2022-2023 Signature Lectures

The University of Georgia will host renowned scholars and leaders in the arts, business, civil rights, government, philosophy and the sciences this semester as part of the fall 2022 Signature Lectures series.

 Signature Lecture speakers are 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. All Signature Lectures are free and open to the public. Capacity is limited for some lectures, with registration required.

  • Sanford V. Levinson portrait
    Sanford V. Levinson
    W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, University of Texas School of Law
    Constitution Day at UGA: “Reflections of a Would-be Framer"

    Sept. 16, 2 p.m.
    University of Georgia Chapel

    Levinson is a celebrated legal scholar known for his writings on constitutional law. Levinson is the author of approximately 400 articles, book reviews and commentaries in professional and popular journals and a regular contributor to the popular blog Balkinization. He has also written six books and edited or co-edited nine others, including a leading constitutional law casebook. Levinson received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association in 2010.


    Sponsored by the School of Public & International Affairs, Department of Political Science, American Founding Group, School of Law, Jack Miller Center

    Event contact: Lauren Ledbetter

  • Kristin Leachman portrait
    Kristin Leachman

    Contemporary American artist

    “Longleaf Lines and the Fifty Forests Project”

    Sept. 22, 5:30 p.m.

    Georgia Museum of Art, M. Smith Griffith Auditorium


    Leachman’s paintings are noted for repositioning abstraction, figuration and geometry, making seamless connections between the subliminal and sublime. Her current project, “Fifty Forests,” explores both pattern and symbolism in the growth formations of trees throughout America’s 50 states. Leachman designed “Senzeni Na?” (“What Have We Done?”), an Academy Award nominee for Best Live Action Short Film in 1990. Her work is featured in the collection of the National Gallery of Art and an oral history interview with Leachman is included in the Smithsonian Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C.


    Sponsored by the Georgia Museum of Art

    Event contact: Callan Steinmann

  • Valerie Boyd portrait
    Rosalind Bentley, Karen Good Marable, Latria Graham, Tayari Jones, and Shay Youngblood

    Writers who collaborated with noted author Valerie Boyd

    Georgia Writers Hall of Fame: Valerie Boyd Tribute

    Sept. 22, 6 p.m.

    Richard B. Russell Building, Special Collections Library, Room 285

    Atlanta native Valerie Boyd was a writer, teacher, editor, and acclaimed biographer of Zora Neale Hurston. Her 2003 book, “Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston,” was celebrated as “the definitive Hurston biography for many years to come.” The book won the Southern Book Award for best nonfiction of the year, and Boyd was named Georgia Author of the Year in nonfiction. Her final books, “Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker” and “Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic,” will be posthumously published in 2022. This panel discussion will feature writers who contributed to "Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic."


    Sponsored by UGA Libraries, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, UGA Press

    Event contact: Camie Williams

  • Shan Cooper portrait

    Shan Cooper
    Founder and CEO, Journey Forward Strategies, LLC


    Mason Public Leadership Lecture

    Oct. 5, 10:20 a.m.

    University of Georgia Chapel

    Cooper’s work focuses on the intersection of business and people strategies. Her company, Journey Forward Strategies, is a consulting firm specializing in leadership development and organization effectiveness.  She has received numerous honors, including the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Women of Influence Lifetime Achievement Award, Georgia Trend Magazine’s Most Respected Business Leader Award, and the American Association of University Women’s Woman of the Year Award. In addition, she has been named one of Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians and one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “Power 100” multiple times. She was named one of Black Enterprise Magazine’s Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America in 2017.


    Sponsored by a grant from Keith Mason. Part of the Terry Leadership Speaker Series presented by the Institute for Leadership Advancement.

    Event contact: Allison Porter

  • Scott A. Hershovitz portrait

    Scott A. Hershovitz

    Thomas G. and Mabel Long Professor of Law, University of Michigan

    "Nasty, Brutish and Short: Adventures in Philosophy with My Kids"

    Nov. 3, 4 p.m.

    Peabody Hall, Room 115

    Hershovitz is director of the Law and Ethics Program and professor of law and philosophy at the University of Michigan. He is the author of "Nasty, Brutish and Short: Adventures in Philosophy with My Kids," an NPR Best Book of 2022. The book uses deft storytelling and a sharp wit to show what philosophy is; why kids are the best philosophers of all; and how they can teach us to puzzle through revenge, rights, consciousness, the size of the universe and other daunting mysteries most grown-ups learn to ignore.


