The latest Jefferson Series lineup will build on its history of featuring influential journalists and military leaders.

The 2017-18 series, which began in 2014 and is presented by the New Albany Community Foundation, returns Wednesday, Oct. 25, with Emmy Award-winning news anchor and author Charles Osgood.

On Feb. 1, Michael Hayden, Stanley McChrystal and Peter Pace -- all generals -- will participate in a panel discussion. The community foundation will welcome another famous general and statesman, Colin Powell, as the headliner of the annual A Remarkable Evening fundraiser Dec. 5.

The final series speaker will be award-winning journalist and author Elizabeth Vargas on May 9.

Previous military speakers have included David Petraeus, who spoke in April to wrap up the 2016-17 season of the Jefferson Series.

Given current global and national security issues, community foundation leaders thought the inclusion of military personnel would be well timed, said Craig Mohre, the organization's president.

Petraeus' event was one of the best overall the foundation has had, Mohre said, and having three generals together on the same panel should be interesting.

"It's rare to bring in three generals with the kind of credentials of these three," he said.

Hayden is the former director of the CIA and the National Security Agency, and McChrystal is the former commander of the U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, according to their biographies provided by the community foundation. Pace is a Marine who served as a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2005 to 2007.

Meanwhile, Vargas' presentation will continue a focus on mental health; in September 2016, she published a memoir about her struggles with anxiety and alcohol.

The Jefferson Series previously featured mental-health advocates Mariel Hemingway and Patrick J. Kennedy.

Although the topic can be a tough one, the series' emphasis on mental health, addiction and suicide shows that the New Albany community has committed to bring awareness to the subject, said Keith Berend, chairman of the foundation's board of trustees.

"To me, it's very remarkable that the Jefferson Series, being relatively new, relatively young, has been so broadly embraced by the community and beyond," Berend said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah