2017–2018 Signature Lectures

Fall Semester | Spring Semester

Fall Semester 2017

  • Stephanie Stuckey

    Stephanie Stuckey

    Chief Resilience Officer, City of Atlanta

    Vincent Eleanor Ferguson Lecture

    Sept. 13, 5-6 p.m., Room 123, Jackson Street Building

    Stephanie Stuckey served as a state House representative from the Decatur area for 14 years, during which time she was a member of the Judiciary and Natural Resources committees. She then went on to serve as Executive Director of GreenLaw, an Atlanta-based public interest law firm focused on environmental issues. In 2015, she was appointed director of sustainability for the city of Atlanta by Mayor Kasim Reed. In 2016, she was named chief resilience officer for Atlanta, working in conjunction with the Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 Resilient Cities.”

    Sponsored by the College of Environment and Design

  • Michael J. Karman

    Michael J. Klarman

    Kirkland & Ellis Professor

    Harvard Law School

    “The Constitution as a Coup Against Public Opinion”

    Constitution Day Lecture

    Sept. 15, 2-3 p.m., Chapel

    Michael J. Klarman is the Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Harvard Law School. He is one of the nation’s leading scholars of constitutional law and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His lecture addresses how the framers at the Philadelphia convention managed to write a Constitution that was vastly more nationalist and democracy-constraining than most Americans wanted or expected and how they were able to convince ordinary Americans to approve such a document.

    Sponsored by The American Founding Group and the School of Public and International Affairs

  • Dan Cathy

    Dan Cathy

    President and CEO of Chick-fil-A


    “Celebration of the Impact of S. Truett Cathy”

    Terry Leadership Speaker Series

    Sept. 29, 10:10-11 a.m., Chapel

    As CEO of one of the nation's largest family owned businesses, Chick-fil-A's Dan Cathy represents the next generation of leadership for the Atlanta-based fast-food chicken restaurant chain founded by his father, S. Truett Cathy. Eager to incorporate his own skills and talents into the business, Cathy has taken an unconventional, yet personally and professionally rewarding approach, to Chick-fil-A leadership.

    Sponsored by the Institute for Leadership Advancement and the Terry College of Business

  • Georgia Writer’s Hall of Fame

    Georgia Writer’s Hall of Fame Authors Talk and 2017 Awards Ceremony

    James C. Cobb, historian; Alfred Corn, poet; Eugenia Price, novelist; Kevin Young, poet


    Author Discussion

    Nov. 5, 5-6 p.m., Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries Auditorium

    Awards Ceremony

    Nov. 6, 10-11:30 a.m., Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries Auditorium

    James C. Cobb is the B. Phinizy Spalding Professor of History Emeritus at UGA. A former president of the Southern Historical Association, Cobb has written widely on the interaction among economy, society and culture in the American South. His most recent book is “The South and America Since World War II.”

    Alfred Corn has distinguished himself as one of the most original poets writing in the United States. He is a member of the Academy of American Poets and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Foundation, as well as a prize from the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

    The late Eugenia Price, best known as a writer of historical fiction, was awarded a Governor’s Award in the Humanities in 1988 for her novels, which helped preserve the history of coastal Georgia. Her novel “Lighthouse” is on the Georgia Center for the Book’s list of 25 books every Georgian should read.

    Kevin Young began serving as director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in September 2016 and will be Poetry Editor of The New Yorker starting in November 2017. He previously served as the Atticus Haygood Professor of Creative Writing and English at Emory University. He has written six poetry collections, edited five more, and is widely regarded as one of the leading poets of his generation.

    Sponsored by the University of Georgia Libraries

  • Nina Fedoroff

    Nina Fedoroff

    Evan Pugh Professor Emerita

    Penn State University

    “The GMO Wars: What do we do when scientists and citizens deeply disagree?”

    D.W. Brooks Lecture

    Nov. 7, 3:30-4:45 p.m., Mahler Hall, Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel

    A former science and technology advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development, molecular biologist Nina Fedoroff has spent her career working to ensure that people around the world have enough to eat. She’s a strong proponent of using technology as a means to achieve that goal.

