the first virtual Ruckelshaus Circle Luncheon on September 11, 2020. The Luncheon celebrated the Center’s founder, Bill Ruckelshaus, by commemorating the EPA’s 50th anniversary. The Luncheon also featured Bill’s successors as EPA Administrator, Lisa P. Jackson and William K. Reilly, as they spoke about the Past, Present, and Future of Environmental Protection. If you missed the Luncheon, or would like to watch it again, you can do so here.

2019 Luncheon

About 400 people filled the Washington State Convention Center on September 13th, 2019 to attend the 9th Annual Chairman’s Circle Luncheon. The Luncheon celebrated Bill’s transition from Advisory Board Chair to Chair Emeritus. The Luncheon also featured Robert Siegel, NPR’s award-winning former host of All Things Considered, as he spoke about the importance of the media in an effective democracy. You can watch the Luncheon here. You can view the video that highlighted Bill’s career here.

With your support, the Center is able to utilize the expertise of our state’s premier research institutions to help community members, business leaders, and government decision-makers collaboratively tackle complex policy challenges.

2018 Luncheon

The 2018 Chairman’s Circle Luncheon was a remarkable event, featuring an engaging conversation with the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NIDC) about the current tenor of regional and national public dialogue. You can view TVW’s coverage of the Luncheon here.

Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Executive Director of NICD, is a leader in the field of deliberative democracy. She founded AmericaSpeaks, an award-winning nonprofit that promotes nonpartisan initiatives to engage residents and leaders in developing innovative public policy tools and strategies. She formerly served as Consultant to the White House Chief of Staff.

Mickey Edwards, NICD Board Member, is an award-winning professor at Harvard, author, NPR commentator, and advisor to many presidents. He served as a high-ranking Congressional leader for 16 years representing Oklahoma. Currently, he is Vice President of the Aspen Institute and Director of its Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership.

Dan Glickman, NICD Board Member, is a Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Congressional Program, a nonpartisan educational program for members of the U.S. Congress. He served as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1995 until 2001, after representing Kansas in Congress for 18 years.

2017 Luncheon

Over 500 leaders attended the 7th Annual Chairman’s Circle Luncheon, featuring the 66th US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. With your support, the Center raised vital operating capital that promises to strengthen and sustain the collaborative methodology that allows our government to fulfill its highest functions – fostering practical solutions to real-world challenges. You can watch the Luncheon here.

2016 Luncheon

Nearly 300 business, academic, and community leaders attended the 6th Annual Chairman’s Circle Luncheon, A Courageous Moment: The 2016 Election and the Future of America, which took place on September 7th, 2016. The Luncheon featured nationally-recognized speaker and policy analyst Dr. David Domke as he discussed the 2016 election and compared current social movements to those in some of the most defining eras in our nation’s history. You can watch the Luncheon here.

2015 Luncheon

On September 24th, 2015, the Center hosted its 5th Annual Chairman’s Circle Luncheon, A Bipartisan Blueprint for Civility & Democracy, featuring former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Trent Lott (R-MS). The Senators are Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform. In 2014, the Commission released a list of recommendations to improve the legislative process and overcome political polarization. Some of these recommendations include the creation of a single, nationwide primary date, the disclosure of all political contributions, and the requirement that all Americans 18 to 28 years old commit to a year of “service to their communities and nation.”

You can watch the Luncheon, including the Senators’ remarks and discussion with Bill Ruckelshaus, here.

2014 Luncheon

In September 2014, the Center hosted its 4th Annual Chairman’s Circle Luncheon, featuring former Prime Minister Tony Blair. He discussed the challenges and opportunities of global leadership. You can watch the Luncheon, including a conversation between Tony Blair and Bill Ruckelshaus, here.

2013 Luncheon

In August 2013, the Center hosted its 3rd Annual Chairman’s Circle Luncheon. The Luncheon featured former Senator Alan Simpson, a trusted bipartisan leader who President Obama trusted to co-chair America’s debt reduction commission. Simpson provided candid views on politics, the economy, and the hard and tough choices that lie ahead for American leaders.

Known for fearlessly confronting intractable issues, Alan Simpson most recently served as Co-Chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, a bipartisan group looking to erase the United States’ multi-trillion dollar debt. Simpson tackles the most controversial of topics on the national agenda, moving the country forward. You can watch the Luncheon here.

2012 Luncheon

In August 2021, the Center hosted the Second Annual Chairman’s Circle Luncheon, featuring Ronald Brownstein, author of The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America. Brownstein is the Political Director of Atlantic Media Company, publisher of the Atlantic. He appears regularly on MSNBC programs, including Hardball, Andrea Mitchell Reports, and Morning Joe. He previously served as a political analyst for CNN. Over 100 influential community leaders were in attendance for Brownstein’s engaging remarks on “Civil Public Discourse in an Era of Hyper-Partisanship.”

The Chairman’s Circle Luncheon was highlighted in a recent Crosscut article titled “How political polarization tied this country in knots.”

2011 Luncheon

In August 2011, the Center hosted the Inaugural Chairman’s Circle Luncheon, featuring renowned historian Dr. Douglas Brinkley.

Dr. Brinkley has written extensively about American environmental history. His writings include “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America” and the recently-published “The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom, 1879-1960.” He has also written about American leaders, such as Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Henry Ford. Dr. Brinkley spent two days interviewing Bill Ruckelshaus to create an oral history of Bill’s life and remarkable contributions to public service, corporate leadership, and collaborative policy.