Distinguished Speaker Series

The Distinguished Speaker Series engages students and university members in relevant, thought-provoking discussions of a diverse range of issues that impact our lives and our communities.

Each year, the Speaker Series brings prominent activists, artists, entrepreneurs, scientists, environmentalists and other leading thinkers to campus to share their compelling stories and visionary ideas.

These high profile speakers offer innovative learning experiences in the form of new concepts, diverse opinions, interesting insights and unusual perspectives that enhance awareness, encourage solutions and enhance student success and global competency. Question and answer sessions at events stimulate critical thinking and allow the free exchange of ideas.

The Distinguished Speaker Series encourages participants to become engaged citizens and leaders who inspire transformation and will be voices of change for future generations.

2016-2017 Distinguished Speakers Series lineup:

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Student Center Ballroom
3 p.m.
Dr. Bennet Omalu brings to the stage a rare combination of humility and fervor, as he shares his story of going from humble beginnings in war-torn Nigeria to becoming one of the biggest disrupters in the history of sports and medicine. He details the challenges he faced taking on the NFL and other top US franchises to ensure that the truth, and risk, of chronic brain damage was known, understood, accepted and, at all costs, prevented. He also discusses the biases and obstacles he overcame as an African immigrant staunchly committed to studying medicine in the U.S. and rising to the top of his field, despite all odds.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Student Center Ballroom
3 p.m.
Donna Brazile, chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, and Margaret Hoover, a Republican strategist and great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover, will be talking about the political climate and hot-button issues that are leading up to the General Election in November.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Student Center Ballroom
3 p.m.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are the men behind one of the most talked-about and least conventional success stories in American business. Founders of Ben and Jerry’s Homemade, Inc., they built a storefront venture into an ice cream and business phenomenon by harnessing the power of social responsibility and creative management.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Student Center Ballroom
3 p.m.
Nationally recognized as an authority on juvenile and social issues and outspoken advocate for children everywhere, Judge Hatchett speaks passionately on what we all need to do to save this and future generations. Her presentations remind us that we need to protect our youth to ensure our future.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Student Center Ballroom
3 p.m.
Those who say there are no second acts in American life don’t know George Takei. For the young boy who spent his childhood in an American concentration camp for persons of Japanese ancestry, life has offered not just a second act, but a third, fourth and fifth, with many, one hopes, still to come. His unique journey through pop culture and politics has made him not just a witness, but a prime mover during some of the most critical moments in our history. As a result, through the lens of his life, we are able to experience the incredible changes of 20th and 21st century America, eight decades during which our nation rose to global power; went to the moon and beyond; embraced civil rights for people of all cultures; adopted new definitions of love, marriage and the family; allowed diversity to blossom and inclusion to become the norm; unleashed disruptive technologies that connect us all; and democratize our ability to connect, communicate and create.
Thursday, February 28, 2017
Student Center Speaker Auditorium
4 p.m.
Tierra Benton is a runway model originally from the sun-kissed shores of Oahu, Hawaii. Tierra Benton is an internationally recognized supermodel based in N.Y. Her career grew roots in Atlanta, Ga with fashion editorial, commercial print and runway modeling experience. Tierra has been featured worldwide in TV productions, motion pictures, commercials and billboard campaigns. Her work has been published in countless magazines including Marie Claire, Seventeen and Essence. Tierra has vast experience with promotional modeling, fashion runway, commercial print, and digital productions. On and off the runway, the Georgia State Alumni is a champion for higher education and an advocate for holistic wellness. In fact, nature is Tierra's biggest inspiration and the driving force behind her very own wellness technology and lifestyle brand Verra Life.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Student Center Ballroom
3 p.m.
Jamie Tworkowski founded To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), a non-profit group dedicated to helping those who suffer from depression, addiction, self-injury and suicidal tendencies find hope, support and love. TWLOHA began as a simple attempt to tell the story of a friend in need of treatment, and soon became an internet phenomenon and global movement. In 2010, Mashable named TWLOHA the Must-Follow Non-Profit and in 2011, TWLOHA was awarded $1 million from the American Giving Awards. In 2015, a film based on TWLOHA was released, as was Tworkowski’s New York Times bestselling book, If You Feel Too Much, which was also one of 15 books nominated in Goodreads’ Choice Awards 2015 in the Best Memoir/Autobiography category.
 

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