Campus News

Sam Nunn and William J. Perry to deliver Charter Lecture at UGA

Sam Nunn

Athens, Ga. – Former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn will be joined by former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry for the spring 2016 Charter Lecture at the University of Georgia.

Their discussion, titled “Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe in an Age of Terrorism,” is free and open to the public and will be held April 26 at 3:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

“Sen. Nunn and Secretary Perry have dedicated their lives to public service, and we are pleased to have them join us as distinguished Charter Lecturers,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Their topic is timely and one of great importance to our society. We are looking forward to a provocative and engaging discussion.”

The lecture is co-sponsored by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost and the UGA School of Public and International Affairs. Perry will be participating via videoconference from Stanford University, where he is a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Students from Georgia Tech will be participating in the discussion, as well, with UGA Meigs and Regents’ Professor Loch Johnson moderating questions submitted via the Twitter hashtag #UGACharter16.

“The SPIA faculty, students and staff are deeply honored that Sen. Nunn and Secretary Perry will deliver the Charter Lecture on April 26,” said SPIA Dean Stefanie Lindquist. “Sen. Nunn and Secretary Perry have contributed enormously to our national security and defense, and we look forward to their unique insights into these areas so critical to our students’ and our nation’s future.”

Nunn is co-chairman and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to prevent the use and spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. He served as a U.S. senator from Georgia from 1972 to 1996 and as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. His legislative achievements include the Department of Defense Reorganization Act and the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which provided assistance for more than 20 years to Russia and the former Soviet republics for securing and destroying their excess nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

Nunn is a distinguished professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech and serves on the board of trustees at the Washington, D.C., based Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he is chairman emeritus. He also serves on the board of directors for the Coca-Cola Company.

Nunn attended Georgia Tech, Emory University and Emory Law School, where he graduated with honors in 1962. He served six years in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve after active duty service in the U.S. Coast Guard. Nunn first entered politics as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives in 1968.

Perry is an emeritus NTI board member who served as secretary of defense from 1994 to 1997 and previously served as deputy secretary of defense and undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. He currently sits on the boards of directors of LGS Bell Labs Innovations and several emerging high-tech companies and is chairman of Global Technology Partners.

Perry received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford and his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University, all in mathematics. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was in the Army Corps of Engineers from 1946 to 1947 and served in the Army of Occupation in Japan. He joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1948 and was a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve from 1950 to 1955.

Perry has received several awards and decorations from U.S. and foreign governments, nongovernmental organizations and the military, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1997.

“Safeguarding and sustaining our world is a Signature Research Theme at the University of Georgia, and Sen. Nunn and Dr. Perry are among the most prominent thought leaders on the critical issue of global nuclear security,” said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten. “Their Charter Lecture will undoubtedly enrich the university’s extraordinary learning environment.”

The Charter Lecture Series was established in 1988 to honor the high ideals expressed in the 1785 charter that created UGA as the first state-chartered university in America. Past Charter Lectures have featured award-winning journalist Charlayne-Hunter Gault, biologist Edward O. Wilson and poet Natasha Trethewey. For more information on the Charter Lecture Series, see

Access provided for people with disabilities. Please call Katie Fite in the Office of Academic Programs at 706-542-0383 by April 19 for specific requests.