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  • PRESIDENTIAL LECTURE SERIES

    ODU's Presidential Lecture Series was established in 2001 and highlights ODU's commitment to the arts, education and politics.

    The Presidential Lecture Series continues to underscore the Ohio Dominican motto, "to contemplate truth and share with others the fruits of this contemplation." Guest lecturers generously give of their time; they are often available after the presentations to meet with audiences, sign books and share refreshments.

    JEFF CORWIN

    October 15, 2009  

    Jeff Corwin, Emmy Award-winning host of "The Jeff Corwin Experience" on Animal Planet, is an advocate for conservation of endangered species and ecosystems around the world. His show reaches over 13 million viewers in the United States and is viewed in more than 70 countries worldwide. An expert in rainforest animals, Jeff was first introduced to the tropical rain forests in 1984 while on an expedition to Belize. In 1993, Jeff addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations regarding the need to conserve neotropical rain forests. By 1994, he had served as expedition naturalist for The Jason Project, the acclaimed documentary series produced by National Geographic and EDS. In 2004, Jeff won an Emmy for best performer in a children's series.

    ELIZABETH EDWARDS

    October 9, 2008  

    Elizabeth Edwards, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress, is committed to improving the daily lives of all Americans. In her work for the Center for American Progress, a think tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas and action, Mrs. Edwards works on behalf of healthcare issues and writes for the Wonk Room, the CAP Action Fund’s rapid-response blog. A passionate advocate for children and families and accomplished attorney and author, she has been a tireless advocate on behalf of many important social causes. In her book, Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers, Mrs. Edwards draws upon her strength of purpose, perseverance, warmth and wit to talk openly about overcoming significant life obstacles. Her courageous battle with breast cancer has served as an inspiration to women across the country.

    RAY SUAREZ

    May 7, 2008  

    Ray Suarez as more than 25 years of varied experience in the news business. He came to The NewsHour from National Public Radio where he had been host of the nationwide call-in news program Talk of the Nation since 1993. Suarez was also a Los Angeles correspondent for CNN, a producer for the ABC Radio Network in New York, a reporter for CBS Radio in Rome, and a reporter for various American and British news services in London. He has been honored with the 1996 Ruben Salazar Award from the National Council of La Raza, Current History Magazine's 1995 Global Awareness Award and a Chicago Emmy Award. Suarez holds a bachelor's degree in African History from New York University and a master's degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.

    DONNA BRAZILE

    October 30, 2007  

    Donna Brazile, a well-versed Democratic political strategist, made history as the first African-American woman to lead a major presidential campaign when she served as campaign manager for Gore-Lieberman 2000. Prior to joining the Gore campaign, Brazile was Chief of Staff and Press Secretary to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia where she helped guide the District's budget and local legislation on Capitol Hill. Brazile is a weekly contributor and political commentator for CNN, a political consultant for ABC News, and a contributor to NPR’s Political Corner. She is the author of Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics, a memoir about her life in the political arena. Brazile, a native of New Orleans, earned her undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1981 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Louisiana State University in 2005.

    WILLIAM KRISTOL

    February 22, 2007  

    Political analyst and commentator William Kristol is editor of the influential Washington-based political magazine The Weekly Standard. Kristol, co-author of The New York Times bestseller The War Over Iraq, served as Chief of Staff to Education Secretary William J. Bennett during the Reagan Administration and then as Chief of Staff to Vice President Dan Quayle under the first President Bush. He has taught politics at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Leading the Project for the Republican Future, a conservative think tank, Kristol aided in the 1994 Republican Congressional victory. He regularly appears on Fox News Sunday and Fox News Channel. Kristol received a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University.

    AMY TAN

    October 16, 2006  

    Amy Tan is the award-winning author of The Joy Luck Club, which spent more than nine months on The New York Times Best Sellers List, and was nominated for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Award. It received the Commonwealth Gold Award and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award and was adapted into a feature film in 1994, for which Tan served as co-screenwriter and co-producer. Tan’s second book, The Kitchen God's Wife, was published two years later, followed by The Hundred Secret Senses and The Bonesetter's Daughter. All three books appeared on The New York Times Best Sellers List. Tan's short stories and essays have appeared in many publications including The Atlantic, Harper's and The New Yorker, and her work has been translated into more than 30 languages.

