The UNT Distinguished Lecture Series
Though her role on the infamous Netflix series, “Orange is the New Black”, is Diane Guerrero’s most recent claim to fame, her experiences that led her to stardom have comprised a remarkable story that has gained Guerrero national attention, and even a spot as a White House Ambassador. Guerrero, a daughter of Colombian immigrants, experienced great adversity as a teenager when she was separated from her parents due to immigration laws and had to be raised by other families in their small, Boston-Colombian community while still actively pursuing her dream of becoming an actress. Instead of falling silent and laying low, Guerrero persevered and brought herself to stardom, and is now using her platform to discuss her experience of a divided family to unify the communities she engages with. As a passionate advocate for ethical, commonsense immigration reform, Guerrero’s story of overcoming adversity and achieving success is one that has moved thousands of people nationwide.
Distinguished Lecture Series at UNT
The University of North Texas Distinguished Lecture Series is chartered as a university-wide standing Administrative Committee. The objective is to provide the university and greater communities with a variety of distinguished lecturers and speakers that will bring significant interest, visibility and added prestige to the University of North Texas.
The selection of speakers will be conducted on a consensus basis, after suggestions have been sought throughout the university. The selected speakers must reflect a wide public recognition and appeal. Under no circumstances will the Series be used to promote the discipline of any particular academic unit, department, school or college within the University.
The Series will be administered by a committee composed of three (3) faculty representatives appointed by the Faculty Senate, three (3) staff representatives appointed by the UNT Staff Council, six (6) students appointed by the UNT Student Government Association, and one permanent ex officio faculty and/or staff representative to serve as administrative assistance to the committee, appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs. The President of the UNT Student Government Association or his/her designee shall serve as chair.
Dr. Mae Jemison
February 22, 2017
Astronaut, scholar, philanthropist, and physician can all be words to describe Dr. Mae Jemison, the first woman of color in space. Dr. Jemison’s diverse academic background has led her to found companies, conduct research beyond our generation, and inspire people of all backgrounds to dismiss societal norms and pursue their passions. Dr. Jemison is a catalyst for bold, innovative thinking, and combining the two seemingly opposite worlds of art and science.
February 9, 2017
Elizabeth Smart’s grueling nine months of captivity led her to becoming one of the strongest, most prominent child abduction advocates of her generation. Unlike many child abductees, Smart was reunited with her family in March 2003 and since then has dedicated her life to being an advocate for victims of abduction and abuse. With Smart’s lecture regarding overcoming adversity and encouraging her audiences to always fight back, Smart has been regarded as “the light at the end of the tunnel”, a beacon of hope for those who are enduring hardships in their own lives.
Using her platform, Smart has geared her life toward being a voice for others who have experienced abduction and abuse, whether that be from those whose lives she touches through her lecture circuit, or through the legislation regarding child abduction that she tirelessly fights for on the Hill. Smart’s story is a unique tale of adversity, hopelessness, and a turn for the better into a learning experience for any audience.
Carl Bernstein and PJ O’Rourke:
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the White House
October 5, 2016
With 2016 quickly coming to a close and voting season quickly approaching, the importance of knowledge of voting rights and deciding on a presidential candidate is becoming a prominent topic of conversation in America. Political commentators and renowned journalists Carl Bernstein and PJ O’Rourke have endured years of journalism and political scandal and have crafted their combined 50 years of experience to present: “Carl and PJ: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the White House”, an interactive, moderated forum which discusses presidential candidates and voter knowledge in a light-hearted, slapstick manner. Between Bernstein and O’Rourke’s quick wit and colorful sense of humor lies an important underlying message of importance regarding voter registration, exercising the right to vote, and candidate education.