Signature Lectures

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 to request accommodations.

For parking information, please see

Spring 2017

  • Alonzo King


    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

  • Keith Parker

    General Manager and CEO

    Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)

    Holmes-Hunter Lecture

    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

  • Rick Ridgeway

    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

  • Colm Tóibín

    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

  • Sandra L. Thurman and Cornelius Baker

    Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Policy Advisor, respectively, in the United States Department of State’s Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and 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

    Note: The program’s original speaker, 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 is unable to attend due to a family health emergency.
    Sponsored by the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases

  • George H. Nash

    Senior Fellow

    Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal

    “American Conservativism and the Problem of Populism"

    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

  • Barbara Grosz

    Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences

    Harvard University

    “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

  • Joycelyn Elders

    Professor Emeritus

    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. Catherines Island"

    University Lecture


    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.