    TERRY GROSS

    November 3, 2005

    Terry Gross is the host of Fresh Air, the Peabody Award-inning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, and one of public radio's most popular programs. Each week, nearly four million people tune in to the show's intimate conversations broadcast on more than 414 National Public Radio (NPR) stations across the country, as well as in Europe on the World Radio Network.  The one-hour program features Gross' in-depth interviews with prominent cultural and entertainment figures, as well as distinguished experts on current affairs and news. Fresh Air with Terry Gross has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Peabody Award and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Award for "Best Live Radio Program."

    ELLEN GOODMAN

    October 21, 2004  

    Ellen Goodman began her career at Newsweek as a researcher at a time when few women became writers. She went to work as a reporter for the Detroit Free Press in 1965 and two years later, began writing her column for the Boston Globe. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary, Goodman is a recipient of countless awards including the President’s Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus and the Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Goodman’s latest book, Paper Trails, is a collection of essays reflecting her thoughts on contemporary life over the last decade. Five collections of her columns have been published and her syndicated column appears in more than 450 newspapers nationwide.

    BILLY COLLINS

    October 30, 2003  

    Librarian of Congress James H. Billington appointed Collins as the 11th Poet Laureate of the United States in June 2001 (to serve through 2003). Of the poet, Dr. Billington said, "Billy Collins' poetry is widely accessible. He writes in an original way about all manner of ordinary things and situations with both humor and a surprising contemplative twist." Collins' program, Poetry 180, promotes the reading of daily poems in high school classrooms across America. Poetry 180 is designed to make it easy for students to hear or read a poem each day of the school year. Collins is a Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College, City University of New York, where he has taught for the past 30 years. His own books of poetry include Picnic, Lighting (1998), The Art of Drowning (1995), Questions About Angels (1991) and The Apple that Astonished Paris (1988). In Fall 2002, Random House published Collins' latest collection of poems, Nine Horses.

    FRANCES MAYES

    February 27, 2003  

    Frances Mayes, author, poet and essayist, penned a series of best selling memoirs about Italy. Under the Tuscan Sun remained on the New York Times best seller list for two years, followed by a sequel, Bella Tuscany, and the third in the series, In Tuscany, a collaborative effort between Mayes, her husband, poet Edward Mayes, and photographer Bob Krist. Mayes' books on Italy appeal to readers all over the world; her books have been published in 14 languages. Under the Tuscan Sun chronicles the author's quest to buy, renovate and settle into an abandoned villa in Cortona, Italy. The books emit passion for all things Italian about taking chances, living in the Tuscan countryside, loving a house, the pleasure of food, and the "voluptuousness of Italian life.

    TONY KUSHNER

    November 14, 2002  

    Kushner was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part One: Millennium Approaches. The second part of the epic, Part Two: Perestroika, also garnered numerous awards and admiring reviews. London's National Theater selected Angels in America as one of the ten best plays of the 20th Century. Kushner has been widely acclaimed for these and other works, including Homebody/Kabul, a play about Afghanistan. Kushner writes and speaks on timeless issues of faith, death and life. He takes his audiences on a journey into the deepest parts of piercing political and philosophical issues to search for understanding and responsibility.

    DR. HOWARD GARDNER

    November 29, 2001  

    Dr. Howard Gardner is best known in education circles for his theory of multiple intelligences; that there exists a single human intelligence that can be assessed by standard psychometric instruments. Gardner is the John H. And Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He and colleagues at Harvard's Project Zero have designed performance-based assessments, education for understanding, and the use of multiple intelligences to achieve more personalized curriculum, instruction and assessment. He is the author of more than 20 books translated in 21 languages and several hundred articles. Most recently, Gardner has conducted intensive studies of exemplary creators and leaders, and the relationship between their cutting-edge work and a sense of social responsibility for the use and implications of that work.

    EDWARD ALBEE

    November 27, 2001  

    Perhaps best known for his 1965 play, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The New York Times called Edward Albee "one of the few genuinely great living American dramatists." Albee began his theatrical career with Zoo Story (1959), a one-act play that became a standard in American drama, linking him with "the theatre of the absurd," a school of playwrighting that continues to influence contemporary writers, scholars and directors. Albee was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes, for A Delicate Balance (1967), an exploration of love, compassion and the bonds of friendship and family; Seascape (1975), about a cross-species encounter on a desert island between a human and reptilian; and Three Tall Women (1994), a semi-autobiographical piece about his adoptive mother. Albee has been heralded for his ability to straddle two divergent traditions of American theatre - the traditional and the avant garde - combining the realistic with the surreal.