The Stembler Lecture

Friday, November 6, 2015 -
4:00pm to 6:30pm



About the event

Movie industry executive John H. Stembler Jr.'s bequest created a $3.25 million ‘game-changer’ endowment for the Hussman School’s broadcast program. To honor Stembler's career in, and passion for, the motion picture industry, a speaker or panel event will be organized periodically at the School of Media and Journalism. The lecture will bring focus to topics related to the film industry to students, faculty and the Carolina community.

The inaugural Stembler Lecture on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, will help launch and publicize Stembler's $3.25 million endowment for the Hussman School's broadcast program. It will feature "Ant-Man" director and UNC alumnus Peyton Reed; Motion Picture Association of America CEO and former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd; and chairman and CEO of Georgia Theatre Company Bill Stembler.

In subsequent years, the lecture will explore the intersections between Hussman School focus areas of study and relevant issues within the film industry.

The launch event and following lectures will be coordinated, in part, by assistant professor Joseph Cabosky.



4 – 5:15 p.m.

The Stembler Lecture will feature "Ant-Man" director and UNC alumnus Peyton Reed; Motion Picture Association of America CEO and former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd; and chairman and CEO of Georgia Theatre Company Bill Stembler.

After keynote addresses by Dodd and Reed, master's student Sara Greer and faculty member Joseph Cabosky will join the stage for a Q&A session. Information on Greer and Cabosky can be found here.

5:15 – 6:30 p.m.

A reception for alumni and special guests will follow in the Park Library. Reservations are limited to two guests due to capacity.

The endowment

The John H. Stembler, Jr. Distinguished Professorship, Professional in Residence, Capstone Student Experience and Lecture will recognize and honor the significant contribution of John Hardwick Stembler, Jr. (1943 – 2007) of Atlanta, Ga.

Stembler graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1965, where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. From 1965 to 1967, he served as a U.S. Naval officer, after which he attended University of Georgia School of Law. He then spent a year in San Francisco with United Artist Distribution. In 1971, Stembler joined Georgia Theatre Company, where he was in charge of concessions and promotions. In 1991 he partnered with his brother, William J. Stembler, to found the Georgia Theatre Company II. Stembler later sold his interest in the venture and established Zota Theatres, which operated in Brooksville, Tampa, Vero Beach and Palm City, Fla.

Stembler was an Atlanta Rotarian for more than 30 years and an Atlanta board member of the Boy Scouts of America for many decades. Throughout his adult life, he was actively engaged in Variety, a children’s charity, and served as head of the Atlanta Club for a number of years. Stembler was an outgoing individual who enjoyed promotion of good causes, a skill at which he excelled.

Stembler had a love of history, the subject in which he majored at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He gave more than half of his estate to three charities. UNC was honored to be named a recipient of a significant portion of his estate, which was used to create the John Stembler Distinguished Professorship.

The endowment will provide funding in the immediate future for the following five inter-related initiatives:

  • Stembler Distinguished Professor
  • Research Associate Producer
  • Stembler Professional in Residence
  • Stembler Capstone Immersive Student Experience
  • Stembler Lecture