Past Lectures

*Indicates the lecture is available on DVD in the Cliff Alexander Leadership Library (2020 Armstrong Student Center). Most also available at King Library.


Katty Kay: The View from Outside: Insights on American Politics from BBC's Lead Anchor (Monday, September 25, 2017)

Jodie Sweetin: After Full House: Acting, Addiction, and Recovery (Monday, October 30, 2017)

Daniel Handler: Lemony Snicket's Bewildering Circumstances (Monday, February 19, 2018)

Reshma Saujani: Closing the Gender Gap in Technology: A STEM Path Forward for Girls Who Code (Monday, March 12, 2018



Dr. Bennett Omalu and Jean Marie Laskas: Concussion: Don’t Break the Rules, Change the Game (Monday, October 3, 2016)

As chronicled in the film Concussion (starring Will Smith), the pathologist Dr. Bennett Omalu became the first doctor to discover and identify chronic brain damage as a major factor in the deaths of some professional athletes in 2002.  Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) was discovered as a result of an autopsy performed on Mike Webster, one of the best Centers in NFL history. Dr. Omalu also was the first to discover CTE in military veterans diagnosed with PTSD.  CTE has become generally accepted and his findings have revolutionized neuroscience, sports medicine, all types of brain trauma, and the entire sports industry. 

Jeanne Marie Laskas, one of the most wide-ranging and appealing voices in contemporary journalism, has profiled everyone from Mr. Rogers to Vice President Joe Biden, to the lives of coal miners, cowboys, migrant workers and others whose work supports our day to day existence in her Hidden America. 

Her most recent book Concussion, New York Times bestseller, was published in December 2015 to coincide with the release of the Will Smith film of the same name. Laskas directs the writing program and is the founding director of The Center for Creativity, both at the University of Pittsburgh.

Bill Nye: Science Rules: Why Science is Cooler than Ever (Wednesday, November 16, 2016)

Bill Nye the Science Guy—engineer, scientist, comedian, author, and inventor—is a man with a mission: to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Nye’s wit and enthusiasm helped garner numerous Emmy awards for his PBS/syndicated series Disney Presents Bill Nye the Science Guy.

A few years ago Bill wrote his first book for a general audience, Undeniable – Evolution and the Science of Creation, featured on the New York Times’ Bestsellers List. He considers it a primer on the discoveries and principles of evolution. With this book and all his writing for children, Bill hopes to change the world.

He earned a degree in mechanical engineering at Cornell University, studying under Carl Sagan, and spent several years working as an engineer at Boeing and other places until he combined his dual love of science and comedy to create the Science Guy. He is the CEO of the Planetary Society, the world’s largest space-interest group.

Laura Ricciardi & Moira Demos: Making of "Making a Murderer" (Monday, February 6, 2017)

Filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos are best known as the creative duo behind the hit Netflix series Making a Murderer. They met in 2003 as graduate film students in New York City and two years later they started production on the show. Featured in publications including Variety and The New York Times, they have appeared on The Late Show with Stephen ColbertThe Daily Show, and numerous news, radio, and televisions shows around the world speaking about their work.

Previous to Laura’s career in film, she earned a BA in English and Government from Manhattan College and a JD from New York Law School. After clerking for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Hawaii and then working for the U.S. Department of Justice, she entered the private sector and practiced law in Chicago for 4 years. 

Moira holds both a BA in Women and Gender Studies and an MFA in Film from Columbia University. Prior to attending graduate film school, Moira was a documentary editor whose credits include the Academy Award nominated short Ferry Tales. Moira also produced and edited the documentary short Spring in Awe for which she won best editing at the 2004 Brooklyn International Film Festival.

Drew Dudley: Everyday Leadership: Leading with Lollipops (Monday, March 6, 2017)

Drew Dudley, the former Director of one of the largest university leadership development programs in Canada at the University of Toronto, nevertheless embraces the idea that “leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned.”

