* Branford Marsalis, national recording artist and noted saxophonist and composer, conducted an informal rap session with students in early September. Marsalis and his band "Buckshot LeFonque" performed in Utica that evening.
* Albert Murray, distinguished American novelist, cultural critic and blues scholar, spoke on Faulkner's legacy as part of the Faulkner centenary observance in September.
* Ping Chong, a former Guggenheim Fellow and multi-media artist opened the 1997-98 Performing Arts Series in October, with After Sorrow, a dance theatre work in which he and fellow performer Muna Tseng probe what it means to be Chinese in America.
* Oliver North, decorated combat Marine, member of the National Security Council Staff under Ronald Reagan and prominent Iran-Contra figure, spoke on Conservatism in the 21st Century in November.
* Morris Dees, civil rights lawyer and co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center lectured on hate speech in America and his educational project "Teaching Tolerance" in November.
* Urvashi Vaid, director of the Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and author of Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation visited in December. She met with students and lectured on the conditional acceptance of gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the U.S.
* Peter Edelman, former assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services and professor of law at Georgetown University shared some of his thoughts on the current welfare law and the connection between welfare and poverty in February.
* Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance, visited in February and conducted a slide presentation and spoke on the most significant public health issues in the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.
* Kathryn Edin, professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of Making Ends Meet: How Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low-Wage Work met with students and lectured on how the current welfare law impacts on the daily lives of single mothers on welfare.
* Yevgeny Yevtushenko, renowned Russian poet, former member of the Soviet parliament and author of 18 books, including Don't Die Before You're Dead, read from his many works in English and Russian to a captivated audience in March.
* F.W. De Klerk, South Africa's last president under apartheid and co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 was the Great Names Speaker in April. De Klerk, along with Nelson Mandela, played a major role in initiating the reforms that marked the end of apartheid and white minority rule in South Africa.
* Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and author of Angels in America spoke on The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism in April. Kushner was the guest of the Tolles lecture series.
* Frank Foster, well-known jazz saxophonist, composer/arranger and former member of The Count Basie Orchestra, conducted a master class and played with students in an informal concert in early April.
* Kathryn Sullivan, former shuttle astronaut, first woman to walk in space and president and CEO of the Ohio Center for Science and Industry delivered the 1997-98 James Plant lecture, The Ups and Downs of an Oceanographer Astronaut, in April.
* Octavia Butler, science fiction novelist and recipient of the MacArthur Foundation "genius award" in 1995, read from her new fiction at the end of April.
* Terrence Brooks `66, New York Times best-selling author returned to his alma mater in early May to speak and meet with students and faculty. His first book, The Sword of Shannara, was started while he was a student at Hamilton, and he is currently working on "novelization" of Star Wars IV.
* Edward C. Taylor `46, widely celebrated organic chemist, author of more than 450 scientific papers and holder of 48 U.S. patents returned to College Hill for a talk in early May.
* Jessica Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the organization founded by Hamilton statesman Elihu Root, delivered the Commencement address in May.