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Inspiring Speakers

Ball State regularly presents engaging speakers whose innovative ideas and captivating life experiences enrich and inspire. This tradition of offering relevant social commentary and rousing academic discourse has led to the establishment of several lecture series, bringing global leaders, best-selling authors, and notable entrepreneurs to campus.

 Rachel Maddow and David Letterman converse onstage at Emens Auditorium.

Since its inception in 2009, the David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture and Workshop Series has hosted business, media, and academic leaders to share their perspectives on the latest communication and emerging media issues. Our students have been challenged to think in new ways through presentations and workshops with legendary newscaster Ted Koppel and Tom Kelley, author of best-selling The Art of Innovation. Letterman has made two celebrated appearances, moderating conversations with Twitter cofounder Biz Stone in September 2010 and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, host of The Rachel Maddow Show, in early December 2011.

The Excellence in Leadership Speaker Series has been bringing luminaries to campus since the mid-1990s. In September 2010, President George W. Bush’s former deputy chief and senior advisor, Karl Rove, spoke about the importance of midterm elections. That November, WNBA superstar Tamika Catchings visited with students about achieving in spite of a disability. In March 2011, Michael Uslan spoke of living his childhood dreams as executive producer of the latest Batman movies. The following November, David Axelrod, President Barack Obama’s senior advisor, shared his behind-the-scenes experiences of the White House.

The Bracken Environmental Lecture Series, endowed through the Bracken Environmental Fund, reflects Ball State’s commitment to sustainability. In 2009, The New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman detailed his outlook on the crises of destabilizing climate change and rising competition for energy. Multimedia journalist J. Carl Ganter shared his expertise about the economy and natural resources, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., one of Time magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet,” spoke about our environmental destiny.