Published June 27, 2013
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will head a lineup of luminaries taking the stage at UB for its 2013-14 Distinguished Speakers Series.
The series, which will begin its 27th season this fall, also will feature popular author and physicist Michio Kaku, physician and television journalist Sanjay Gupta, civil rights leaders Myrlie Evers-Williams and Mary Frances Berry, “eclectic detective” Malcolm Gladwell and magician and endurance performer David Blaine.
All programs will begin at 8 p.m. in Alumni Arena or the Center for the Arts on the North Campus.
The award-winning speakers have written provocative and best-selling books; held important national office; spurred significant public discussion of science, law, medicine, social science and the humanities; and have been cited as being among the best in their respective fields.
“From exploring the physics of our universe to learning through first-hand accounts of the struggle for civil rights and challenges of public service in our nation, this year’s Distinguished Speaker Series offers a broad spectrum of topics that will inspire new ideas and spark meaningful conversations across the UB campus and our community,” said President Satish K. Tripathi.
“The Distinguished Speaker Series for the upcoming academic year continues a long tradition of excellence by bringing in varying and truly global perspectives that will foster dialogue, debate and new ways of thinking about questions that impact us all. This year’s DSS promises to deliver all this and more—including a little magic!”
Dennis Black, vice president for university life and services, praised the variety of speakers coming for the series.
“Science, politics, human rights struggles, health, the social sciences and illusion all will be featured in the Distinguished Speakers Series this year,” Black said.
“Once again, the lectures will offer our campus and the wider community unique opportunities to hear leaders in many fields and learn from their experiences. A key feature of the series remains exchange. The series offers not only a lecture platform, but an opportunity for audience exchange with speakers through questions and answers,” he said.
A popularizer of science, Kaku is the author of the best-selling books “Physics of the Future,” “Physics of the Impossible,” “Parallel Worlds” and “Einstein’s Cosmos.” He has appeared on television (Discovery, BBC, ABC, Science Channel and CNN, to name a few); written for popular science publications like Discover, Wired and New Scientist; been featured in documentaries like “Me & Isaac Newton”; and hosted many of his own shows, including BBC’s “Time” series. Kaku also hosts the weekly radio programs “Science Fantastic” and “Explorations in Science,” both heard on stations across the country.
In addition, he is the author of several college-level textbooks and has had more than 70 articles published in physics journals, covering such topics as superstring theory, supergravity, supersymmetry and hadronic physics.
Clinton served as the 67th U.S. secretary of state from 2009 until 2013, after nearly four decades in public service. Her “smart power” approach to foreign policy repositioned American diplomacy and development for the 21st century. She played a central role in restoring America’s standing in the world, reasserting the United States as a Pacific power, imposing crippling sanctions on Iran and North Korea, responding to the Arab Awakening and negotiating a ceasefire in the Middle East. Earlier, as First Lady and senator from New York, she traveled to more than 80 countries as a champion of human rights, democracy and opportunities for women and girls. Clinton also worked to provide health care to millions of children, create jobs and opportunity, and support first responders who risked their lives at Ground Zero. In her historic campaign for president, Clinton won 18 million votes.
In his book “The Tipping Point: How Little things Can Make a Big Difference”—the 2013 UB Reads selection—he describes that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold and spreads like wildfire.
He also is the author of “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking,” “Outliers: The Story of Success” and a collection of New Yorker stories, “What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures.”
In his latest book, “David and Goliath,” due out in October, he considers “hidden rules” that he claims shape the balance between the weak and the mighty, the powerful and the dispossessed. He takes the reader from the battlefields of Northern Ireland and Vietnam, through successful and unsuccessful classrooms, and into the minds of cancer researchers and civil rights leaders to demonstrate how fundamentally we misunderstand the meaning of advantage and disadvantage.
TIME Magazine named Gladwell one of its “100 Most Influential People” in 2005. He was chosen for Foreign Policy’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers” (2010 and 2009), was ranked No. 10 on the 2011 “The Thinkers 50” list and Newsweek chose him as one of the “Top 10 New Thought Leaders of the Decade.”
Berry has been one of the most recognized and respected voices in our nation’s fight for civil rights, gender equality and social justice through four presidential administrations. She served twice as chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission for many years—and famously sued Ronald Reagan when he tried to remove her—and as assistant secretary for education in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. She is a co-founder of the Free South Africa Movement and was the first woman to head a major research university, the University of Colorado-Boulder.
Berry is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches history and law. She holds PhD and JD degrees, as well as many honorary degrees, and has received numerous awards, among them a citation as one of “America’s Women of the Century” from the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Her recent books include “The Pig Farmer’s Daughter and Other Tales of American Justice” and “Power in Words” (co-authored with J. Gottheimer).
Evers-Williams became a pivotal figure in the civil rights movement when her husband, noted civil rights activist Medgar Evers, was assassinated 50 years ago this month. She was the first female chair of the NAACP and founded the Medgar Evers Institute to promote education, training and economic development while exposing new generations of students to the cause for which her husband died. She was instrumental in launching “Youth for Unity,” a diversity education program designed to fight injustice and intolerance.
Her aim, she says, is to infuse today’s young people with hope, tolerance and an understanding of the struggles our nation has faced. “If we can help them understand the past and encourage them to creatively address today’s human rights challenges,” she says, “they will be in a much better position to help shape the future.”
Evers-Williams received the 2009 National Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum and was named by Ebony magazine as one of the “100 Most Fascinating Black Women of the 20th Century.”
Gupta’s medical training and public health policy experience distinguish his reporting on such topics as brain injury, disaster recovery, health care reform, fitness, military medicine, HIV/AIDS and other areas.
His reports from areas devastated by disaster have brought clarity and human context to many situations. He received two Emmy awards for his reports on the earthquake in Haiti and contributed to the network’s Peabody Award-winning coverage of the BP oil disaster and Hurricane Katrina.
Gupta is the author of several best-selling books, including “Chasing Life” and “Cheating Death.”
Blaine’s endurance performances have included being encased inside a 6-ton block of ice for three days and nights, standing atop a 100-foot-tall pillar for 36 hours without a safety net, and spending a week submerged in an aquarium. Live on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” he held his breath for 17 minutes and 4 seconds, breaking the world record. He will perform a similar feat during his appearance at UB.
At 23, Blaine created, directed and produced “Street Magic,” an original TV program that revolutionized the way magic is depicted on television. Penn of Penn & Teller called “Street Magic” “the best TV magic special ever done” and “the biggest breakthrough in our lifetime.” The New York Times said Blaine “has taken a craft that’s been around for hundreds of years and done something unique and fresh with it.”
Blaine has produced many primetime specials and has performed magic privately for world leaders—and even alongside Michael Jackson during a Super Bowl halftime show. He is the author of “Mysterious Stranger: A Book of Magic” and is known for his many charity performances.
Distinguished Speakers Series subscriptions orders can be placed beginning July 10. Purchase options and instructions (downloadable forms, box office and online purchase) will be available at that time on the series’ website.
Tickets for individual lectures will go on sale Aug. 1.
For more information on the speakers, subscription and ticket prices, and sponsors, visit the series’ website.
The series continues to benefit from the vital support of the program’s presenting sponsor, the Donald L. Davis Lectureship Fund, and the undergraduate Student Association (SA), which is the exclusive series sponsor for the 18th consecutive year.
Hillary stood by and did nothing as 4 Americans were killed in Libya, then lied as to the reason for weeks and refused to turn over documents about the situation. Why does this make her distinguished?