    Sponsored by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

  • Souad Mekhennet

    Souad Mekhennet

    National Security Correspondent

    The Washington Post


    “Being a Female Reporter Behind the Lines of Jihad”

    McGill Lecture

    Nov. 15, 4 p.m., Grady College, Studio 100

    Journalist Soaud Mekhennet has gained rare access to the inner circles of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Her latest book, “I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad,” recounts some of her most dangerous assignments. She is a fellow with the New America Foundation and the coauthor of three previous books.

    Sponsored by Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication

  • David Hurst Thomas

    David Hurst Thomas

    Curator of Anthropology

    American Museum of Natural History


    “Unearthing Georgia’s Deep Hispanic Heritage: Still Digging on St. Catherines Island”

    Nov. 17, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries Auditorium

    David Hurst Thomas has served as curator of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York since 1972, and, for seven years, served as the chairman of the department of anthropology. Thomas has conducted archaeological research on St. Catherines Island since 1974.

    Sponsored by the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Anthropology


Spring Semester 2018

  • J. Marshall Shepherd

    J. Marshall Shepherd

    Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professo

    University of Georgia

    “The Challenges of Communicating Science to Non-Scientists”

    Founders Day Lecture

    Jan. 22, 1:30 p.m., Chapel

    A leading international expert in weather, climate and remote sensing, Shepherd is director of UGA’s Atmospheric Sciences Program. He serves as host of The Weather Channel’s Sunday talk show “Weather Geeks” and as a contributor to Forbes magazine. Shepherd served as president of the American Meteorological Society in 2013 and is the recipient of the society’s 2018 Helmut E. Landsberg Award.

    Sponsored by the Office of the President, UGA Alumni Association and Emeriti Scholars

  • Qui Xiaolong

    Qiu Xiaolong


    “A Chinese Cop in the Global Age”

    Betty Jean Craige Lecture

    Feb. 8, 4 p.m., Richard B. Russell Special Collections Libraries Auditorium

    Qui is a poet, literary translator and crime novelist. His critically acclaimed Inspector Chen series – which is set in Shanghai, China in the 1990’s - has been published in 20 languages and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. Qui’s novel “Death of a Red Heroine” won the Anthony Award for best novel in 2001.

    Sponsored by the Department of Comparative Literature and the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts

  • Scott Colosi

    Scott Colosi

    President and CFO

     Texas Roadhouse

    Terry Leadership Speaker Series

    Feb. 9, 10:10 a.m., Richard B. Russell Special Collections Libraries Auditorium

    Colosi has more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He currently serves as the president and chief financial officer of Texas Roadhouse. Previously, he was the director of investor relations for YUM! Brands, Inc., which owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands.

    Sponsored by the Institute for Leadership Advancement, Terry College of Business

  • Michelle Asha Cooper

    Michelle Asha Cooper


    Institute for Higher Education Policy 

    “Tackling Postsecondary Challenges Today”

    Louise McBee Lecture

    Feb. 12, 10 a.m., Chapel

    Cooper has served as the deputy director for the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance at the U.S. Department of Education. She also provides commentary to various media outlets including NPR, FOX News, the Washington Post and C-SPAN. Cooper is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Aspen Institute Presidential Fellowship and the Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s EXCEL (Excellence in Chief Executive Leadership) award.

    Sponsored by the Institute of Higher Education

  • Charlayne Hunter-Gault

    Charlayne Hunter-Gault

    Award-winning journalist and alumnae

    “Giving Voice to the Voiceless”

    Holmes-Hunter Lecture

    Feb. 15, 2:00 p.m., Chapel

    One of the namesakes of UGA’s Holmes-Hunter Academic Building and the annual Holmes-Hunter Lecture, Hunter-Gault was one of the first two African-American students to enroll at UGA. Throughout her celebrated career as a journalist, Hunter-Gault has received numerous honors including two Emmys, a Peabody, two awards from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the 1986 Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists. She is also the author of “In My Place,” a memoir about her experiences at UGA.

