UGA Signature Lectures feature speakers noted for their broad, multidisciplinary appeal and compelling bodies of work. Many of the lectures are supported by endowments, while others honor notable figures and milestones in the university’s history.
Upcoming Signature Lectures are listed below, and additions to the lecture series will be posted when available. Requests for accommodations for those with disabilities should be made as soon as possible but at least 7 days prior to the scheduled lecture. Please contact Katie Fite in the Office of Academic Programs at 706-542-0383 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to request accommodations.
For parking information, please see http://www.parking.uga.edu/maps/Visitor.pdf.
2016–2017 Academic Year
Akhil Reed Amar
Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science
“The Constitution at a Crossroads”
Constitution Day Lecture
Sept. 16, 2 p.m., Chapel
Amar teaches constitutional law at both Yale College and Yale Law School. His work has won awards from both the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society.
Sponsored by the Department of Political Science in the School of Public and International Affairs and the School of Law
Sir Ivor Roberts
President of Trinity College
University of Oxford
“Strengthening International Alliances in a World That Wants to Tear Them Apart”
Sept. 28, 4 p.m., Chapel
Sir Ivor Roberts is the former British Ambassador to Belgrade during the Bosnian Civil War. He served in the British Diplomatic Service for nearly four decades.
Sponsored by the University of Georgia Press, School of Public and international Affairs and UGA at Oxford
James H. Meredith
Civil rights figure and writer
“What Today’s Activism is Missing”
The Donald L. Hollowell Lecture
Meredith is a Civil Rights trailblazer and scholar, who has played a critical role in the core activities of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement and has continued that legacy via his global outreach and scholarship.
Sponsored by the Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights and the School of Social Work.
The Donald L. Hollowell Lecture scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 13 at 1:30 p.m. at the Morton Theatre in Athens, and featuring civil rights pioneer James Meredith, has been canceled. “Though we are disappointed that Mr. Meredith was unable to come to Athens for this year's Hollowell lecture, we are pleased that he has agreed to let us record an interview at a later date that we will be posting on the website of UGA’s Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights,” said Llewellyn Cornelius, the Hollowell Distinguished Professor of Social Justice and Civil Rights Studies and director of the center, which co-hosts the event with the School of Social Work.
Lisa Godbey Wood
U.S. District Judge and alumna
“Reflections on Sentencing”
Edenfield Jurist in Residence Lecture
Oct. 13, 3:30 p.m., Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom
The Honorable Lisa Godbey Wood (J.D. ’90) is the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. She was nominated by President George W. Bush on Jan. 9, 2007.
Sponsored by the School of Law
Joan B. Rose
Professor and Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research
Michigan State University
“The Water Microbiome: Expanding our Knowledge of Safe Water”
Georgia Power College of Public Health Endowed Seminar in Environmental Topics
Oct. 21, 12:20 p.m., Room 175, Coverdell Building
Rose was awarded the 2016 Stockholm Water Prize for her pioneering work to understand and control pathogens in water.
Sponsored by the Department of Environmental Health Science in the College of Public Health
Advisory Council member of the Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia and CEO emerita of A. Tillander Jewelers in Helsinki and London
“The Russian Imperial Awards and Their Recipients”
Nov. 1, 5:30 p.m., Georgia Museum of Art
Tillander-Godenhielm focuses on the range of jewels and objets d’art crafted in St. Petersburg during the golden age of ornamental design.
This lecture is held in conjunction with the exhibition, "Gifts and Prayers: The Romanovs and Their Subjects."
Sponsored by the Georgia Museum of Art and supported by a contribution from Mr. and Mrs. C. V. Nalley III
William P. "Billy" Payne
Augusta National Golf Club and Centennial Holding Company LLC
Mason Public Leadership Lecture
Nov. 3, 11 a.m., Chapel
Payne (B.S. ’69, J.D. ’73), the sixth chairman of August National Golf Club and chief executive office of the Atlanta Committee for the 1996 Olympic Games, has garnered national and international respect through his business acumen and ongoing commitment to public leadership.
Sponsored by the Terry College of Business's Institute for Leadership Advancement and supported by a contribution from Terry alumnus and lawyer Keith Mason (BBA '82, JD '85)
“A Conversation with Jacknife Lee”
Willson Center / Terry College Music Business Program Visiting Fellow
Nov. 3, 4 p.m., Chapel
Lee, an internationally renowned music producer (R.E.M., U2, Snow Patrol, Weezer), will have a public conversation with music business program director David Barbe.
Sponsored by the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and the Terry College Music Business Program
“Bill Shipp's Political Pen: Mightier Than the Sword, A Student Moderated Q&A”
Georgia Writers Hall of Fame
Shipp, a journalist in Georgia for 50 years, has covered topics such as the civil rights movement and numerous political campaigns and leaders in Georgia.
Sponsored by the University of Georgia Libraries
Roy Blount Jr.,
"Where I'm Coming From"
Georgia Writers Hall of Fame
Nov. 6, 5 p.m., Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries Auditorium
Blount Jr., author and humorist, is a panelist on NPR's “Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me” and a usage consultant to the American Heritage Dictionary.
Sponsored by the University of Georgia Libraries
Vice President of Aging Research
"Aging and the Immortal Germline"
Nov. 7, 2:30 p.m., Chapel
Kenyon (B.S. ’76), is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the molecular biology and genetics of aging and life extension. A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, she is the former president of the Genetics Society of America. In 2014, she joined Google’s biotechnology company Calico, which seeks to slow aging and fight age-related diseases.
