UB's Office of Special Events has announced the lineup for its 14th annual Distinguished Speaker Series.
This year, animal ethologist Jane Goodall, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and film director Ken Burns will grace the Alumni Arena stage. The fourth member of the series, the Martin Luther King Jr. Commencement speaker, has yet to be announced.
In past years, the Department of Special Events in conjunction with the undergraduate Student Association has hosted heads of state, including former presidents George Bush and Jimmy Carter and current Vice President Dick Cheney, and well-known popular figures such as authors Mary Higgins Clark and Alice Walker, actress Carol Burnett, and newscasters Tom Brokaw and Sam Donaldson.
Goodall will open the series on Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. in Alumni Arena.
As the author of several books and an accepted authority on chimpanzees, Goodall has drawn a loyal following of her work and life both popular and scientific. She has researched in Africa, observing chimpanzees and their environment since 1960.
Following Goodall will be former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. As the first female Secretary of State, Albright is one of the most recognizable faces from the Clinton administration.
The final speaker in the series will be Ken Burns, critically acclaimed filmmaker, historian, director and executive producer of documentaries including The Civil War (1990) and most recently Jazz (2001).
Willian J. Regan, UB director of conferences and special events, selected Burns because he considers him a "mutually agreeable speaker [who has a] phenomenal understanding of American life."
The process of choosing speakers begins with Regan and his staff, who consider past nominees for the series. Jane Goodall, for example, was sought for last year's series but due to time conflicts was unable to come to UB. They then consult with series sponsors, who nominate other figures, to decide who to formally invite. Once the final list is compiled, who actually appears on the Alumni Arena stage is determined by price and availability.
Sponsors for the event include the Student Association, the University Bookstore, radio stations WBFO 88.7 and WNED, UB's School of Management, the Alumni Association, the Buffalo/Niagara Marriott and the Buffalo Zoo.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Commencement speech will be delivered March 13 at 8 p.m.