Past Speakers

Since 1987, the Distinguished Speakers Series has expanded to include internationally renowned scientists, authors, media experts and other leaders from a multitude of fields—all of whom continue to bring thousands of people to UB each year.

Speakers By Year

Photo Highlights

Zoom image: Host of "Wildlife Nation," Jeff Corwin, showing the audience a baby sloth at the Center for the Arts on Apr. 5, 2022 Jeff Corwin.

Host of "Wildlife Nation," Jeff Corwin, showing the audience a baby sloth at the Center for the Arts on Apr. 5, 2022

Zoom image: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Creator of "The 1619 Project," Nikole Hannah-Jones, speaking at the Center for the Arts on Feb. 16, 2022 Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Creator of "The 1619 Project," Nikole Hannah-Jones, speaking at the Center for the Arts on Feb. 16, 2022

Zoom image: Gold Medal-Winning Gymnast, Aly Raisman, speaking at the Center for the Arts on Nov. 16, 2021 Aly Raisman.

Gold Medal-Winning Gymnast, Aly Raisman, speaking at the Center for the Arts on Nov. 16, 2021

Zoom image: Virtual event with Tabitha Brown, Actress and Vegan Foodie, Apr. 14, 2021 Tabitha Brown.

Virtual event with Tabitha Brown, Actress and Vegan Foodie, Apr. 14, 2021

Zoom image: Social Activist, Patrisse Cullors, speaks at a virtual event on Feb. 10, 2021 Patrisse Cullors.

Social Activist, Patrisse Cullors, speaks at a virtual event on Feb. 10, 2021

Zoom image: Tony Award-Winning Actor & Musician, Leslie Odom Jr., performed at a virtual event on Oct. 14, 2020 Leslie Odom Jr.

Tony Award-Winning Actor & Musician, Leslie Odom Jr., performed at a virtual event on Oct. 14, 2020

Zoom image: Daymond John in the Center for the Arts on Mar 11, 2020     Daymond John.

Daymond John in the Center for the Arts on Mar 11, 2020    

Zoom image: Yusef Salaam in Alumni Arena on Feb 24, 2020 Yusef Salaam.

Yusef Salaam in Alumni Arena on Feb 24, 2020

Zoom image: Pulitzer Prize winner Maggie Haberman in the Center for the Arts on Nov. 14, 2019 Ann Bisantz, Dean of Undergraduate Education, interviews Maggie Haberman.

Pulitzer Prize winner Maggie Haberman in the Center for the Arts on Nov. 14, 2019

Zoom image: Nyle DiMarco addresses the crowd using American Sign Language in the Center for the Arts on Oct. 23, 2019 Nyle DiMarco addresses the crowd using American Sign Language in the Center for the Arts on Oct. 23, 2019.

Nyle DiMarco addresses the crowd using American Sign Language in the Center for the Arts on Oct. 23, 2019

Zoom image: Condoleezza Rice (U.S. Secretary of State from 2005-09) at Alumni Arena on April 17, 2019 Condoleezza Rice (U.S. Secretary of State from 2005-09) at Alumni Arena on April 17, 2019.

Condoleezza Rice (U.S. Secretary of State from 2005-09) at Alumni Arena on April 17, 2019

Zoom image: Ronan Farrow (Pulitzer Prize-Winning Investigative Reporter) at the Center for the Arts on March 28, 2019 Ronan Farrow (Pulitzer Prize-Winning Investigative Reporter) at the Center for the Arts on March 28, 2019.

Ronan Farrow (Pulitzer Prize-Winning Investigative Reporter) at the Center for the Arts on March 28, 2019

Zoom image: Angela Davis (Social Equality Activist and Author) at Alumni Arena on February 27, 2019 Angela Davis (Social Equality Activist and Author) at Alumni Arena on February 27, 2019.

Angela Davis (Social Equality Activist and Author) at Alumni Arena on February 27, 2019

Zoom image: Lisa Genova (Neuroscientist and Bestselling Author of “Still Alice”) at the Center for the Arts on December 6, 2018 Lisa Genova (Neuroscientist and Bestselling Author of “Still Alice”) at the Center for the Arts on December 6, 2018.

Lisa Genova (Neuroscientist and Bestselling Author of “Still Alice”) at the Center for the Arts on December 6, 2018

Zoom image: Peter Diamandis (Executive Chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation) with the Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Tom Ulbrich, at the Center for the Arts on November 14, 2018 Peter Diamandis (Executive Chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation) with the Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Tom Ulbrich, at the Center for the Arts on November 14, 2018.

Peter Diamandis (Executive Chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation) with the Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Tom Ulbrich, at the Center for the Arts on November 14, 2018

Zoom image: A full house during Vice President Joe Biden's lecture in Alumni Arena on October 25, 2018. A full house during Vice President Joe Biden's lecture in Alumni Arena on October 25, 2018.

A full house during Vice President Joe Biden's lecture in Alumni Arena on October 25, 2018.

Zoom image: Vice President Joe Biden (47th Vice President of the United States from 2009-17) at Alumni Arena on October 25, 2018 Vice President Joe Biden (47th Vice President of the United States from 2009-17) at Alumni Arena on October 25, 2018.