    Sponsored by the department of philosophy, the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, and the Jere W. Morehead Honors College

    Event contact: Dave Marr

  • Andrew Aydin portraitNate Powell portrait
    Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
    Co-author and illustrator of John Lewis's March trilogy
    Discussion moderated by Charlayne Hunter-Gault

    Georgia Writers Hall of Fame: John Lewis Tribute

    Nov. 3, 6 p.m.

    Richard B. Russell Building, Special Collections Library, Room 285

    Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis joined the Civil Rights Movement and became one of the founding figures of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) while attending Fisk University. With SNCC, Lewis led and participated in peaceful protests against segregation, including sit-ins at segregated lunch counters and Freedom Rides on buses crossing state lines in the South during the early 1960s. Lewis’ activism continued in Congress, where he represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District for over 30 years. Hoping to reach a new generation, Lewis wrote a graphic novel series alongside Andrew Aydin with illustrations by Nate Powell. Aimed at young adults, the series March detailed his experiences during the Civil Rights Movement. The series garnered critical acclaim, with the final installment receiving the National Book Award in 2016 and a Coretta Scott King Book Award in 2017.


    Sponsored by UGA Libraries, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library

    Event contact: Camie Williams

  • Alison Van Eenennaam portrait

    Alison Van Eenennaam

    Professor of Cooperative Extension, Animal Genomics and
    Biotechnology, Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis

    2022 D.W. Brooks Lecture and Awards: “Science Friction: Can effective communication save genome editing from the fate of GMOs?”

    Nov. 8, 3:30 p.m.

    Georgia Center for Continuing Education, Mahler Hall


    A professor of cooperative extension in animal genomics and biotechnology at the University of California, Davis for 20 years, Van Eenennaam’s current research projects include the development of genome editing approaches for cattle. She has given over 700 invited presentations globally and uses a variety of media to inform audiences about science and technology. A passionate advocate of science, Van Eenennaam received the 2014 Council for Agricultural Science and Technology Borlaug Communication Award and the 2019 American Society of Animal Science Rockefeller Prentice Award in Animal Breeding and Genetics.


    Sponsored by the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

    Event contact: Regina Fitzpatrick

  • Cassandra Quave portrait
    Cassandra Quave
    Curator of the Herbarium and Associate Professor of Dermatology and Human Health, Emory University

    Johnstone Lecture: “The Plant Hunter: A Scientist's Quest for Nature's Next Medicines”

    Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m.

    State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Conservatory Great Room

    Quave leads anti-infective drug discovery research initiatives and teaches courses on medicinal plants, microbiology, and pharmacology. As a medical ethnobotanist, her work focuses on the documentation and pharmacological evaluation of plants used in traditional medicine. Quave’s research is supported by the NIH, industry contracts, and philanthropy. She is a Fellow of the Explorers Club, a past President of the Society for Economic Botany, a recipient of the Emory Williams Teaching Award, and Charles Heiser, Jr. Mentor Award.


    Sponsored by the State Botanical Garden of Georgia

    Event contact: Jared Peden

  • Tristan Leavitt portrait photograph

    Tristan Leavitt

    Attorney and member of the Merit Systems Protection Board

    Getzen Lecture on Government Accountability

    Nov. 9, 2 p.m.

    Richard B. Russell Building, Special Collections Libraries Auditorium, Room 271


    An attorney and a member of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), Leavitt previously served as MSPB's general counsel and as the agency's acting chief executive and administrative officer. Before his roles with MSPB, Leavitt served at the Office of Special Counsel as the principal deputy special counsel, including time as acting special counsel. He also served on Capitol Hill, conducting congressional investigations of government waste, fraud, and abuse and handling various transparency and accountability legislative issues.


    Sponsored by the School of Public and International Affairs’ Department of Public Administration & Policy

    Event contact: Lauren Ledbetter

  • Stephen Klippenstein portrait photograph

    Stephen Klippenstein

    Argonne National Laboratory Distinguished Fellow

    Coulson Lecture: “Combustion in a Sustainable World: From Molecules to Processes”

    Nov. 16, 11:30 a.m.

    Interdisciplinary STEM Research Complex, Building 2, Room 1023


    Stephen Klippenstein’s cutting-edge, computational chemistry research has significantly impacted a wide range of fields, including sustainable energy, combustion, interstellar chemistry and atmospheric chemistry. He has earned numerous prestigious honors including the Spiers Memorial Lecturer from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Polanyi Medal from the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Zeldovich Gold Medal from the Combustion Institute. Klippenstein received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in from the California Institute of Technology, where he conducted theoretical studies of chemical reaction dynamics with Nobel Prize recipient R. A. Marcus.


    Sponsored by the department of chemistry and the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry

    Event contact: Brandon Rotavera