Sponsored by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Senior Fellow in Global Food and Agriculture
Chicago Council on Global Affairs
“1,000 Days to Change the World: Stories from the Fight Against Early Childhood Malnutrition”
D.W. Brooks Lecture and Awards
Nov. 7, 3:30 p.m., Georgia Center for Continuing Education, Mahler Auditorium
Thurow served for 20 years as a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Europe and Africa. He is the author of three books on the struggle against global food insecurity.
Sponsored by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Alonzo King LINES Ballet
“A Life in Art”
Jan. 17, 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m, New Dance Theatre
King is an internationally renowned choreographer and the director of the international touring company Alonzo King LINES Ballet, housed in San Francisco. In 2014 King was appointed to the advisory council of the newly established Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, and in 2005 he was named a Master of Choreography by the Kennedy Center.
Sponsored by the UGA Department of Dance in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts. Part of the Global Georgia Initiative.
Charles S. Bullock III
Richard B. Russell Chair in Political Science, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor and University Professor
University of Georgia
Highlights and Lowlights of the 2016 Election
Founders Day Lecture
Jan. 23, 1:30 – 2:15 p.m., Chapel
Bullock has established himself as the state's pre-eminent scholar on Southern politics during his almost four decades at UGA. In 2015, Bullock was named University Professor, an honor bestowed on faculty who have had a significant impact on the University of Georgia beyond normal academic responsibilities.
Sponsored by the Office of the President and the UGA Alumni Association
General Manager and CEO
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)
Feb. 2, 2 p.m. – 3:15 p.m., Chapel
Parker was recognized as the Outstanding Public Transportation Manager by the American Public Transportation Association in 2015 and was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the National Infrastructure Advisory Council in 2016.
The Holmes-Hunter Lecture honors Charlayne Hunter-Gault and the late Hamilton Holmes, who in 1961 became the first African-American students to enroll at UGA. Held annually since 1985, it focuses on race relations, civil rights and education with implications for inclusion and diversity. Sponsored by the Office of the President
Viet Than Nguyen
Arnold Chair of English and Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity
University of Southern California
“Nothing Ever Dies: Ethical Memory and Radical Writing in The Sympathizer”
Betty Jean Craige Annual Lecture
Feb. 13, 4 – 5:30 p.m., Chapel
Nguyen’s The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, while his non-fiction work Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War was short-listed for a 2016 National Book Award.
Sponsored by the Comparative Literature Department in the Franklin College in association with the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, and the Dean Rusk International Law Center
Vice President of Environmental Affairs
Patagonia clothing company
“The Elephant in the Room”
Feb. 21, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Tate Grand Hall, reception to follow
Ridgeway is a mountaineer, adventurer, environmentalist, writer, filmmaker and businessman who oversees vanguard environmental and sustainability initiatives. He was part of the 1978 team that included the first Americans to summit K2, the world's second-highest mountain.
Sponsored by the UGA Office of Sustainability
Irish author, essayist and journalist
“Staying Home, Leaving Home: Ireland and America”
Delta Visiting Chair Lecture
March 16, 3:30 – 4:45 p.m., Chapel
Tóibín has written numerous acclaimed novels, short stories, plays, essays and works of criticism and memoir. His award-winning novel Brooklyn was adapted for an Oscar-nominated 2015 film starring Saoirse Ronan.
Sponsored by the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts
Deborah L. Birx
Ambassador-at-Large, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy
U.S. Department of State
“The War Against AIDS, 35 Years and Counting: Are We There Yet?”
Global Diseases: Voices from the Vanguard series
March 21, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., Chapel
Birx helped organize the largest HIV vaccine trial in history and the only one to yield evidence that vaccines will someday protect healthy people against HIV. She currently oversees the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the U.S. engagement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Sponsored by the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases
George H. Nash
Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal
“The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America”
March 22, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m., Room 248, Miller Learning Center
Nash is the author of a foundational text on American conservatism and a three-volume biography of Herbert Hoover commissioned by the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association. His essays have appeared in numerous national publications including the American Spectator, Modern Age, National Review, New York Times Book Review, Policy Review and Wall Street Journal.
Sponsored by the Office of Academic Programs
Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences
“Intelligent Systems: Design and Ethical Challenges”
Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar
March 27, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m., Mahler Hall, Georgia Center for Continuing Education
The first woman president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, Grosz specializes in natural language processing and multi-agent systems. She developed some of the earliest computer dialogue systems and established the research field of computational modeling of discourse.
Sponsored by Phi Beta Kappa and the Office of Academic Programs
University of Arkansas School of Medicine
“Bridging the Gap in Higher Education”
Mary Frances Early Lecture
April 5, 3 – 4 p.m., M. Smith Griffith Auditorium, Georgia Museum of Art, reception to follow
Elders was the 15th Surgeon General of the United States, and the first African American and only the second woman to head the U.S. Public Health Service.
Sponsored by the Graduate School, Graduate and Professional Scholars and the Office of Institutional Diversity
David Hurst Thomas
Curator of Anthropology
American Museum of Natural History
"Unearthing Georgia’s Deep Hispanic Heritage: Still Digging on St. Catherine's Island"
Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m., Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries, reception to follow
Thomas is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow in the Academy of American Franciscan History, a member of the Writer's Guild of America and founding trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian. He has lectured in more than 40 countries, written 38 books, edited 98 volumes and published more than 135 scientific papers. In 1970, he discovered Gatecliff Shelter in Nevada, the deepest archaeological rockshelter in the Americas. Thomas also found and continues to excavate the 16th-/17th-century Franciscan mission Santa Catalina de Guale on St. Catherines Island, Georgia.
Sponsored by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Anthropology.