Distinguished Lecture Series

Lecture Archives


From Lone Star to Leading Star: Exploring the History of Texas

November 14, 2019

This lecture featured best-selling author Stephen Harrigan, author of a recent book entitled Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas. This lecture was held in the J. Conrad Dunagan Library at UT Permian Basin.

Due to camera problems, no photos are available.

The Wartime Leadership of Winston Churchill

February 6, 2019

This lecture featured historian and author Andrew Roberts, author of the recent biography Churchill: Walking with Destiny, described by the Wall Street Journal as “unarguably the best single-volume biography of Churchill.” In recognition of Churchill’s love of Shakespeare, this lecture was held at Odessa’s Globe Theater.


Shale and Texas Energy: Past and Future

April 26, 2018

This lecture featured scholar Amy Myers Jaffe, public official Christi Craddick (Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission), and investor and author Gary Sernovitz; the lecture was moderated by Jacki Pick, host of the Dallas based radio program the Jacki Daily Show.

An Evening with Jackie Joyner-Kersee

February 20, 2018

This lecture featured athlete, author, and educator Jackie Joyner-Kersee.


An Evening with Eric Metaxas

November 16, 2017

This lecture featured author and radio host Eric Metaxas. Metaxas spoke on the interrelationship of faith, virtue, and freedom in history, including in the lives of Martin Luther, William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and in the creation of the United States. This lecture also served as the opening event for a new joint lecture series intended to promote unity between Midland and Odessa, entitled “Start the Conversation.”

Accelerating U.S. Economic Growth: How the Permian Basin Can Help

October 12, 2017

This lecture featured economists Steve Moore & Dr. Ray Perryman discussing the impact of the oil and gas industry on the economy. Moore primarily spoke about the national economy, while Perryman spoke about the local economy.

Humor in Leadership: An Evening with Terry Crews

April 27, 2017

This lecture featured Terry Crews, the action-movie hero, sitcom star, syndicated game show host, Old Spice pitchman, former NFL player, and best-selling author. Crews spoke to a crowd of over 1,400 about how humor has helped guide him and shape him into the leader he is today. Speaking to many young audience members, Crews spoke about the importance of creativity and hard work.


Election 2016: Mandate for Our Next President

September 30, 2016

This lecture featured Alan Colmes, radio host, and Judge Jeanine Pirro, host of Justice with Judge Jeanine. During this lecture, our guests primarily discussed what the next president should and needs to accomplish in his first 100 days. Topics ranged from education to immigration and national security.

Election 2016: Are You Voting for a Party, Person, or Principle?

April 28, 2016

The lecture featured four panelists: Juan Williams (Fox News Contributor and Host of The Five, The Honorable Allen West (former U.S. Congressman and Executive Director of the National Center for Policy and Analysis), The Honorable Gilberto Hinojosa (Chairman, Texas Democratic Party), and Tom Mechler (Chairman, Texas Republican Party).

Black History – a Cornerstone of Americanism

February 12, 2016

This lecture featured Ben Vereen, the consummate actor, singer, and all around entertainer of our times. Vereen discussed his thoughts on the many proud contributions of African-Americans, current social movements and what we all can do to ensure maximum inclusion of every American.


The Power of Early Literacy: Foundations of Learning

October 22, 2015

This lecture featured Former First Lady Laura Bush – One of America’s most popular First Ladies, Mrs. Laura W. Bush discussed her life and shared a compelling voice for helping those in need. She spoke passionately about education, literacy, volunteerism, human rights and the issues of global importance she championed in the White House.

Our Hispanic Heritage: A Story of Achievement and Americanism

September 15, 2015

This lecture featured Geraldo Rivera – attorney, reporter, author & talk show host & Jackie Cruz – a Dominican–American actress, musician and former model, known for her role as Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales on the Netflix television series Orange Is the New Black. Geraldo and Jackie both delivered phenomenal lectures examining and celebrating the progress and achievements of Hispanic Americans in both Texas and the nation.

The Power of a Leader’s Promise

August 24, 2015

The lecture featured Alex Sheen, founder of the non-profit organization “because I said I would,” who spoke about the power of promises to bind people together and motivate leaders to great accomplishments and to ethical behavior. By special arrangement with Ector County ISD, Alex also spoke to students at Ector Junior High and Bonham Middle School.

