The Patricia Nichols Lectureship presents contemporary French thought leaders in French arts and letters. The Lectureship takes its name from Patricia G. Nichols—20th century business woman, equestrian, and educator—who immersed herself lifelong in French arts and literature. She cherished French literary realism and naturalism with particular joy in the works of Flaubert and Zola. Her values were honorable, humane and enduring. She developed future leaders for a complex world who understand linguistic and cultural differences. She will be remembered for her unconditional support of emerging talent and her passion for the quintessential mot juste.
The Lectureship is presented through the generosity of the Bradt Family Fund. The Fund is an endowment of the Sweet Briar College Junior Year in France (SBCJYF) which supports multi-disciplinary lectures and receptions in France with contemporary French thought leaders. These activities, offered during the academic year, are intended to advance mutual understanding between members of the university community—notably the students of the SBCJYF, University of Paris, and alumni of these institutions.
The first Patricia Nichols inaugural lecture was delivered by Philippe Labro in March, 2011. Philippe Labro, is a French author, journalist and film director. He has worked for RTL, Paris Match, TF1 and Antenne 2. He is a laureate of the Prix Interallié, a French literary distinction founded in 1930, which was awarded for «L’Étudiant étranger» in 1986.
At eighteen years, he left to study at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. He then traveled across all of the United States. On his return to Europe, he became a reporter. From 1960 to 1962 during the Algerian war, Labro was a member of the military. He returned to his journalistic activities following his time in the military. He has written and directed many films, and was a close friend of Jean-Pierre Melville, as he recalls in the 2008 documentary Code Name Melville. From 1985 to 2000, he directed the programs on RTL becoming the vice president of the station in 1992. In April 2010, he became Commander of the Légion d’honneur.