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UGA announces Signature Lectures for 2014-2015

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia has created a new Signature Lectures designation to highlight campus talks by some of the world’s most prominent thought leaders.

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 reaffirm the university’s role as a hub for the exchange of ideas, and they enrich the campus learning environment by bringing students, faculty, staff and community members together,” said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.

Campus lectures designated as Signature Lectures will be announced annually at the beginning of the academic year by Office of Academic Programs.

“The University of Georgia has a long tradition of bringing compelling speakers to campus, and I hope that our students in particular will take advantage of the opportunity to hear from some of the leading voices of our day,” said Meg Amstutz, associate provost for academic programs. “The Signature Lecture designation is one way to help point our students to a variety of talks that will enrich their experiences here.”

Upcoming Signature Lectures are listed below, and additions to the lecture series will be posted to the Provost’s Office website at

David Mayhew, Sterling Professor of Political Science, Yale University
“What Does a President’s Fourth Congress Look Like?”
George S. Parthemos Lecture
Oct. 15, 3:30 p.m., Room 271 Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries
Mayhew is one of the world’s leading authorities on American party politics and Congress. This year marks the 40th anniversary of his landmark book “The Electoral Connection.” The lecture is sponsored by the department of political science in the School of Public and International Affairs.

Gerald L. Early, Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters, Professor of English and of African and African-American Studies, Washington University in St. Louis
“The Birth of the Cool: Race, the Military, and the Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson”
Phi Beta Kappa 100th Anniversary Lecture
Oct. 17, 11:15 a.m., UGA Chapel
Early is a noted essayist and American culture critic. He has served as a consultant on several Ken Burns documentary films, among them “Baseball,” “Jazz” and an upcoming PBS film on the life of Jackie Robinson. Early was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve on the National Council on the Humanities and began his five-year term in August 2013. The lecture is sponsored by Phi Beta Kappa and the Office of Academic Programs.

Eric Foner, Pulitzer-prize winning author
“Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad”
Gregory Distinguished Lecture
Oct. 27, 4 p.m., M. Smith Griffith Auditorium, Georgia Museum of Art
Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, is one of this country’s most prominent historians. He is author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.” The event is supported by the Amanda and Greg Gregory Graduate Studies Enhancement Fund in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Mary Sue Coleman, retired president of the University of Michigan
“Public Higher Education in the 21st Century: Can America Continue to Lead?”
Louise McBee Lecture
Dec. 2, 11 a.m., Chapel
Coleman served 12 years as president of the University of Michigan (2002-2014) where she was named by Time magazine as one of the nation’s “10 best college presidents.” Previously, Coleman served as president of the University of Iowa (1995-2002). The event is sponsored by the Institute of Higher Education.

Paul Kurtz, associate dean and professor emeritus for the UGA School of Law
Founders Day Lecture
Jan. 27, 1:30 p.m., Chapel
Kurtz was a faculty member at the University of Georgia School of Law from 1975 to 2013, specializing in criminal law and family law, and served as the law school’s associate dean (1991-2013). The annual Founders Day Lecture recognizes the date that UGA was established. In 1785, the Georgia General Assembly adopted a charter creating the university as the nation’s first state-chartered institution of higher education. The event is sponsored by the UGA Alumni Association and the Emeriti Scholars

Glenda Hatchett, former chief presiding judge of the Fulton County, Georgia Juvenile Court
Feb. 6, 2 p.m., Chapel
Georgia’s first African-American chief presiding judge of a state court, Hatchett, also presided over the twice Emmy-nominated syndicated show “Judge Hatchett.” Hatchett previously served as senior attorney for Delta Air Lines and was named by Ebony Magazine as one of “100 Best and Brightest Women in Corporate America” for her work there. Hatchett also is the author of the national best-selling books “Dare to Take Charge” and “Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say.” The event is sponsored by the Office of the President.

Mike Slive, Southeastern Conference Commissioner
Mason Public Leadership Lecture
Date TBA
As the seventh commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, Slive has helped shape the landscape of college sports, leading the adoption of a new and effective league-wide NCAA compliance initiative; engineering landmark television contracts, including the launch of a conference network; and guiding the conference through expansion, welcoming two new institutions. The event is part of the Institute for Leadership Advancement’s Terry Leadership Speaker Series, supported by a contribution from Terry College of Business alumnus and lawyer Keith Mason.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University
Peabody/Smithgall Lecture
Spring 2015; date TBA
Literary scholar, filmmaker, journalist, cultural critic and institution builder, Gates has created 13 documentary films and authored 16 books and scores of articles. Gates’ most recent film, the six-part PBS documentary series “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross,” which he wrote, executive produced and hosted, earned the 2013 Peabody Award and NAACP Image Award. Gates is currently shooting the next season of “Finding Your Roots,” airing on PBS in fall 2014. The event is sponsored by UGA’s Peabody Awards.

The University of Georgia hosts numerous lecturers throughout the calendar year sponsored by various colleges, schools, and units. These academic events may be found on the UGA Master Calendar at For more information about the Signature Lecture Series, contact Katie Fite in the Office of Academic Programs at 706-542-0383 or