25th Anniversary of the Featured Speakers Series

Featured Speakers Series

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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.

The community is invited to celebrate Kent State University at Stark’s silver anniversary season of the Featured Speakers Series with an impressive selection of personalities. Join us for exciting lectures by music industry strategist Troy Carter; acclaimed journalist Soledad O’Brien; Supreme Court Justice Alan Page; and distinguished astronaut Mark Kelly. For the past 25 years, this popular Kent State Stark series has been attracting thousands of campus and community members who take advantage of a rare opportunity to be introduced to national and international experts on a wide range of topics and issues that shape our society. 

Notable figures have included civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, national political broadcaster George Stephanopoulos, journalist and National Geographic Explorer host Lisa Ling, tennis star Billie Jean King, 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.


Ticket & Venue Information
  • Programs are free and open to the public.
  • Tickets are required and seating is limited.
  • A limited number of tickets will be available per person, determined by speaker.
  • 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 Conference Center in Timken Great Hall.

Upcoming Featured Speakers
 

Mark KellyMARK KELLY
Endeavour to Succeed
Wednesday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m.

 
SORRY, NO TICKETS REMAIN

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly’s life exemplifies leadership, teamwork and courage under pressure. In his naval career, he flew Gulf War combat missions, earning two Defense Superior Service Medals, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and other military awards. Selected to fly for NASA in 1996, he piloted the Endeavour and Discovery space shuttles, as well as visited the International Space Station on four occasions. He is involved in ground-breaking research with twin brother and fellow astronaut, Scott, making them the only siblings to have traveled in space. Kelly and his wife, former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-authored the best-selling memoir of hope and resilience, following her 2011 assassination attempt.


Past Featured Speakers

 
Troy CarterTROY CARTER
The Convergence of Tech, Culture and Hustle
Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

 
Tickets available September 14. Limit four (4) tickets per person.

The award-winning careers of Lady Gaga and John Legend, among others, are accredited to music industry professional Troy Carter. In 2010, the brand marketing strategist and entrepreneur founded the Atom Factory, a multidimensional, entertainment, media and music management company, regarded as an industry paradigm by his peers. Carter’s ability to predict trends, coupled with an uncanny understanding of content consumption and brand loyalty, has produced and nurtured many musical artists and thriving corporations. Atom Factory’s angel fund and technology division, AF Square, holds interest in more than 60 companies, including Spotify, Uber and Pinterest.


Soledad O'BrienSOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Diversity: On TV, Behind the Scenes and In Our Lives
Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m.

 
Tickets available October 26. Limit two (2) tickets per person.

Journalist Soledad O’Brien, one of today’s most respected and recognized broadcasting personalities, has eloquently covered the world’s breaking news at various networks, including NBC News, CNN, HBO and Al Jazeera, over the past 25 years. Deeply passionate about U.S. race relations, her critically acclaimed documentary series, Black in America and Latino in America, are among CNN’s most successful franchises. O’Brien’s authentic coverage of Hurricane Katrina, the Haitian earthquake, BP’s oil spill and other high-profile stories has earned her many awards. Her multiplatform company, Starfish Media Group, exposes challenging issues of race, class, wealth and poverty through personal narratives.


Alan PageALAN PAGE
Mentoring and Role Models: Two Things Youth Cannot Live Without
Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m.

 
Tickets available February 1. Only overflow tickets remain. Limit two (2) tickets per person.

Alan Page became Minnesota’s first African-American supreme court justice in 1992. Prior to his legal career, he was renowned as a defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings, playing in all four Vikings’ Super Bowl appearances and voted league MVP in 1971. A native of Canton, Ohio, and graduate of Central Catholic High School, he worked on a construction team that erected the Pro Football Hall of Fame more than two decades before his 1988 induction. His devotion for helping children prompted the Page Education Foundation which has awarded $12 million in grants to 6,000 students of color in exchange for their volunteered community service.


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Contact:

Kelly Simonis
Special Events Coordinator
Office of External Affairs
330-244-3223
ksimonis@kent.edu