The University of Georgia’s fall 2023 Signature Lectures series will feature a broad array of renowned scholars and thought leaders from the worlds of art, literature, law, health care, journalism, government, the sciences and more.
“The University of Georgia is excited to host an exciting lineup of nationally recognized speakers as part of our fall Signature Lectures series,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Each semester, this series brings groundbreaking speakers from a wide range of disciplines to campus to share their insights and expertise with faculty, staff, students and members of the Athens community.”
Signature Lecture speakers are 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. All Signature Lectures are free and open to the public. Capacity is limited for some lectures, with registration required.
The fall 2023 Signature Lectures are:
Donna Hyland, president and chief executive officer, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Mason Public Leadership Lecture
Sponsored by the Institute for Leadership Advancement
Sept. 6, 10:20 a.m., Richard B. Russell Special Collections Libraries, Room 271
Hyland has played an instrumental role in high-impact projects as CFO, COO and CEO, including the merger of Egleston and Scottish Rite hospitals, the addition of Hughes Spalding Hospital and Marcus Autism Center and the advancement of the research partnership between Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Under her leadership, Children’s is consistently ranked among the top children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. Hyland is also spearheading one of the largest hospital construction projects in the state. The $1.5 billion North Druid Hills campus will include the Arthur M. Blank Hospital, set to open in 2024. Hyland’s dedication to pediatric health care has led to recognition as one of Georgia’s most influential leaders.
Mary Sarah Bilder, Founders Professor of Law, Boston College Law School
Constitution Day at UGA: “The Framing Generation and Female Genius”
Sponsored by the School of Public and International Affairs
Sept. 15, 2 p.m., University of Georgia Chapel
Bilder is the Founders Professor of Law at Boston College where she teaches in the areas of property, trusts and estates, and American legal and constitutional history. Bilder is the author of three books, numerous journal articles, blogs and op-eds. Bilder’s scholarship and expertise have been featured on the History Channel, C-SPAN, Documentary Group for the Constitution Project and in Annenberg Classroom videos. She was awarded the 2016 Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy and the James C. Bradford Prize for Biography from the Society for Historians of the Early Republic.
Lynsey Addario, award-winning photojournalist
McGill Lecture: “Of Love & War: Humanity & Resilience on the Front Lines”
Sponsored by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication
Sept. 20, 4 p.m., Livestream
Addario is an American photojournalist who has been covering conflict, humanitarian crises and women’s issues around the Middle East and Africa on assignment for The New York Times and National Geographic for more than two decades. Addario is the recipient of numerous awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship. She was part of The New York Times team to win a Pulitzer Prize for overseas reporting out of Afghanistan and Pakistan. She also received the Overseas Press Club’s Olivier Rebbot Award. Addario has been nominated for two Emmy Awards and she is the 2023 recipient of the McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage given by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Lawrence G. Hamann, Ph.D., co-founder, president and CEO of Interdict Bio
October 2023 Chu Lectureship: “The Arc of Innovation in Small Molecule Drug Discovery: Past, Present & Future”
Sponsored by the College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences
Oct. 4, 11 a.m., Pharmacy South, David and Jane Chu Auditorium (Room 101)
Hamann is the co-founder, president and CEO of Interdict Bio, a new venture-backed biotech company based in San Francisco. Interdict’s powerful, highly innovative therapeutics platform addresses historically undruggable targets in oncology, rare diseases, neurodegeneration and autoimmunity. In his prolific career of more than 30 years in drug discovery, Hamann has led teams responsible for more than 20 clinical stage compounds spanning multiple therapies, modalities and targets. He was awarded the American Chemical Society’s Division of Medicinal Chemistry Award, and he was inducted into the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame. Hamann earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Michigan.
Fred Child, host and senior editor, Performance Today
“An Old World Instrument for a New World Audience”
Sponsored by the UGA Performing Arts Center
Oct. 12, 6:30 p.m., UGA Performing Arts Center, Ramsey Concert Hall
Child is an Emmy Award-winning classical music media host and personality. He serves as host and senior editor of the most listened-to classical music radio program in America, APM’s “Performance Today.” His two decades as host have seen the program grow in popularity and listenership, as well as in creative scope. He is also a commentator and announcer for “Live from Lincoln Center” on PBS. In addition, he hosts musical events on stages across the country and around the world, enlightening and inspiring classical music audiences of all ages and backgrounds. His wife is composer Wang Jie, and they make their musical home in New York City with a musical Sealyham terrier named Pilot.