Vice President Joe Biden (47th Vice President of the United States from 2009-17) at Alumni Arena on October 25, 2018

Zoom image: Alan Alda (TV Icon and Science Communicator) at Alumni Arena on May 2, 2018 Alan Alda (TV Icon and Science Communicator) at Alumni Arena on May 2, 2018.

Alan Alda (TV Icon and Science Communicator) at Alumni Arena on May 2, 2018

Zoom image: James Balog (Global Expert on Climate Change and Founder of the Extreme Ice Survey) at Alumni Arena on April 12, 2018 James Balog (Global Expert on Climate Change and Founder of the Extreme Ice Survey) at Alumni Arena on April 12, 2018.

James Balog (Global Expert on Climate Change and Founder of the Extreme Ice Survey) at Alumni Arena on April 12, 2018

Zoom image: Susan Rice (Former U.S. National Security Advisor from 2013-17) at Alumni Arena on February 28, 2018 Susan Rice (Former U.S. National Security Advisor from 2013-17) at Alumni Arena on February 28, 2018.

Susan Rice (Former U.S. National Security Advisor from 2013-17) at Alumni Arena on February 28, 2018

Zoom image: Jesse Williams (Actor and Activist) at Alumni Arena on November, 18, 2017 Jesse Williams (Actor and Activist) at Alumni Arena on November, 18, 2017.

Jesse Williams (Actor and Activist) at Alumni Arena on November, 18, 2017

Zoom image: Theresa Payton (Former White House CIO and Cyber Security CEO) at Alumni Arena on October 18, 2017 Theresa Payton (Former White House CIO and Cyber Security CEO) at Alumni Arena on October 18, 2017.

Theresa Payton (Former White House CIO and Cyber Security CEO) at Alumni Arena on October 18, 2017

Zoom image: A sold out audience in Alumni Arena highly anticipates Malala Yousafzai taking the stage. A sold out audience in Alumni Arena highly anticipates Malala Yousafzai taking the stage.

A sold out audience in Alumni Arena highly anticipates Malala Yousafzai taking the stage.

Zoom image: Malala Yousafzai (Girls Education Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner) at Alumni Arena on September 19, 2017 Malala Yousafzai (Girls Education Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner) at Alumni Arena on September 19, 2017.

Malala Yousafzai (Girls Education Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner) at Alumni Arena on September 19, 2017

Zoom image: John Legend (Academy Award-Winning Songwriter, Singer, Musician, Producer, Philanthropist and Entrepreneur) at UB's Alumni Arena on December 3, 2015 John Legend (Academy Award-Winning Songwriter, Singer, Musician, Producer, Philanthropist and Entrepreneur) at Alumni Arena on December 3, 2015.

John Legend (Academy Award-Winning Songwriter, Singer, Musician, Producer, Philanthropist and Entrepreneur) at UB's Alumni Arena on December 3, 2015

Zoom image: John Oliver (Political Satirist and Star of HBO's "Last week Tonight with John Oliver") at Alumni Arena on December 3, 2014 John Oliver (Political Satirist and Star of HBO's "Last week Tonight with John Oliver") at Alumni Arena on December 3, 2014.

John Oliver (Political Satirist and Star of HBO's "Last week Tonight with John Oliver") at Alumni Arena on December 3, 2014

Zoom image: David Blaine (Endurance Artist and World Renowned Magician) with audience members on stage at Alumni Arena on April 26, 2014 David Blaine (Endurance Artist and World Renowned Magician) at Alumni Arena on April 26, 2014.

David Blaine (Endurance Artist and World Renowned Magician) with audience members on stage at Alumni Arena on April 26, 2014

Zoom image: Sanjay Gupta (Emmy Award-Winning Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN) at Alumni Arena on March 26, 2014 Sanjay Gupta (Emmy Award-Winning Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN) at Alumni Arena on March 26, 2014.

Sanjay Gupta (Emmy Award-Winning Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN) at Alumni Arena on March 26, 2014

Zoom image: Mary Frances Berry (Author, Educator and Historian) and Diane Nash (Civil Rights and Peace Activist) at the Center for the Arts on February 26, 2014 Mary Frances Berry (Author, Educator and Historian) and Diane Nash (Civil Rights and Peace Activist) at the Center for the Arts on February 26, 2014.

Mary Frances Berry (Author, Educator and Historian) and Diane Nash (Civil Rights and Peace Activist) at the Center for the Arts on February 26, 2014

Zoom image: Walter Mosley (Novelist and Social Commentator) at the Center for the Arts on February 28, 2013 Walter Mosley (Novelist and Social Commentator) at the Center for the Arts on February 28, 2013.

Walter Mosley (Novelist and Social Commentator) at the Center for the Arts on February 28, 2013

Zoom image: The Dalai Lama (The Head of state in exile of Tibet and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people) at UB Stadium on September 19, 2006 The Dalai Lama (The Head of state in exile of Tibet and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people) at UB Stadium on September 19, 2006.

The Dalai Lama (The Head of state in exile of Tibet and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people) at UB Stadium on September 19, 2006

Zoom image: A sold out Distinguished Speakers Series event in Alumni Arena. A sold out Distinguished Speakers Series event in Alumni Arena.

A sold out Distinguished Speakers Series event in Alumni Arena.