In Dudley’s current role as the Founder and Chief Catalyst of Day One Leadership, he works with organizations around the world to empower people to increase their leadership capacity. His clients have included McDonald’s, Dreamworks Animation, Proctor &Gamble, JP Morgan Chase, and over 75 colleges and universities. 

Dudley has spoken to over 250,000 people on 5 continents, been featured on The Huffington PostRadio, and, where his TED talk was voted “one of the 15 most inspirational TED talks of all time” and has been viewed millions of times around the web. TIME recently named the talk one of their “seven speeches that will make you a better leader.”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Beyond Black & White (Monday, April 3, 2017)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and a six-time NBA champion. He is also a regular contributing columnist for The Washington Post and Time Magazine where he shares his thoughts on some of the most socially relevant and politically controversial topics facing our nation today. His new book, Writings on the Wall - Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White, was released Fall 2016 and offers his personal perspectives on political issues facing America today.

In late 2015, his HBO Sports documentary, Kareem: Minority of One, debuted as HBO’s most watched and highest rated sports documentary of all time.

Currently Abdul-Jabbar serves as the chairman of his Skyhook Foundation whose mission is to “Give Kids a Shot That Can’t be Blocked” by bringing educational STEM opportunities to under-served communities through innovative outdoor environmental learning.  His first comic book series, Mycroft Holmes & the Apocalypse Handbook was released during Comic-Con in San Diego in July 2016 and continues to be a bestseller. His next book will be a memoir, Coach Wooden & Me – our 50 year friendship, set to debut June 2017.


Pete Rose and Paul Daugherty: Winning is Everything: The Hit King Talks Ethics in Sport (September 21, 2015)

Baseball legend Pete Rose’s fall from grace was a blow to baseball. “Charlie Hustle” began playing for the Cincinnati Reds in 1963 and was a legend with the most hits (4,256), games played (3,562) and at-bats (14,053). He won 3 World Series rings, 3 batting titles, was the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1973, and made 17 All-Star appearances across 5 positions. But, because of accusations that he gambled on baseball games while playing for and managing the Reds, he voluntarily accepted a permanent place on baseball’s ineligible list in August 1989. With Rose’s acceptance that there was a reason for the ban, Major League Baseball agreed to make no formal finding regarding the allegations.

Paul Daugherty has been a sports columnist in Cincinnati for 27 years, the last 21 years at the Enquirer. He has covered 5 Olympics, 15 Super Bowls and an equal number of Final Fours and World Series, as well as the Masters and US Open golf tournaments 20 times. In 2013, the Associated Press Sports Editors named him the best newspaper sports columnist in the country, and also selected him as best sports feature writer. Paul is the author of 4 books, most recently An Uncomplicated Life, a memoir of raising his daughter, now 25 and born with Down syndrome.

Pete RosePaul Daugherty

From left: Pete Rose, Paul Daugherty

Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi: #BlackLivesMatter: The Founders Speak (October 26, 2015)

An established community leader and performance artist, Patrisse Cullors raises awareness to law enforcement accountability through a unique blend of activism and art. In 2011, she developed STAINED: An Intimate Portrayal of State Violence, a traveling art piece exposing the realities of her incarcerated brother’s abuse by law enforcement; her successful awareness efforts led her to establish and serve as founder of Dignity and Power Now, an organization that fights for the dignity and power of incarcerated people, their families and communities. She is also the Truth and Reinvestment Campaign Director for The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

Alicia Garza is a social activist committed to challenging society to recognize and celebrate the contributions of all individuals. Garza’s activism is rooted in organizational strategies and visions to connect individuals and emerging social movements. Currently the Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Garza previously served as Executive Director of People Organized to Win Employment Rights, where she led the charge against the chronic police violence in black neighborhoods.

An established immigration rights advocate and community organizer, Opal Tometi’s passionate interest stems from personal experience, as the child of Nigerian immigrants. As the Executive Director at the Black Alliance for Just immigration, she is at the helm of the country’s leading black organization for immigrant rights. For her work building movements that bridge immigrant and human rights initiatives to the ever-growing black liberation movement, the Los Angeles Times named Tometi a “New Civil Rights Leader” in 2015.

Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi

From left: Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors

Caroll Spinney, Sonia Manzano, Michael Davis: The Role of Sesame Street in the Development of Cultural Awareness (February 15, 2016)

Innovation, optimism, knowledge and diversity are the values around which Sesame Street is built. Caroll Spinney has been Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969. Named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, he has been a puppeteer since he was 8 and his characters have been seen in 148 countries. Spinney has earned 4 Emmy Awards, 2 Gold Records, and 2 Grammy Awards. 

Sonia Manzano inspired children and families as "Maria" on Sesame Street for over 30 years. Named among the “25 Greatest Latino Role Models Ever” by Latina Magazine, she broke ground as one of the first Hispanic characters on national television. Manzano also won 15 Emmys as part of the Sesame Street writing team; she also wrote for the Peabody Award-winning children's series Little Bill. Throughout her career, she has continued to contribute to enriching diversity in all ways. 

Journalist Michael Davis, the executive editor of the Statesman Journal, of Salem, Oregon, was a senior editor and “Family Page” columnist for TV Guide, and has assumed an array of top editorial leadership and creative roles at newspapers, magazines and radio stations. The author of Street Gang, The Complete History of Sesame Street, he dedicated a year of service to Head Start, teaching disadvantaged pre-school children.

Carroll Spinney with Oscar the GrouchSonia ManzanoMichael Davis 

From left: Carroll Spinney, Sonia Manzano, Michael Davis

Wil Wheaton: Stop Hitting Yourself: Let's Talk about Bullying (Monday, April 4, 2016)

Wil Wheaton is an American actor, blogger, voice actor and writer, known for his portrayals of Wesley Crusher on the tv series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gordie Lachance in the film Stand by Me, Joey Trotta in Toy Soldiers, and for his recurring role as a fictionalized version of himself on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Leaving Hollywood in pursuit of happiness and a purpose, he discovered that he was, at heart, Just a Geek. Writing with honesty and humanity, he touched on his frustrations in finding himself, the launch of his successful website,, and the joy he's found in writing. Wheaton, an aficionado of computers, the Internet, and technology in general, is widely recognized as one of the original celebrity bloggers. Wheaton suffers from generalized anxiety disorder and chronic depression and supports mental health nonprofit organizations in raising awareness for these conditions.

Wil Wheaton

Wil Wheaton

2014 – 2015 Series

  • Tim Gunn: Fashioning Life’s Lessons (March 9, 2015)
  • Dr. Drew Pinsky: Addiction Can Happen to You (February 16, 2015)
  • Christine Brennan & Wade Davis: You can Play: LGBT Athletes in Sports (November 10, 2014)
  • Piper Kerman: Orange + Black = Gray: Injustice in the Criminal Justice System (September 29, 2014)

2013 – 2014 Series

  • Jose Antonio Vargas*: Define American: Let’s Talk About Immigration (March 17, 2014)
  • Mary Frances Berry, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, & Juan Williams*: Freedom Summer: the Voting Rights Act and the Political Realities of 2014 (February 24, 2014)
  • Jonathan Kozol*: The Shame of the Nation: Public Education Still Separate, Still Unequal (November 18, 2013)
  • Jack Hanna*: How We Can Better Share Our Planet with the Creatures Around Us (October 14, 2013)
  • Kari Byron & Tory Belleci*: How the MythBusters Made Science Cool Again (September 23, 2013)

2012 – 2013 Series

  • Neil deGrasse Tyson*: Science as a Way of Knowing (April 8, 2013)
  • Krista Tippett*: On Bring: Spirituality in Modern Times (January 28, 2013)
  • Rick Steves*: Europe Through the Back Door (November 12, 2012)
  • Becki Donatelli & Sam Graham-Felson*: #Voting: Social Media and the 2012 Election (October 15, 2012)
  • Jerry Springer*: Media Manipulation from the Master Manipulator (September 24, 2012)

