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Presidential Lecture Series

The Presidential Lecture Series brings prominent speakers to campus for thought-provoking conversations around an annual theme. These events are free and open to the public. Since 2005, the Presidential Lecture Series has our community unique opportunities to hear diverse perspectives by hosting a wide variety of famous authors, actors, politicians, athletes, journalists, and activists.

At this time, no Presidential Lecture Series events are scheduled for the 2017–18 academic year.


Jonathan Capehart

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist
March 30, 2017

Mock Debate

Moderated by Alexander Heffner, The Open Mind (PBS)

Margaret O'Mara

Author, Pivotal Tuesdays
November 2, 2016

Dan Rather

Award-Winning Broadcast Journalist
January 31, 2017


Temple Grandin

Professor of animal science, best-selling author, and Autism activist

Tom Harkin

United States Senator from Iowa from 1985 to 2015 and Author, Americans with Disabilities Act

Amy Purdy

Model, actress, dancer, Paralympic bronze medalist

Maysoon Zayid

Actress, professional standup comedian, and writer


Steve Baskis

Advocate for disability by adventure exploration and adaptive recreation. SPC, U.S.

Laverne Cox

Emmy-nominated actress, television producer, transgender advocate

Nairoby Otero

Broadway actress, writer, producer, promoting solidarity among women

Steve Wozniak

Apple co-founder, designer of the Apple I and Apple II


LeRoy Butler

Former NFL player with Green Bay Packers, advocate for disadvantaged youth

Rocsi Diaz

Entertainment Host, Reporter and model
"It Takes a Village"

David Frum

Conservative Author, Former Presidential Speechwriter
"An Evening with David Frum"

Michio Kaku

American futurist, theoretical physicist and popularizer of science


Genevieve Chase

Founder and Executive Director of American Women Veterans

E. Gordon Gee

President, The Ohio State University

David Hodge

President of Miami University since 2006

Van Jones

American environmental advocate, civil rights activist, and attorney

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium


Robert Ballard

Deep-Sea Explorer and Discoverer of the Titanic

Daniel Hernandez

First Responder for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Barbara Holland

Community Transformation Expert

Mark Johnson

Grammy®-Winning Producer/Engineer

Arlene B. Mayerson

National Expert on Disability Rights Law


Ishmael Beah

Author and former child soldier from Sierra Leone

Kate Bornstein

Author, Artist, and Advocate for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws

Alison Gannett

Extreme Skier and Founder of the Save Our Snow Foundation

Robin Guenther

Sustainability Expert

Jim Hightower

America's #1 Populist

Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Award-Winning Journalist and Author

Andy Imparato

President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of People with Disabilities


Mary Frances Berry, Ph.D., J.D.

Author, educator, and historian

John Corvino, Ph.D.

Philosophy professor and "gay moralist"

Charlie Engle

Ultra-edurance athlete and humanist

James Fallows

National correspondent for The Atlantic and award winning writer

Peter Hancock D.Sc., Ph.D.

Expert on human-technology relations

Frans Johansson

Author of the bestseller The Medici Effect

Greg Mortenson

Co-author of bestseller Three Cups of Tea

Richard Pimentel

"Innovative Strategies for Employing Veterans and People with Disabilities"

Ted Rall

Nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist

Christopher Sacca

Former head of special initiatives at Google

JD Talasek

Director of Cultural Programs, National Academy of Sciences


Reza Aslan

Author of No god but God and expert on Islam

Ann Bancroft

Polar explorer, educator, and lecturer

Alison Bechdel

Author of Fun Home and award-winning cartoonist of the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For

Bertice Berry, Ph.D.

Best-selling author and entertainer
"An Evening with Bertice Berry"

Michael Bérubé, Ph.D.

Professor of literature and author of What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Angela Davis, Ph.D.

Feminist Scholar, Writer, and Social Activist

Stephen Dubner

Bestselling co-author of Freakonomics

Danny Glover

Acclaimed actor & producer, and leading social activist

Nicholas Kristof

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, New York Times columnist
"The World as I See It"


Elijah Anderson

Professor of Sociology at Yale University

Ahmed Ould Daddah

Member of Democratic Forces Party and Activist  
"Emerging Democracy in Africa"

Dr. Jared Diamond

Pulitzer-Prize Winner and Author of Collapse
"An afternoon with Dr. Jared Diamond"

Christopher Gardner

Self-made millionaire and author of the autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness

Cheryl Townsend Gilkes

Professor of African-American Studies and Sociology

Eddie Knowles

Vice President for student life at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Dr. Manning Marable

"An Afternoon with Dr. Manning Marable"

Tukufu Zuberi

Host of History Detectives and director of the Center for Africana Studies


Dr. Maya Angelou

Renaissance Woman and Writer

Harry Belafonte

Cultural advisor to the Peace Corps and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador

Richard Florida

Social theorist and public intellectual

Dr. Wangari Maathai

National Council of Women of Kenya and Pan African Green Belt Network.

Edward James Olmos

John Anson Ford Award Winner and national spokesperson. 
"We're All in the Same Gang"


Les Brown

Author of Live Your Dreams & It's Not Over Until You Win

Ruby Dee

"An Afternoon with Ruby Dee"

Mike Farrell

Humanitarian, Donald Wright Award Winner, and M*A*S*H Actor

Diane Nash

Founding Member of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Oliver Sacks

British neurologist, writer and Professor of Neurology

Roger Wilkins

Award-Winning Journalist and Civil Rights Activist