2016–2017 Signature Lectures

Fall Semester 2016

  • Akhil Reed Amar

    Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science

    Yale University

    “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

  • Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm

    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)

  • Jacknife Lee

    Music producer


    “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



    “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

  • Cynthia Kenyon

    Vice President of Aging Research

    Calico LLC

    "Aging and the Immortal Germline"

    Charter Lecture

    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

  • Roger Thurow

    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

Spring Semester 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.