2011 – 2012 Series

  • Geoffrey Canada*: Improving the Lives of Children, One Poor Child at a Time (February 27, 2012)
  • Sanjay Gupta*: Medicine and Media: Reporting on War and Disaster (January 30, 2012)
  • Armen Keteyian: Ethics Between the Lines: Is Integrity Gone From Sports? (October 24, 2011)
  • Peter Bergen*: 10 Years Later: How 9/11 Changed America's Place in the World (September 12, 2011)

2010 – 2011 Series

  • Soledad O'Brien*: Diversity: On TV, Behind the Scenes, and in Our Lives (April 4, 2011)
  • Bill Nye*: Consider The Following: Let's Get Cool with Science! (January 31, 2011)
  • Adam Richman*: Why We Eat, What We Eat, Where We Eat, and Why Culinary Anthropology Doesn’t Suck (November 1, 2010)
  • Jon Landau*: From TITANIC to AVATAR: Where is Technology Taking Hollywood (October 11, 2010)

2000 - 2010

2009 – 2010 Series

  • Edward James Olmos: Social Activism and Education : How We Become One Gang (March 22, 2010)
  • Cleve Jones*: Harvey Milk, the AIDS Quilt, and Human Rights (February 8, 2010)
  • Selena Roberts and Drew Rosenhaus*: Professional Sports: Are Fans the Losers? (November 2, 2009)
  • Robert F. Kennedy Jr.*: Our Environmental Destiny (September 21, 2009)

2008 – 2009 Series

  • Salman Rushdie*: At What Cost Safety? Today’s Moral Compass (March 23, 2009)
  • Dan Rather*: The First 100 Days (February 23, 2009)
  • Jonathan Murray*: Unscripted: The Real Story of Real World and Reality TV (October 27, 2008)
  • Elisabeth Bumiller, Larry Wilmore, and John Zogby*: Election 2008: How Race, Gender and Age Are Reshaping American Politics (October 6, 2008)

2007 – 2008 Series

  • James McBride*: Plain Talk: A Meditation On American Pop Culture (March 31, 2008)
  • Dan Patrick*: Athletes as Heroes: Are There No Role Models Anymore? (February 11, 2008)
  • Daniel Kindlon & Rossalind Wiseman*: Queen Bees or Alpha Girls: The State of Young Womanhood Today (October 29, 2007)
  • Dee Dee Myers & Scott McClellan*: The 2008 Presidential Election: An Insider's View (September 17, 2007)

2006 – 2007 Series

  • Bob Schieffer*: From The Anchor's Desk, Facing the Nation (March 5, 2007)
  • Kathy Reichs*: Forensic Anthropology: Crime Lab to Crime Fiction (February 12, 2007)
  • Gregory Maguire: Wicked (November 13, 2006)
  • Tom Daschle & Rod Paige*: No Child Left Behind: Is It Making the Grade? (October 16, 2006)

2005 – 2006 Series

  • Helen E. Fisher: Why We Love (March 6, 2006)
  • Brandi Chastain & Rick Riley: Is Sport Still A Game? Sports in US Culture (February 6, 2006)
  • Bebe Moore Campbell: Singing in the Comeback Choir (November 14, 2005)
  • Bob Woodward*: From Deep Throat to Iraq (September 26, 2005)

2004 – 2005 Series

  • Paul Rusabagina: Hotel Rwanda: A Lesson Yet to be Learned (February 23, 2005)
  • Edna Buchanan, Carol H. Clark, Matthew Pearl*: Who Done It? An Evening of Murder, Mayhem, and Literature (November 17, 2004)
  • Patrick Buchanan & Andrew Cuomo: A Debate (October 4, 2004)

