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Distinguished Speakers Lineup

Speaking in the 2014-15 Distinguished Speakers Series are, clockwise from top left, Cheryl Strayed, Wes Moore, John Oliver, Steve Wozniak, Robert Ballard and Earvin "Magic" Johnson.


Published July 25, 2014

Basketball Hall of Famer and philanthropist Magic Johnson and John Oliver, political satirist and host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” head the lineup of speakers in UB’s 2014-15 Distinguished Speakers Series.

The 28th annual series also will feature best-selling authors Cheryl Strayed (“Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”) and youth advocate and combat veteran Wes Moore (“The Other Wes Moore: Two Fates”); oceanographer and underwater archaeologist Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck of the RMS Titanic in 1985 and the battleship Bismarck in 1989; and Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer Inc. and chief scientist of Fusion-io, the computer software and hardware company that designs and manufactures products using flash memory technology.

All programs will take place at 8 p.m. in Alumni Arena, North Campus, on the following dates:

  • Sept. 10: Cheryl Strayed
  • Oct. 15: Wes Moore, UB Reads Author
  • Nov. 18: John Oliver, Undergraduate Student Choice Speaker
  • Feb. 12: Earvin “Magic” Johnson, 39th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Keynote Speaker
  • April 1: Robert Ballard
  • April 29: Steve Wozniak, Graduate Student Choice Speaker

“For nearly 30 years, the Distinguished Speakers Series at UB has played a vital role in fostering dialogue and discovery by sharing a broad range of ideas and perspectives from some of the most compelling and influential voices of our time,” says Dennis Black, vice president for university life and services. “By opening up a lively, open discussion of important national and global issues, the series brings our campus and surrounding communities closer together and inspires our students to become knowledgeable, thoughtful and actively engaged citizens, in keeping with the university’s academic mission.

“This year’s Distinguished Speaker Series promises to once again deliver on this great UB tradition,” Black says. “From leading voices in social commentary and politics to pioneers of exploration and innovation in technology, these prominent public intellectuals and thinkers are certain to spark intellectual curiosity, further dialogue and inspire new lines of inquiry across our campus and throughout the community.”

Subscription orders for the Distinguished Speakers Series can be placed after July 30.  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. 11.

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 19th consecutive year.  The Distinguished Speakers Series also is made possible by the generous support of community residents through ticket purchases and ongoing support over the past 28 years. No state funds, tuition dollars or general gifts to the university or UB Foundation are used to underwrite the Distinguished Speakers Series.