2014-2015

Reddit, co-founded by Alexis Ohanian and friend Steve Huffman, has become one of the World Wide Web’s most striking examples of democracy in action. Founded in 2005, it quickly grew a user base of tens of thousands and attracted the attention of publisher Condé Nast, which acquired it in 2006. Unlike social bookmarking sites reddit fashions itself a platform for social news, where the readers themselves control the front page by voting stories up above and down below the fold. Ohanian left reddit in his official capacity in 2009, but continues to be involved with the site’s direction as a sort of godfather, dispensing friendly wisdom (and t-shirts) from his user account, kn0thing. In early 2010, Ohanian spent three months in Armenia as a Kiva Fellow.

September 23, 2014
3:30 p.m.
Student Center Ballroom

Sonia Nazario has spent more than 20 years reporting and writing about social issues, most recently as a projects reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Her stories have tackled some of this country’s most intractable problems: hunger, drug addiction, immigration. In 2003, her story of a Honduran boy’s struggle to find his mother in the United States, titled Enrique’s Journey, won more than a dozen awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. Expanded into a book, "Enrique’s Journey" became a national best-seller, won three book awards and became required reading for incoming freshmen at more than 50 colleges and scores of high schools across the U.S. Nazario, who grew up in Kansas and Argentina, has written extensively from Latin America and about Latinos in the United States. She has been named among the most influential Latinos by Hispanic Business Magazine and a trendsetter by Hispanic Magazine. In 2012, Columbia Journalism Review listed Nazario among 40 women who changed the media business in the past 40 years.

September 30, 2014
3:30 p.m.
Student Center Ballroom

Laura Ling is an award-winning journalist and author. She is the host and reporter on "E! Investigates," a documentary series on the E! Network that explores topics such as teen suicide and the challenges faced by military spouses. In March 2009, while reporting on the trafficking of North Korean women, Ling was detained by North Korean soldiers along the Chinese-North Korean border. She and her colleague Euna Lee were arrested and held captive in North Korea for 140 days before being granted a special pardon and returning to the United States. She has since sought to shine a light on the issue of trafficked women as well as to bring greater attention to the plight of other imprisoned journalists around the world. Ling is co-author of "Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home," which she penned with her sister, Lisa Ling.

October 16, 2014
3:30 p.m.
Student Center Ballroom

Eric Alva was born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1970. Following high school he decided to join the United States Marine Corps. In January 2003, in the build-up to the war, Alva’s unit was deployed to the Middle East. His unit was among the first to cross the border of Kuwait into Iraq for the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Three hours into the ground war his unit stopped to rest. While stepping out of his vehicle, Alva triggered a landmine. The violent explosion threw him 15 feet from the vehicle and left him with multiple injuries, one of which led to an amputation. He became the first American wounded in the war and the war’s first Purple Heart recipient. On February 28, 2007, he joined Congressman Martin Meehan in introducing the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, a bill designed to repeal the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.Alva took a courageous step toward fighting for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans and, in particular, for those who have served and are serving in the military, but are unable to be true to themselves. His goal is to help achieve civil rights for all U.S. citizens.

November 18, 2014
3:30 p.m.
Student Center Ballroom

Dick Gregory is a brilliant comedian, leading civil and human rights activist, well-received author of 15 books, recording artist with seven records, television and film personality, leading nutritionist, veteran, of over 100 fasts, and man totally committed to non-violent social change. Mr. Gregory's contemporaries included Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, President John F. Kennedy, and Bobby Kennedy. Being one of the few Movement leaders from the 1960s still alive, Mr. Gregory is literally a walking history book. In the spirit of the African oral tradition, brought to America in 1619 when the first enslaved Africans arrived in the colonies, Mr. Gregory speaks the truth about racism, sexism, and violence in America.

32nd Annual MLK Commemoriation
January 22, 2015
4 p.m.
Student Center Ballroom

An outspoken transgender advocate, Cox is the first trans-woman to produce and star in her own television show, "TRANSForm Me," appear on the cover of TIME Magazine and be nominated for an Emmy. She is also the first trans-woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show, "Orange is the New Black." She received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for the role of Sophia Burset, an incarcerated African American transgender woman. A renowned, in-demand speaker, Cox has taken her empowering message of moving beyond gender expectations to live more authentically all over the country. Laverne's other acting credits include “Law and Order,” “Law and Order: SVU,” HBO's “Bored to Death” and the independent films “Carla” and “The Exhibitionists.” Cox was also the first trans-woman of color to appear on an American reality television program, VH1's "I Wanna Work for Diddy," for which she accepted the GLAAD Award for Outstanding Reality Program. Laverne was named one of Outmagazine's "Out 100," one of the country's top 50 trans icons by The Huffington Post, and one of Metro Source magazine's "55 People We Love."

February 4, 2015
3:30 p.m.
Student Center Ballroom

Dr. Michio Kaku is an internationally recognized authority in two areas. The first is Einstein’s unified field theory, which Dr. Kaku is attempting to complete, and the other is to predict trends affecting business, commerce, and finance based on the latest research in science. His goal is the complete Einstein’s dream of a theory of everything, to derive an equation which will summarize all the physical laws of the universe. He is the co-founder of string theory, which is the leading candidate today for the theory of everything. His Ph.D. level textbooks are required reading at many of the world’s leading physics laboratories. He is the author of several international best sellers as well as two New York Times best-sellers, “Physics of the Future” and “Physics of the Impossible.” For "Physics of the Future," he interviewed 300 of the world’s top scientists, many of them Nobel Laureates and directors of the largest scientific laboratories, about their vision for the next 20 to 100 years in computers, robotics, biotechnology, space travel, etc. These are the scientists who are inventing the future in their laboratories.

April 9, 2015
3:30 p.m.
Student Center Ballroom

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