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University Life & Services | Leading the Experience

University Life & Services


Distinguished Speakers Series

2013-2014 Speakers: The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton 10/23, Michio Kaku 9/25, Malcolm Gladwell 11/13, Berry & Nash 2/26, Sanjay Gupta 3/26, David Blaine 4/26

Photo: The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton

67th Secretary of State of the United States, 2009-2013
United States Senator (NY), 2001-2009
First Lady of the United States, 1993-2001

Undergraduate Student Choice Speaker

Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 8 p.m.
Alumni Arena, UB's North (Amherst) Campus

Hillary Rodham Clinton served as the 67th Secretary of State of the United States from January 21, 2009 until February 1, 2013, after nearly four decades in public service as an advocate, attorney, First Lady, and Senator.

As First Lady, Hillary Clinton advocated for universal affordable, quality health care and led successful bipartisan efforts to improve the adoption and foster care systems, reduce teen pregnancy, and establish both the Children's Health Insurance Program and Early Head Start, which provides support for children in the crucial first three years of life.

She also traveled to more than 80 countries as a representative of our country, winning respect as a champion of human rights, democracy, civil society, and opportunities for women and girls around the world.

In 2000, Clinton made history as the first First Lady elected to the United States Senate. She worked across party lines to expand economic opportunity and access to quality, affordable health care, including for wounded service members, veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserves. After September 11, 2001, she helped secure more than $20 billion for the rebuilding of New York and fought for the health needs of first responders who risked their lives at Ground Zero.

In 2007 and 2008, Clinton made her historic campaign for President, winning 18 million votes, and more primaries and delegates than any woman had before.

In her four years as Secretary of State, Clinton played a central role in restoring America’s standing in the world and strengthening its global leadership. Her "smart power" approach to foreign policy elevated American diplomacy and development and repositioned them for the 21st century -- with new tools, technologies, and partners, including the private sector and civil society around the world. As America's chief diplomat and the President's principal foreign policy adviser, Clinton spearheaded progress on many of our greatest national security challenges, from reasserting the United States as a Pacific power and imposing crippling sanctions on Iran and North Korea to responding to the challenges and opportunities of the Arab Awakening and negotiating a ceasefire in the Middle East. She pushed the frontiers of human rights and demonstrated that giving women the opportunity to participate fully is vital to the security, stability, and prosperity of all nations.

Today, Clinton continues to build on the nonprofit work she began nearly four decades ago through the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, which works to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment by fostering partnerships among businesses, governments, nongovernmental organizations, and private citizens.

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Photo: Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku

Theoretical Physicist and Bestselling Author
Graduate Student Choice Speaker

Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 8 p.m.
Alumni Arena, UB's North (Amherst) Campus

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Dr. Michio Kaku is the co-founder of string field theory (a branch of string theory), and continues Einstein's search for a "Theory of Everything," seeking to unify the four fundamental forces of the universe—the strong force, the weak force, gravity and electromagnetism.

Kaku is a bestselling author. His books include: Physics of the Future (2012); Physics of the Impossible (2009); Parallel Worlds (2006); Einstein's Cosmos (2005); Visions (1999); Beyond Einstein (1995) and Hyperspace (1994). He is the author of several scholarly, Ph.D. level textbooks and has had more than 70 articles published in physics journals, covering topics such as superstring theory, supergravity, supersymmetry, and hadronic physics.

A popularizer of science, Kaku has appeared on television (Discovery, BBC, ABC, Science Channel, and CNN to name a few), written for popular science publications like Discover, Wired, and New Scientist, been featured in documentaries like Me & Isaac Newton, and hosted many of his own including BBC's series on Time. Kaku also hosts two weekly radio programs heard on stations across the country: Science Fantastic and Explorations in Science.

Kaku received a B.S. (summa cum laude) from Harvard University in 1968 where he came first in his physics class. He went on to the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley and received a Ph.D. in 1972. In 1973, he held a lectureship at Princeton University. He holds the Henry Semat Chair and Professorship in theoretical physics at the City College of New York, where he has taught for over 25 years. He has also been a visiting professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, as well as New York University (NYU).

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Photo: Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell

Bestselling Author and Staff Writer for The New Yorker
2013 UB Reads Author

Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 8 p.m.
Alumni Arena, UB's North (Amherst) Campus

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Malcolm Gladwell has an incomparable gift for interpreting new ideas in the social sciences and making them understandable, practical and valuable to business and general audiences alike.

He's become so successful at this that, in 2005, TIME Magazine named Malcolm one of its "100 Most Influential People." He was chosen for Foreign Policy's "Top 100 Global Thinkers" 2010 and 2009 list, and is ranked number ten on "The Thinkers 50" 2011. And Newsweek chose him for the "Top 10 New Thought Leaders of the Decade."

His first two books, both New York Times #1 best sellers, were The Tipping Point and Blink. With his first book Malcolm embedded the concept of "The Tipping Point" in our every-day vocabulary and gave organizations new tools for understanding how trends work. This 2013 UB Reads selection describes that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.

In Blink he analyzed first impressions — the snap judgments that we all make unconsciously and instinctively — and he explores how we can master this important aspect of successful decision-making.