Educating Texas: Complex Challenges – New Perspectives

April 21, 2015

The lecture featured former 2014 Texas Gubernatorial Democrat Nominee & Author Wendy Davis. The goal of the lecture was to examine the state of affairs in Texas public education systems today, particularly with regard to funding. We discussed positive movements in the charter school arena, and what we can do to marry traditional and charter public school interests so that they sustain and support each other’s efforts.

Groundbreakers, Mavericks, and Trailblazers: How Women are showing 21st Century Leadership

February 12, 2015

The lecture featured former Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and host of the new television show “Amazing America” on The Sportsman Channel. The goal of the lecture was to examine and illuminate how women continue to exercise great leadership in action in our times. We discussed the general characteristics and demands of 21st century leadership, then talked about how women are meeting those challenges.


Confronting the Growing Affliction of Human Trafficking

October 16, 2014

Speakers: John Walsh, Texas State Representative Senfronia Thompson, retired Fort Worth Detective Manny Reyes, FBI Special Agent Kristin Rehlin, and Traffick911 CEO Deena Graves. Moderated by Pat Canty & Dr. Robert Brescia.

Blurred Lines: The National Economy – Whose Money Is It?

March 20, 2014

Speakers: Ben Stein, Ray Perryman, Richard Bowen. Moderated by Pat Canty & Dr. Robert Brescia.


A Return to Civility in American Discourse

October 16, 2013

Speaker: Mike Huckabee. Moderated by Pat Canty & Robert Brescia

Guns on Campus

March 21, 2013

Speakers: John R. Lott, Jr. and Dr. Michael Shermer. Moderated by Pat Canty, publisher of the Odessa American.


American Democracy on Trial – What Does the Future Hold?

November 1, 2012

Speakers: David Frum, Jeff Greenfield, Moderated by Pat Canty, publisher of the Odessa American.

All’s Fair: Love, War and Politics

March 20, 2012

Speakers: James Carville, “Ragin Cajun” and Political Consultant, and Mary Matlin, author, television and radio host, widely sought after political contributor. Moderated by Evan Smith, CEO of the Texas Tribune.


An Economic Overview: What’s Next?

April 9, 2011

Speaker: Richard Fisher, CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Moderated by M. Ray Perryman


The Women Behind the Words: Shaping a Leader’s Voice

October 14, 2010

Speakers: Peggy Noonan, Speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan and Aide to President George H. W. Bush, Dee Dee Myers, Press Secretary to President William Jefferson Clinton; 1st female Press Secretary in US History

Newt Gingrich – Lessons in Leadership

April 15, 2010

Speaker: Newt Ginrich, Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives


From Nixon to Bush: What President Obama Can Learn From Presidents Past

October 15, 2009

Speakers: Carl Bernstein, Journalist and Author, Bob Woodward, Journalist and Author

An Evening with Malcolm Gladwell

April 14, 2009

Speaker: Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times’ Best-Selling Author


Common Ground

October 30, 2008

Bob Beckel, USA Today Columnist, Author and Political Pundit, Cal Thomas, USA Today Columnist, Author and Political Pundit

A Discussion of National Politics

April 10, 2008

Speakers: Harold Ford, Jr. – Chairman of the National Democratic Leadership Council, Michael Steele, Chairman of GOPAC.


An Evening with Karl Rove

November 1, 2007

Speaker: Karl Rove, Former White House Chief of Staff, Moderated by Melissa Francis

An Evening with Margaret Spellings

April 7, 2007

Speaker: Margaret Spellings, US Secretary of Education


An Evening with Mikhail Gorbachev

October 17, 2006

Speaker: Mikhail Gorbachev, Former President of the Soviet Union

Terrorism and the Security of America’s Border

March 30, 2006

Speakers: David Aguilar, Chief of US Border Patrol, Daniel Benjamin, author – “The Next Attack”, Susan Burk, Deputy Coordinator for Homeland Security, Rick Flores, Sherriff of Webb County, Texas, Michael Perry, Vice‒President of General Atomics Corporation, Belen Robles, Former Chief Inspector of US Customs Office, El Paso, Texas, Moderated by Randi Kaye, CNN


Whatcha Gonna Do When the Wells Run Dry

October 6, 2005

Speakers: Dr. Kenneth Deffeyes, author and expert on world energy supplies, Dr. Amos Nur, Professor of Geophysics at Stanford, Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr., Senior Advisor with the Eisenhower Institute in Washington, D.C., The Honorable R. James Woolsey, Former Director of the CIA, Moderated by Melissa Frances, CNBC

Weapons Of Mass Destruction

March 3, 2005

Speakers: Susan Eisenhower, Robert McNamara, Daniel B. Poneman, and Dr. Mitchell B. Reiss; moderated by Thomas Graham Jr.


