Filmmaker Ken Burns spoke at the fifth Kent State University Presidential Speaker Series on Tuesday, April 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center (MAC Center).
Burns’ appearance was sponsored by Kent State’s Office of the Provost, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of the Arts and the College of Communication and Information.
“It is a true honor to bring Ken Burns to Kent,” said Kent State President Lester A. Lefton. “As one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, he has brought history to life for millions around the world.”
Ken Burns has been making films for more than 30 years. Since the Academy Award-nominated “Brooklyn Bridge” in 1981, Burns has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made.
His landmark series “The Civil War” was the highest-rated series in the history of American Public Television and attracted an audience of 40 million during its premiere in September 1990. In addition to directing “The Civil War,” Burns served as producer, co-writer, chief cinematographer, music director and executive producer. The film was honored with more than 40 major film and television awards.
Burns was the director, producer, co-writer, chief cinematographer, music director and executive producer of the Public Television series “Baseball.” Four-and-a-half years in the making and 18-and-a-half hours in length, the film covers the history of baseball from the 1840s to the present. It became the most watched series in PBS history, attracting more than 45 million viewers.
In fall 2009, PBS broadcast the Emmy Award-winning “The National Parks: America's Best Idea.” Directed and co-produced by Burns, the six-part series focuses on the ideas and individuals that helped propel the parks into existence.
In November 2012, PBS broadcast “The Dust Bowl,” a two-part series about the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history. Other recent projects include “The Central Park Five” and “Prohibition.”
Burns’ films have won 12 Emmy Awards and two Oscar nominations, and in 2008, he was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been the recipient of more than 25 honorary degrees and is a sought after public speaker, appearing at colleges, civic organizations and business groups throughout the country.
Projects currently in production include “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” a seven-episode series scheduled for broadcast in the fall of 2014, as well as films on the Gettysburg Address, Jackie Robinson, the Vietnam War and the history of country music.
In addition to being the spring Presidential Series Speaker, Burns’ appearance served as the keynote address for the 2014 Symposium on Democracy.
About the Kent State University Presidential Speaker Series
The Kent State Presidential Speaker Series seeks to bring high-profile, world-renowned experts to Kent State for serious, thought-provoking discussions and conversations. The program enhances the engagement of the world beyond Kent State’s campuses, which is one of the university’s strategic goals.
For more information about Kent State University’s Presidential Speaker Series, visit www.kent.edu/president/speakers. For questions about the Kent State Presidential Speaker Series event, please call 330-672-2216 during normal business hours or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Symposium on Democracy
The tragic events of May 4, 1970, at Kent State University had a profound impact on the university, the nation and the world. The Symposium on Democracy is part of Kent State’s commemoration of the May 4, 1970, events. The purpose of the Symposium on Democracy is to honor the memories of the four students who lost their lives on that day – Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder – with an enduring dedication to scholarship that seeks to prevent violence and to promote democratic values and civil discourse.
For more information about this year’s symposium, “Voices of the American Experience,” which occurs April 22-24, visit www.kent.edu/democracy. For questions about the Symposium on Democracy, contact David Hassler at email@example.com or 330-672-1769.