2003 – 2004 Series

  • Carol Spinney*: The Wisdom of Big Bird and the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch: The Lessons from a Life in Feathers (March 30, 2004)
  • Ralph Nader & Alan Keyes*: Our Future-Whom Should We Trust? (February 9, 2004)
  • Gloria Steinem*: Feminism 101 (November 17, 2003)
  • P.J. O'Rourke*: All the Trouble in the World: If Things Have Been Going to Hell Forever, Why Haven't They Gotten There Yet? (September 23, 2003)

2002 – 2003 Series

  • Ben Stein: Better Than Ben Stein's Money: An Evening with Ben Stein (February 24, 2003)
  • Cornel West*: Race Matters (January 23, 2003)
  • Meave Leakey: Origins and Evolution: The Search and Discovery of How We Became Human (October 14, 2002)

2001 – 2002 Series

  • Dave Barry*: Higher Education: A Bad Idea or What? (March 5, 2002)
  • Lani Guinier*: Lift Every Voice (January 24, 2002)
  • Georgie Ann Geyer: Where is the World Going? (November 5, 2001)
  • Jean-Michael Cousteau: An Evening with Jean Michael-Cousteau (October 1, 2001)

2000 – 2001 Series

  • Pat Mitchell*: Social Responsibility & Business (April 2, 2001)
  • Brandford Marsalis*: Virtuosity and Excellence (March 5, 2001)
  • Frank Deford & Carolyn Peck*: Race, Title 9, and the State of Intercollegiate Athletics (February 5, 001)
  • Carlos Fuentes*: US and Latin America: Sharing a Continent (October 30, 2000)
  • Helen Thomas: The Presidential Election and the Media (September 27, 2000)

1990 - 2000

1999 – 2000 Series

  • David Halberstam: The Culture of Celebrity (April 3, 2000)
  • Jonathan Kozol*: Amazing Grace: Children and the Conscience of a Nation (March 6, 2000)
  • Morris Dees*: Teaching Tolerance (February 1, 2000)
  • Ralph Reed*: Values and Politics (November 15, 1999)
  • Robin Roberts*: A Celebration of Winning Women (October 4, 1999)

1998 – 1999 Series

  • Lech Walesa*: Value and It's Role in Politics (March 29, 1999)
  • Barry Scheck*: DNA Evidence: The Innocence Project (January 26, 1999)
  • Karen Armstrong: A History of God (November 2, 1998)
  • Robert D. Ballard*: Living the Dream: Deep Space Exploration (September 22, 1998)

1997 – 1998 Series

  • Bob Beckel & Tony Snow*: A Debate: Clinton and the New Congress--Leading Up to Battleground 2000 (February 25, 1998)
  • Ronald Takaki*: A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural Earth (January 26, 1998)
  • Gloria Steinem: The Revolution from Within (October 28, 1997)
  • Alice Walker*: The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult (September 30, 1997)

1996 – 1997 Series

  • Dr. Robert Grant & Tim Riley*: A Censorship Debate (March 26, 1997)
  • George Stephanopoulos: A View From Washington (March 4, 1997)
  • Gregory Nava: The Latino American Experience in America (February 4, 1997)
  • Ralph Nader & Richard Thornburgh: Consumer vs. Corporate America-Who's Got the Power? (November 18, 1996)
  • Joyce Poole*: Coming of Age with Elephants (October 15, 1996)

1995 – 1996 Series

  • Marlin Fitzwater: The 1996 Elections (April 10, 1996)
  • Dr. M Jocelyn Elders: The Future of Healthcare Reform (March 11, 1996)
  • Captain James Lovell: Apollo 13: A Successful Failure (February 13, 1996)
  • Greg Louganis*: Breaking the Surface (November 9, 1995)
  • Linda Chavez & Julianne Malveaux: Debate on Affirmative Action (September 27, 1995)