    Sponsored by the Office of the President

  • Shirley Brice Heath

    Shirley Brice Heath

    Marjorie Bailey Professor of English and Dramatic Literature and Professor of Linguistics, Emerita

    Stanford University

    “The Arts as Brick and Mortar of Community Building”

     Aralee Strange Lecture

    Feb. 22, 5:30 p.m., Georgia Museum of Art

    Heath is a linguistic anthropologist whose research focuses on learning through sustained experience in art and/or science as well as across various environments. She has written several books and publications on her work with community building as well as directed and produced short documentaries on the topic. She also serves as the director of research for The Public Theater in New York City.

    Sponsored by the Georgia Museum of Art and the Aralee Strange Fund for Art and Poetry

  • Gale Ann HurdWill PackerJeff StepakoffLee Thomas

    Entertainment Industry Panel

    Gale Anne Hurd, CEO of Valhalla Entertainment;
    Will Packer, Emmy-nominated producer
    Jeff Stepakoff, executive director, Georgia Film Academy;
    Lee Thomas, division director of the film, music and digital entertainment division at the Georgia Department of Economic Development

    “Hollywood South: The New $9.5 Billion Georgia Industry”

    Charter Lecture

    Feb. 26, 2 p.m., Chapel

    Hurd has produced numerous works of film including “The Walking Dead,” “The Terminator” and “The Incredible Hulk”. She has been awarded numerous honors, including the 2017 Fangoria Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in the horror and science fiction genres as well as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2011 Hurd became a governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and she currently serves as recording secretary for the Producers Guild of America.

    Packer has established himself as one of Hollywood’s blockbuster hit makers with eight of his films opening No. 1 at the box office. His work includes the films “Girl Trip,” “Straight Outta Compton” and “Ride Along.” He also was the executive producer of the Emmy-nominated “Roots” remake.

    Stepakoff has more than 30 years of experience in writing, producing and content creation in the film and television industry. Some of his most notable television and movie works include “The Wonder Years”, “Dawson’s Creek”, “Tarzan”, “Flipper” and “Major Dad.” Stepakoff also has written popular video games, is a bestselling novelist, and has worked in research and digital art for entertainment companies.

    Thomas, a native of Atlanta and a UGA alumnae, served as film division director and location specialist for the Georgia Film and Videotape office, working with movies such as “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “The Blind Side,” “Footloose,” “Zombieland,” and “Fast Five.” She has also worked for the Brooklyn Arts Council.

    Sponsored by the Provost’s Office and the Office of Academic Programs

  • Bakari Sellers

    Bakari Sellers

    CNN Political Analyst

    “Education, Civil Rights and Equality: Cornerstones for our Future”

    Mary Frances Early Lecture

    April 2, 3 p.m., Georgia Center for Continuing Education, Mahler Auditorium

    Reception to follow

    At age 22, Sellers was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, making him both the youngest member of the state legislature as well as the youngest African-American elected official in the nation. Sellers represented South Carolina’s 90th district in the state legislature from 2006 – 2014. He has also worked for Congressman James Clyburn and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

    Sponsored by the Graduate School, Graduate and Professional Scholars and the Office of Institutional Diversity

  • Dan Barber

    Dan Barber

    Chef and Author

    “What Kind of Menu Will Meet the Challenges of the Future? Exploring a New Recipe for Good Food from the Ground Up”

    April 10, 2 p.m., Richard B. Russell Special Collections Libraries Auditorium

    Barber is the chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and the author of “The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food.” He has received multiple James Beard awards and was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Barber has also been featured in the Netflix documentary series “Chef’s Table.”

    Sponsored by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

  • Heather Gerken

    Heather Gerken


    Yale Law School

    “The Lessons of Lawyering: Why Ours is an Honest Profession”

    John A. Sibley Lecture

    April 13, 3:30 p.m., Hirsch Hall, Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom

    Gerken is one of the country’s leading experts on constitutional law and election law, and her work on election reform has affected policy at a national level. Gerken’s work as Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law focuses on federalism, diversity and dissent. Her work and scholarship has also been featured in a wide array of publications including The New York Times, Boston Globe, Harvard Law Review and Yale Law Journal.

    Sponsored by the School of Law

Other notable lectures include: