A military analyst with the RAND Corporation and employee of both the Defense and State Departments, Ellsberg became an opponent of the war in Vietnam and came to national attention in the late 1960s for his role in releasing the Pentagon Papers. In 1980, Ellsberg came to UMass Amherst at the invitation of the university’s Distinguished Visitors Program to speak in support the Nuclear Freeze initiative on the state ballot.
One week after the massive No Nukes concert in New York City sponsored by Musicians United for Safe Energy, Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda came to UMass Amherst to deliver a fiery speech opposing nuclear energy and the political power of oil and gas corporations, and discussing the future of alternate energy. Hayden delivered the talk in Amherst.
Pauling presented a series of four lectures in April 1968 as part of the inaugural Martin Luther King Memorial lecture series under the title, Scientific discovery: its impact upon man.