1994 – 1995 Series

  • Philip Roth: Patrimony (April 5, 1995)
  • Wendy Wasserstein*: A Life in the Theater (February 28, 1995)
  • Dr. Jean Kilbourne: Deadly Persuasion: Advertising & Addiction (November 14, 1995)
  • Randall Robinson*: US Foreign Policy in Haiti (October 26, 1994)
  • Edward James Olmos: We're All in the Same Gang (September 20, 1994)

1993 – 1994 Series

  • Jamie Escalante: Ganas: Desire to Learn is What Counts (February 11, 1994)
  • P.J. O'Rourke (November 17, 1993)
  • Jean-Michael Cousteau: Rediscovery of the World (November 9, 1993)
  • Joseph Steffan: A Gay American Fights for the Right to Serve his Country (October 14, 1993)
  • Nadine Stossen: Controversies and the Constitution (September 13, 1993)

1992 – 1993 Series

  • Naomi Wolf (March 9, 1993)
  • Wilma Mankiller* (February 16, 1993)
  • Scott Turow: My Life in Letters (November 11, 1992)
  • William Bennet: Our Children & Our Country: Challenges to America in Education (October 12, 1992)

1991 – 1992 Series

  • Angela Y. Davis*: Part 1: The Legacy of Columbus and the Future of South Africa (March 6, 1992)
  • Robert Kennedy Jr.: Our Environmental Destiny (February 24, 1992)
  • William F. Buckley: Reflections on Current Contentions (November 6, 1991)
  • Christie Hefner: Marketing in the 90's: Where are the Opportunities? What are the Challenges? (September 30, 1991)

1990 -1991 Series

  • Gary Shepard: Beijing, Baghdad, and Beyond (April 15, 1991)
  • Margaret Atwood: A Poet's Voice-A Reading with Commentary (February 5, 1991)
  • Elie Wiesel: An Evening with Elie Wiesel (November 7, 1990)
  • William Rusher & Nat Hentoff: A 1st Amendment Debate (October 3, 1990)

1984 - 1990

1989 – 1990 Series

  • Cicely Tyson: A Tribute to the Civil Rights Movement (March 6, 1990)
  • Stanislov Levchenko: Inside the KGB (February 7, 1990)
  • Frank Borman: The Future of Aviation (November 7, 1989)
  • Susan Sontag: Illness as Metaphor (October 10, 1989)

1988- 1989 Series

  • Kurt Vonnegut, Jr: How to Get a Job Like Mine (March 29, 1989)
  • Richard E. Leakey: The Origins of Mankind (February 13, 1989)
  • Shirley Chisholm: Of Course Women Dare (November 1, 1988)
  • Mike Farrell: An Exchange of Views (September 27, 1988)

1987 – 1988 Series

  • John Kenneth Galbraith: An Evening with John Kenneth Galbraith (April 7, 1988)
  • Dale Can Atta: Scandals, Scoundrels, and Saints: News Behind the Headlines (March 1, 1988)
  • Gloria Steinem: Women of the Eighties: The Second Wave (October 12, 1987)
  • Henry G. Cisneros: Survival of the American Cities in the 1980s (September 22, 1987)

1986 – 1987 Series

  • Tom Wolfe: An Evening with the Author (April 14, 1987)
  • Dumisani Kumalo & Donald Woods: Personal Experiences in South Africa (February 4, 1987)
  • Dr. Joyce Brothers: Unlocking Your Hidden Powers-The Key to Success (October 21, 1986)

1985 – 1986 Series

  • Ralph Nader: Consumer Issues of the 80s (April 9, 1986)
  • Simon Wiesenthal: Murders Among Us: Consequences of the Holocaust (November 13, 1985)
  • Judith Crist: Mad About the Movies (October 8, 1985)

1984 – 1985 Series

  • Anne Burford: Inside the EPA (April 9, 1985)
  • Joshua Logan: Life in the Theater with Joshua Logan (February 13, 1985)
  • Richard Reeves: 1984: The Year of Voting Dangerously (November 14, 1984)
  • Sir Harold Wilson: International Dimension of American Foreign Policy (October 1, 1984)