Campus News

Fall Signature Lectures to bring notable figures to UGA

Events are free and open to the public

Nationally and internationally recognized leaders in fields ranging from the arts and humanities to politics and business will visit the University of Georgia this fall as part of the Signature Lecture Series.

UGA Signature Lectures feature speakers noted for their broad, multidisciplinary appeal and compelling bodies of work. Many of the lectures are supported by endowments, while others honor notable figures and milestones in the university’s history.

“Signature Lectures provide an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and members of the community to come together and hear a diversity of speakers and perspectives,” said Meg Amstutz, associate provost for academic programs and chief of staff. “Events such as these enrich the campus community by promoting the open exchange of ideas that distinguishes major research universities.”

All Signature Lectures are free and open to students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the general public. Upcoming Signature Lectures are listed below, and additions to the lecture series will be posted to the Provost’s Office website.

Alan Taylor

Alan Taylor, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Chair in the Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia
“Competing Constitutions: North America, 1783-1795”
Sept. 16, 1:30 p.m., Chapel

Taylor is the author of several books about the Colonial history of the U.S., the American Revolution, and the early American Republic. Two of his books, “William Cooper’s Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early Republic” and “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832,” have won a Pulitzer Prize. His most recent book is “American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804.”

Sponsored by the department of political science and the School of Public and International Affairs

John Crowley

John F. Crowley, chairman and CEO, Amicus Therapeutics
Mason Public Leadership Lecture
Sept. 20, 10:10 a.m., Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries Auditorium

Crowley has led Amicus Therapeutics, a global biotechnology company engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of novel treatments for persons living with rare and orphan diseases, since 2011. His involvement with biotechnology stems from the diagnosis of two of his children with Pompe disease—a severe and often fatal neuromuscular disorder. To find a cure for them, he left his position at Bristol-Myers Squibb and became an entrepreneur. Crowley is the subject of “The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million—and Bucked the Medical Establishment—in a Quest to Save His Children,” which was later adapted into the film “Extraordinary Measures.”

Sponsored by a grant from Keith Mason. Part of the Terry Leadership Speaker Series presented by the Institute for Leadership Advancement.

Steven Hill

Steven Hill, legal adviser and director of the Office of Legal Affairs, NATO
“NATO @ 70: The Rule of Law Alliance”
Sept. 26, noon, Hirsch Hall, Room 120

Hill leads the multinational legal team in the NATO Office of Legal Affairs, which provides timely legal advice on policy issues, develops consensus solutions for compliance with multinational legal requirements, and promotes and defends the organization’s legal interests in numerous internal and external venues. Prior to joining NATO, Hill was counselor for legal affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

Sponsored by the Dean Rusk International Law Center at the School of Law

Irina Bokova

Irina Bokova, former director general, UNESCO
“Preserving Global Cultural Heritage in Times of War and Conflict”
Oct. 1, 5 p.m., Chapel

Bokova served as director general of UNESCO for two full terms, from 2009-17, and was the first woman to serve in this role. She has successfully advanced a strong United Nations agenda for the better preservation of humanity’s cultural heritage. In particular, she and UNESCO have been successful in criminalizing the illegal trade in cultural artifacts and in persecuting those who willfully destroy parts of cultural history.

HGOR Endowed Lecture, with support from the School of Public and International Affairs, the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and the School of Law. Part of the College of Environment and Design 50th anniversary celebration.

Chad Smith

Chad Smith, former principal chief, Cherokee Nation
“Cherokee Removal and the Trail of Tears: The Unlearned Lessons of Populism Today”
Oct. 10, 4 p.m., Miller Learning Center, Room 248

A major figure in Indian affairs, Smith has advocated on Native issues nationally and internationally, including at the United Nations. Smith served as a professor at Dartmouth College teaching Cherokee History and Native American Law. He is an author of books on leadership, art and Native American worldviews, including “Leadership Lessons from the Cherokee Nation: Learn From All I Observe.”

Sponsored by the Institute of Native American Studies in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

David Salyers (Photo by Aaron Coury)

David Salyers, entrepreneur and former Chick-fil-A executive
“START UP…. your future!!”
Oct. 24, 12:30 p.m., Jackson Street Building, Room 125

Salyers was one of the original two marketing executives at Chick-fil-A, where he was instrumental in the growth and development of the iconic “cow campaign” and championed a marketing department that rose to international prominence. His 2016 book, “Remarkable!,” which he co-wrote with Randy Ross, imparts leadership lessons that can transform one’s workplace culture. An entrepreneur at heart, he is now on the board of three corporations and is involved in nine startups more defined by meaning than money.

Sponsored by Innovation Gateway

Ashley Watson

Ashley Watson, chief compliance officer, Johnson & Johnson
Ethics Week Lecture
Nov. 4, 1:25 p.m., Chapel

In addition to serving as chief compliance office for Johnson & Johnson, Watson (JD ’93), is vice chair of the Ethics Research Center, which is committed to creating and sustaining high-quality ethics and compliance programs. She previously was senior vice president for ethics and compliance at Merck and also served as the senior vice president, deputy general counsel and chief ethics and compliance officer at Hewlett-Packard.

Sponsored by the School of Law and the Terry College of Business

Alvia Wardlaw

Alvia Wardlaw

Alvia Wardlaw, professor of art history and director of the University Museum at Texas Southern University
Alfred Heber Holbrook Memorial Lecture: “All of One Piece: The Life and Art of Mary Lee Bendolph”
Nov. 7, 5:30 p.m., Georgia Museum of Art, M. Smith Griffith Auditorium

Wardlaw is a leading expert in African and African American art who serves on the Scholarly Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Prior to joining the faculty of TSU, she served as curator of modern and contemporary art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for 22 years and organized more than 75 exhibitions on African and African American art.


Ertharin Cousin

Ertharin Cousin, Payne Distinguished Lecturer, Stanford University
D.W. Brooks Lecture and Awards: “Achieving Food Security and Planetary Health: A Solvable Enigma”
Nov. 12, 3:30 p.m., UGA Center for Continuing Education & Hotel, Mahler Hall

Prior to joining the faculty of Stanford, Cousin served as executive director of the world’s largest humanitarian organization, the United Nations World Food Programme, with 14,000 staff serving 80 million vulnerable people across 75 countries. She is a Distinguished Fellow at Stanford’s Center on Food Security and the Environment and its Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.

Alicia Elsbeth Stallings (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images for Homefront TV)

A.E. Stallings and John T. Edge, moderated by Virginia Prescott
Georgia Writers Hall of Fame Author Discussion
Nov. 17, 4 p.m. Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries, Room 271

Stallings (BA ’90) is an American poet who has published three collections of poetry, “Archaic Smile,” “Hapax” and “Olives,” as well as a verse translation of “Lucretius, The Nature of Things.” She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation and was a 2019 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

John T. Edge

John T. Edge

Edge has served as director since the 1999 founding of the Southern Foodways Alliance, an institute of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. Winner of the M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award from the James Beard Foundation, he is author of “The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South.” Edge is also the host of the television show “TrueSouth,” which airs on the SEC Network and on ESPN.

Virginia Prescott

Prescott is the Gracie Award-winning host of “On Second Thought” for Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Sponsored by the University of Georgia Libraries

Requests for accommodations for those with disabilities should be made as soon as possible but at least seven days prior to the scheduled lecture. Please contact Katie Fite in the Office of Academic Programs at 706-542-0383 or at to request accommodations.