The Media & The Presidency 2004

October 7, 2004

Speakers: Helen Thomas, Jeffrey Birnbaum, Edward H. Crane, Michael Waldman, Moderated by Bernard Kalb

The U.S. In The World Today: Nation Builder? World Police? Coalition Maker?

March 4, 2004

Speakers: William Kristol, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Robin Wright, Dr. Schlomo Ben-Ami, Moderated by Eleanor Clift


Challenges To American Foreign Policy In The 21st Century: Religion, Culture & Terrorism

March 6, 2003

Speakers: Peter Bergen, Robert Baer, Douglas Johnston, Ph.D, Ambassador Edward Walker Jr., Moderated by James J. Zogby

The Future Of American Politics: The Election of 2004

October 9, 2003

Speakers: Mona Charen, Arianne Huffington, Morton Kondracke, Ralph Nader, Moderated by Jonathan Alter


Is There An Impending World Oil Shortage? Its Meaning For America

October 3, 2002

Speakers: Henry Groppe, Michael J. Economides, Ph.D, Guy F. Caruso, Kenneth Deffeyes, Ph.D, Moderated by Leslie Haines

American Economy Of The 21st Century: New Challenges, New Possibilities, New Futures?

March 7, 2002

Speakers: Jean Sherman Chatzky, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Anthony B. Perkins, Gene B. Sperling, Moderated by Robert Krulwich


The American Family: A Fragile Future?

October 4, 2001

Speakers: Gary Bauer, Stephanie Coontz, Dr. David Elkind, Dr. Alvin Poussaint, Moderated by Anne Taylor Fleming

The Next Greatest Generation: How Women Can Give Shape & Expression To The New Millennium

February 1, 2001

Speakers: June Jordan, Ambassador Madeleine Kunin, Gail Sheehy, Betty Williams, Moderated by Morton Dean


Foreign Policy & The Threat Of Domestic Terrorism: Can Americans Feel Secure?

October 5, 2000

Speakers: Dr. Robert Gates, Dr. Richard Haass, Scott Ritter, Terry Waite, Moderated by Mary Alice Williams

Politics 2000: Virtue & Leadership? Idealism Versus Cynicism? New Hope For A New Millennium?

February 3, 2000

Speakers: William F. Buckley Jr, Elizabeth Drew, P.J. O’Rourke, Mark Shields, Moderated by Ray Suarez


Can We Come Together: Race & Reconciliation In The 21st Century

June 3, 1999

Speakers: Elaine Chao, Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., Charles J. Ogletree, Richard Rodriguez, Moderated by Ken Bode

The American Character: Its Meaning For Civic Culture

February 4, 1999

Speakers: Dr. Harvey Cox, David Gergen, Senator George Mitchell, Carl T. Rowan, Moderated by Diane Rehm


Media Ethics: Its Impact On Public Leadership & Culture

June 4, 1998

Speakers: Carl Bernstein, David Broder, Barrie Dunsmore, High Sidey, Moderated by Bettina Gregory

Positioning America For The 21st Century

February 5, 1998

Speakers: Carl Bernstein, David Halberstam, Haynes Johnson, James Reston Jr., General John J. Sheehan, Moderated by Margaret Warner


Challenges To The American Character In The 21st Century

June 5, 1997

Speakers: Clarence Page, Dr. Thomas Murray, Lawrence Eagleburger, Tanya Luhrmann, General John J. Sheehan, Moderated by Al Hunt

From Diversity To Unity: The Search For A National Conscience

February 6, 1997

Speakers: Arthur Schlesinger, Georgie Anne Geyer, William Raspberry, Richard Rodriquez, Richard Estrada


Presidential Leadership & The 21st Century

July 24, 1996

Speakers: Clarence Page, John Mashek, Gerald Seib, Rena Pederson, Paul Taylor, Moderated by George Christian