Abra Lee, horticulturist and author
Johnstone Lecture: “The Invincible Garden Ladies”
Sponsored by the State Botanical Garden of Georgia
Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m., State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Conservatory, Great Room
Lee is a storyteller and author of the forthcoming book “Conquer the Soil: Black America and the Untold Stories of Our Country’s Gardeners, Farmers, and Growers.” She has enjoyed a lengthy and successful career as a municipal arborist and airport landscape manager. Her work has been featured in publications including The New York Times, Fine Gardening and Veranda Magazine. Lee is a graduate of the Auburn University College of Agriculture and an alumna of the Longwood Gardens Society of Fellows, a global network of public horticulture professionals. In January 2023, she joined Oakland Cemetery, a revered garden cemetery and vibrant park located in downtown Atlanta, as director of horticulture.
Gene L. Dodaro, comptroller general of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office
Ethics Week Lecture
Sponsored by the School of Public and International Affairs
Oct. 31, 10:30 a.m., UGA Chapel
Dodaro became the eighth comptroller general of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2010, when he was confirmed by the United States Senate. He was nominated by President Obama from a list of candidates selected by a bipartisan, bicameral congressional commission. He had been serving as acting comptroller general since 2008. Dodaro has testified before Congress dozens of times on important national issues, including the nation’s long-term fiscal outlook, efforts to reduce and eliminate overlap and duplication across the federal government and GAO’s “High Risk List” that focuses on specific challenges—from reducing improper payments under Medicare and Medicaid to improving the Pentagon’s business practices. In addition, Dodaro continues to develop GAO’s efforts to meet the needs of Congress in such areas as science, technology and cybersecurity. As comptroller general, Dodaro helps oversee the development and issuance of hundreds of reports and testimonies each year to various committees and individual members of Congress.
Percival Everett, author and Distinguished Professor of English, University of Southern California
Georgia Writers Hall of Fame: “An Evening with Percival Everett”
Sponsored by the University of Georgia Libraries
Nov. 2, 6 p.m., Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries
Born in Georgia and raised in South Carolina, Everett received his M.F.A. from Brown University. He is the recipient of the Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the 2006 PEN USA Center Award for Fiction.
Rebecca VanDiver, associate professor of African and African American art, Vanderbilt University
Holbrook Memorial Lecture: “Making the South Modern”
Sponsored by the Georgia Museum of Art
Nov. 9, 5:30 p.m., Georgia Museum of Art, M. Smith Griffith Auditorium
VanDiver is an associate professor of African American art at Vanderbilt University. With a scholarly background rooted in the disciplines of art history and Black studies, VanDiver is particularly interested in Black women artists in the 20th century. Her talk will focus on the American South’s contribution to 20th-century modernism, which developed through various styles, themes, and artists, and especially emerged around key sites of artistic instruction such as the University of Georgia and the vanguard programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the region. This program is presented in concert with the exhibition “Southern/Modern,” and will feature a panel discussion including VanDiver; Shawnya Harris, Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art at the Georgia Museum of Art; and Jeffrey Richmond-Moll, George Putnam Curator of American Art at the Peabody Essex Museum.
Colson Whitehead, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Phinizy Lecture: “Reading and Conversation”
Sponsored by the department of history and the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts
Nov. 15, 5:30 p.m., University of Georgia Chapel
Whitehead is the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of 11 books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning novels “The Underground Railroad” and “The Nickel Boys.” His reviews, essays and fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper’s Magazine, Granta and many other publications. He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Book Award, the Carnegie Medal for Fiction and numerous other honors. Whitehead’s latest novel is “Crook Manifesto,” the second in his Harlem Trilogy. It was published in July 2023.
Edward S. Buckler, research geneticist, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and adjunct professor in plant breeding and genetics, Cornell University
D.W. Brooks Lecture Series and Faculty Awards for Excellence: “Advancing Agriculture: Leveraging Quantitative Genetics and Genomics to Improve Efficiency and Reduce Emissions”
Sponsored by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Nov. 16, 3:30 p.m., Georgia Center for Continuing Education & Hotel, Mahler Hall
Buckler is a USDA-ARS research geneticist and adjunct professor in plant breeding and genetics at Cornell University with an educational background in molecular evolution and archaeology. His group’s research uses genomic, computational and field approaches to dissect complex traits and accelerate breeding in maize, sorghum, cassava and a wide range of other crops. Having applied these technologies to over 2,000 species, the Buckler group now is exploring ways to reengineer global agricultural production systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ensure food security, improve nutrition and respond to climate change. With the USDA-ARS, he leads a program to promote the adoption of informatics and genomics tools by plant and animal breeding programs. For his contributions to quantitative genetics and genomics, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2014 and in 2017 received the inaugural NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences.
Requests for accommodations for those with disabilities should be made as soon as possible but at least seven days prior to the scheduled lecture. To request an accommodation, please notify the event contact. Event contacts are listed here.