In Outliers, Gladwell suggests an exciting new approach to helping people succeed by using the factors that really foster success. Outliers debuted as a #1 best seller for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, Barnes & Noble, and Publisher's Weekly.

Gladwell's October 2013 book, David and Goliath, will be a topic of his upcoming lecture at UB and it explores the concept of the underdog. Gladwell uncovers the hidden rules that shape the balance between the weak and the mighty, the powerful and the dispossessed. He examines the battlefields of Northern Ireland and Vietnam, takes us into the minds of cancer researchers and civil rights leaders, and digs into the dynamics of successful and unsuccessful classrooms–all in an attempt to demonstrate how fundamentally we misunderstand the true meaning of advantages and disadvantages. When is a traumatic childhood a good thing? When does a disability leave someone better off? Do you really want your child to go to the best school he or she can get into? Why are the childhoods of people at the top of one profession after another marked by deprivation and struggle?

Malcolm is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine. His editor describes his work as a new genre of story, an idea-driven narrative that's focused on the everyday and combines research with material that's more personal, social and historical. Gladwell put together a collection of his best writing for his best-selling fourth book, What the Dog Saw. He was previously a reporter for The Washington Post.

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Photo: Diane Nash Photo: Mary Francis Berry

Mary Frances Berry & Diane Nash

Mary Frances Berry: Author, Educator and Historian
Diane Nash: Civil Rights and Peace Activist

UB's 38th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Keynote Speakers

Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 8 p.m.
Center for the Arts, UB's North (Amherst) Campus

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Press Relase: Diane Nash Added to UB's Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Event on Feb. 26

Dr. Mary Frances Berry was appointed by President Carter and confirmed by the Senate as a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. After President Reagan fired her for criticizing his civil rights policies, she sued him in federal district court and won reinstatement. In 1993, President Clinton designated her Chairperson of the Civil Rights Commission. She was reappointed to a six-year term in January 1999. She resigned from the Commission on December 7, 2004.

Berry was also one of the founders of the Free South Africa Movement, which initiated protests at the South African Embassy in the successful struggle for democracy in South Africa. She was arrested and jailed several times in the cause. Berry was Assistant Secretary for Education in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare during the Carter Administration. As Assistant Secretary, she gave general supervision to federal education programs. Prior to her service at HEW, Berry was a Provost at the University of Maryland-College Park, and then Chancellor of the University of Colorado- Boulder. Dr. Berry was educated at Howard University, the University of Michigan (Ph.D. in history), and the University of Michigan Law School. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.

Berry has received over 30 honorary doctoral degrees and numerous awards including the NAACP's Image Award, the Rosa Parks Award of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Ebony Magazine Black Achievement Award, the Hubert Humphrey Award of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and the American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Award. She is currently the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania.

Berry's books include The Pig Farmer's Daughter and Other Tales of Law and Justice: Race and Sex in the Courts, 1865 to the Present; Long Memory: The Black Experience in America (with co-author John W. Blassingame); Black Resistance White Law: A History of Constitutional Racism in America; The Politics of Parenthood: Child Care, Women's Rights, and the Myth of the Good Mother; My Face is Black is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations; And Justice for All: The United States Commission on Civil Rights and the Continuing Struggle for Freedom in America; and Power in Words (with co-author J. Gottheimer).

A Chicago native who had never experienced segregation in public accommodations before moving to the South, Diane Nash went on to become one of the pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement.

Nash's involvement in the nonviolent movement began in 1959 while she was a student at Fisk University. In 1960 she became the chairperson of the student sit-in movement in Nashville, Tennessee—the first southern city to desegregate its lunch counters—as well as one of the founding students of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. In 1961 she coordinated the Freedom Ride from Birmingham, Alabama, to Jackson, Mississippi, a story which was documented in the recent PBS American Experience film "Freedom Riders."

Her many arrests for her civil rights activities culminated in Nash being imprisoned for 30 days in 1961, while she was pregnant with her first child. Undeterred, she went on to join a national committee—to which she was appointed by President John F. Kennedy—that promoted passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Nash later became active in the peace movement that worked to end the Vietnam War, and became an instructor in the philosophy and strategy of non-violence as developed by Mohandas Gandhi.

Diane Nash is the recipient of numerous awards, including the War Resisters' League Peace Award; the Distinguished American Award presented by the John F. Kennedy Library; the LBJ Award for Leadership in Civil Rights from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum; and an honorary doctorate of human letters from Fisk University, her alma mater.

Her work has been cited in numerous books, documentaries, magazines, and newspaper articles, and she has appeared on such TV shows and films as "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Spike Lee's "Four Little Girls," and PBS's "Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years 1954-1965."

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During this 50th anniversary year of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act, our speakers will reflect on civil rights in America then and now. For resources featuring the 1964 Civil Rights Act please visit:

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Photo: Sanjay Gupta

Sanjay Gupta

Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN

Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 8 p.m.
Alumni Arena, UB's North (Amherst) Campus

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the multiple Emmy-award winning chief medical correspondent for CNN. Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon, plays an integral role in CNN's reporting on health and medical news for American Morning, Anderson Cooper 360°, CNN documentaries, and anchors the weekend medical affairs program Sanjay Gupta, MD. Gupta also contributes to CNN.com and CNNHealth.com. His medical training and public health policy experience distinguish his reporting on a range of medical and scientific topics including brain injury, disaster recovery, health care reform, fitness, military medicine, HIV/AIDS, and other areas.

