In its ninth season, The College of the Florida Keys’ VIP Series presents new opportunities to educate, entertain, and enrich our community. The 2023 CFK VIP Series features speakers and performers of local, regional, and national prominence to share their visions, ideas, and perspectives on an array of topics. Three evening events will be held in the College’s Tennessee Williams Theatre. Tickets are $5 at the door; admission is free for CFK and Monroe County School District students.

The Truth about Iguanas in the Florida Keys

Dr. Douglas Mader, Veterinarian and Author

Tennessee Williams Theatre
The College of the Florida Keys (Key West Campus)
Thursday, January 26 at 7 p.m.

Dr. Mader will discuss the history and impact of iguanas in the Florida Keys and offer advice to help people with iguana control and disease prevention.


Coral Reef Restoration

Dr. Jason Spadaro, Mote Marine Lab and Aquarium Postdoctoral Scientist and CFK marine science instructor

Tennessee Williams Theatre
The College of the Florida Keys (Key West Campus)
Thursday, February 16 at 7 p.m.

Dr. Spadaro will explain why coral reefs are in trouble and how centuries of natural and human effects have degraded the reefs to the point where natural recovery is not likely. Fortunately, scientists, including Dr. Spadaro and his colleagues at Mote Marine Lab, are working to protect and restore the reefs. Dr. Spadaro will discuss the various methods that he and other Mote scientists are using to solve the complex problems of our coral reefs and help better understand what is necessary to preserve, protect, and restore our iconic coral reef ecosystems.

Pythons in the Everglades - What You Should Know

Dr. Douglas Mader, Veterinarian and Author

The College of the Florida Keys (Upper Keys Center)
Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m.

Dr. Mader will discuss the history and impact of the invasive pythons in the Florida Everglades. In his presentation he will also discuss how the pythons infiltrated the Everglades, how many there are, how to control them and what the future will hold for the delicate ecosystem.

Trucking’ – A Grateful Look at Cooking

Stephan Juliusburger, Culinary Faculty College of the Florida Keys

Tennessee Williams Theatre
The College of the Florida Keys (Key West Campus)
Thursday, March 30 at 7 p.m.

Chef Stephan Juliusburger will discuss the role of cooking and community in today's social communities. In his 20s, he was for six years, the tour chef of the Grateful Dead. Years later, he wrote his Master's in the sociology of food; from this came the unique positioning of food – its place, purpose, and how it resonates in all of us.

On Guard - 200 Years of the U.S. Navy in Key West

Dr. Cori Convertito, Adjunct Faculty CFK, maritime and Florida Keys historian, author, lecturer and museum curator.

Tennessee Williams Theatre
The College of the Florida Keys (Key West Campus)
Thursday, April 20 at 7 p.m.

Dr. Convertito will discuss the symbiotic relationship between the U.S. Navy and Key West extending as far back as 1823. For two centuries, both have journeyed through periods of menacing pirates, Civil War blockades and blockade runners, the coming of naval aviation, two World Wars, the Great Depression and Cuban migration. This talk provides a rare opportunity for attendees to recognize and appreciate the interlaced connection between each entity; Key West would not exist as it does today without the Navy, and the Navy would not exist as it does today without Key West. More than just a chronological interpretation of the relationship, the talk promises to explore several facets including the economic impact on Key West, the geographic importance of Key West and the Florida Straits, personal stories from naval service personnel and artifacts belonging to the naval service in Key West.