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13-14 Featured Speakers

Featured Speakers Series

Kent State University at Stark's Featured Speakers Series brings national and international experts in civil rights, politics, education, environmental activism, literature and arts to campus.

Notable figures have included civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, national political broadcaster George Stephanopoulos, journalist and National Geographic Explorer host Lisa Ling, rags-to-riches prodigy Chris Gardner, legendary drummer Max Weinberg, ice cream entrepreneur Jerry Greenfield, cinematographer Spike Lee and CNN's broadcast journalist Anderson Cooper.

2013-14 Ticket & Venue Information

  • Programs are free and open to the public.
  • Tickets are required and seating is limited.
  • Limit of 4 tickets per person.
  • Pick-up tickets at the Main Hall Information Desk, beginning at 8 a.m. each weekday, on the date listed with each speaker.
  • Ticket distribution is first-come, first-served. No phone reservations will be taken.
  • Programs are held at The University Center in Timken Great Hall.
  • Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Programs begin at 7:30 p.m.

2013-14 Featured Speakers

Robert EdselRobert Edsel

Monuments Men

Monday, April 7, 2014

7:30 p.m.

Tickets available March 17.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. on March 17.

Author and philanthropist Robert Edsel has dedicated the past 10 years to painstaking research about the Monuments Men, unsung heroes who saved the world’s greatest art and cultural treasures from the devastation of World War II. He authored three historical books on rescuing and protecting artistic masterpieces from Hitler’s reign and co-produced the Emmy-nominated documentary, The Rape of Europa. He is the founder and president of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, which earned a 2007 National Humanities Medal, the highest U.S. honor awarded for excellence in the humanities field. Captivated by Edsel’s writing, actor George Clooney directed and produced The Monuments Men, a film to be released in February 2014.


2013-2014 Past Speakers 


John HunterJohn Hunter

World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013
7:30 p.m.

Tickets available September 16.

John Hunter, a teacher, musician and filmmaker, is the inventor of the World Peace Game. During a compelling TEDTalk, which was selected by TED and the Huffington Post as "the most influential idea of 2011," he explained how this challenging game of collaboration and communication encourages students to explore the ideals of global harmony while accepting the reality of violence. Both the Secretary of Defense and the United Nations have requested him to speak, and at a recent conference, Bill Gates was honored to open for him. Hunter’s project is chronicled in the critically acclaimed documentary, World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements.

Billie Jean KingBillie Jean King

Pressure is a Privilege and Other Lessons in Business
and in Life

Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013
7:30 p.m.

Tickets available October 21.


Tennis champion and activist Billie Jean King won 39 Grand Slam titles during her career. Named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by Life magazine, this recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom has been a pioneer of social justice. In 1970, she founded the Women’s Tennis Association and successfully fought for equal monetary prizes for women. King notoriously defeated Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” match – one of the greatest moments in sports history. In 2006, the facility that hosts the U.S. Open was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to honor her remarkable accomplishments on and off the court.

Jodi PicoultJodi Picoult

The Facts Behind the Fiction

Monday, Feb. 24, 2014
7:30 p.m.

Tickets available February 3.

Updated at 10:45 a.m. on February 3.

Event attendees may purchase Jodi Picoult books with an autographed bookplate. There will not be a book signing.

A best-selling author of 21 novels, Jodi Picoult has been writing fiction since age five. As a student at Princeton University, she published two short stories in Seventeen magazine. Today, 14 million copies of her books are in print worldwide and she consistently receives international acclaim through numerous awards and reader response. Four of her books have been reproduced as television movies and her 2009 novel, My Sister’s Keeper, became a major motion picture, starring Cameron Diaz. The New York Times Bestseller List has debuted each of her last seven novels in the number one slot, including her newest work, The Storyteller


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Kelly Simonis
Special Events Coordinator
Office of External Affairs