In 2011, Gupta reported from earthquake- and tsunami-ravaged Japan, adding clarity and context to the human impact and radiation concerns. In 2010, Gupta reported on the devastating earthquake in Haiti, for which he was awarded two Emmys. His distinctive reporting in 2010 included live coverage on the unprecedented flooding in Pakistan.

Based in Atlanta, Gupta joined CNN in the summer of 2001. He reported from New York following the attacks on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001. In 2003, he embedded with the U.S. Navy's "Devil Docs" medical unit, reporting from Iraq and Kuwait as the unit traveled to Baghdad. He provided live coverage of the first operation performed during the war, and performed life-saving brain surgery five times himself in a desert operating room.

Gupta contributed to the network's 2010 Peabody Award-winning coverage of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2006, Gupta contributed to CNN's Peabody Award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina, revealing that official reports that Charity Hospital in New Orleans had been evacuated were incorrect. His "Charity Hospital" coverage for Anderson Cooper 360° resulted in his 2006 News & Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Feature Story. In 2004, Gupta was sent to Sri Lanka to cover the tsunami disaster that took more than 155,000 lives in Southeast Asia, contributing to the 2005 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award for CNN.

Gupta's passion for inspiring Americans to lead healthier, more active lives led him to launch "Fit Nation," CNN's multi-platform anti-obesity initiative. "Fit Nation" follows the progress of CNN viewers as they inspire each other while training for a triathlon.

In addition to his work for CNN, Gupta is a member of the staff and faculty at the Emory University School of Medicine. He is associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital and regularly performs surgery at Emory University and Grady hospitals. He holds memberships in the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves as a diplomat of the American Board of Neurosurgery, is a certified medical investigator, is a board member of the LiveStrong Foundation, and is a contributor to everydayhealth.com.

Before joining CNN, Gupta completed separate neurosurgical fellowships at the Semmes- Murphey Clinic in Tennessee, and the University of Michigan Medical Center. In 1997, he was selected as a White House Fellow, serving as a special advisor to First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Gupta contributes to the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes. He is the author of three best-selling books, Chasing Life (2007) and Cheating Death (2009), both of which became companion documentaries for CNN, and Monday Mornings (2012).

In 2003, Gupta was named one of People magazine's "Sexiest Men Alive" and a "pop culture icon" by USA Today. That same year, he also won the Humanitarian Award from the National Press Photographers Association. In 2004, the Atlanta Press Club named him "Journalist of the Year," and in 2009, he won both the first Health Communications Achievement Award from the American Medical Association's Medical Communications Conference and the Mickey Leland Humanitarian Award from the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC). In 2010, Gupta was honored by John F. Kennedy University with its Laureate Award for leaders in health and wellness. In 2011, Forbes magazine named him as one of the "Ten Most Influential Celebrities."

Gupta received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and a doctorate of medicine from the University of Michigan Medical School.

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Photo: David Blaine

Special Event with David Blaine

World Renowned Magician and Endurance Artist

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 8 p.m.
Alumni Arena, UB's North (Amherst) Campus

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For more than a decade, David Blaine has been attracting the world's attention with his high-profile endurance stunts. Starting his career as a magician who appeared to do the impossible with a deck of cards, he was soon following in the footsteps of Houdini - seeking out that which seems physically impossible and actually doing it. To that end, he's been buried alive in New York City for a week, barely survived being encased inside a six-ton block of ice for three days and three nights, stood atop a 100-foot-tall pillar in Bryant Park for 36 hours without a safety net, survived inside a transparent box in London on nothing but water for 44 days and spent one week submerged in a sphere-shaped aquarium at Lincoln Center, at the end of which he attempted to break the world record for breath holding. A year later, he succeeded live on The Oprah Winfrey Show, holding his breath for 17 minutes and 4 seconds.

Born in Brooklyn, Blaine discovered his passion for magic at the age of four when he saw a magician perform in the subway. His mother encouraged his passion and he began performing professionally at private parties by the age of thirteen. By the age of twenty-three, Blaine had created, directed and produced an original television program titled Street Magic, which garnered rave reviews by critics and revolutionized the way magic is portrayed on television. Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller called Street Magic "the best TV magic special ever done" and "the biggest breakthrough in our lifetime." The New York Times noted that Blaine has "taken a craft that's been around for hundreds of years and done something unique and fresh with it." The New Yorker claimed that "he saved magic." Since then, Blaine has produced several additional prime time specials.

Blaine has performed magic privately for U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Bill Gates, Henry Kissinger, Mayor Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg and Muhammad Ali, as well as President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia and other international leaders. He also performed alongside Michael Jackson, and during the Super Bowl halftime show.

In 2010, Blaine performed magic for 72 hours straight in Times Square, raising nearly $100,000 for relief efforts following the earthquake in Haiti.

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