Carlton ’63 and Lucille Sedgeley
Sedgeleys Endow New Arts and Humanities Speakers Series
“When you see and hear a person speak, you know what he or she is saying, even if it’s not in the words,” says Carlton Sedgeley. “People often convey meaning by how they speak as much as by what they say. Conversely, the written word communicates what you interpret, not necessarily what is meant.”
Sedgeley is an expert at pairing speakers with audiences. He is president of Royce Carlton, Inc., which he founded in 1973, and exclusively represents some 75 nationally known figures who are available for speaking engagements. They include Pulitzer Prize winners, news correspondents, authors, scientists, actors, and various thought leaders. “They are extraordinary people whose lives and work create special interest,” says Sedgeley.
Sedgeley is philosophical about the richness that such speakers bring to our lives. “It is one of the ways that we learn —like reading, traveling, good conversation—we feel broadened and enriched.” He describes listening to one of his clients recently, a poet whose depth of emotion and layers of meaning evoked tears in the audience. “We could feel his enormous strength and struggle,” Sedgeley recalls.
Sedgeley was mesmerized by a series of speakers including Margaret Mead, Aldous Huxley, and Norman Cousins, at the Springfield College 75th anniversary celebration, in 1960, when he was a student. “One of the extraordinary things about Springfield College is that it gave me the opportunity to discover and explore my interests. I had enrolled as a physical education major and decided it was not for me. I wanted to know more about myself, and I changed to psychology and sociology. The College accommodated my transition,” he says.
Early in his career, Sedgeley found his true calling while working in a lecture bureau in Boston, but was troubled by flaws that he saw in the industry. He went on to do extensive research on the industry and to found his own company with his wife Lucy. The new company had a more defined and transparent direction, which he hoped would make it successful. He also wanted to initiate changes within the industry. He wrote articles explaining to speakers and customers: representation and misrepresentation, fees, varying arrangements, shared expenses, buy and sell, and much more. He created a Uniform Lecture Contract with two associations that recognized rights of both speakers and customers. Today, the basic ideas and ideals still apply.
Recently, Sedgeley returned to Springfield College with his wife Lucy after an absence of many years. “There’s great value in what they’re doing here. educating young people who have decided upon careers helping others is noble. They’re more interested in giving than taking, and that’s not true everywhere,” he observed.
The Sedgeleys considered how they could enhance the educational experience at Springfield College by making possible more presentations by the same level of speakers that impressed Carlton as a student in 1960 and that have been lifelong sources of enlightenment, inspiration, and enjoyment for both of them.
Together, they have endowed the Carlton and Lucille Sedgeley endowed Fund to support the newly established Arts and Humanities Speakers Series at Springfield College. The fund will support at least one event annually, and more as its resources allow. The Sedgeleys believe that presentations of that quality would be well received on the campus because, “Springfield College people are engaged in the world—they care. We truly admire that.”