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Thursday, September 23, 2021
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Aly Raisman, Nikole Hannah-Jones headline 2021-22 Distinguished Speakers Series

Series will return to the CFA Mainstage Theatre beginning Oct. 13

Recognized as a MacArthur Genius and a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, Nikole Hannah-Jones is the creator of the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which highlights the legacy of slavery.
Recognized as a MacArthur Genius and a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, Nikole Hannah-Jones is the creator of the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which highlights the legacy of slavery.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman will headline UB’s 2021-22 Distinguished Speakers Series, the university announced Thursday.

The series, which makes its in-person return for the first time since before the pandemic, will also feature actor and UB alumnus Winston Duke and conservationist Jeff Corwin. The Center for the Arts’ Mainstage Theatre will play host to all the talks, which will each begin at 7 p.m.

“One of our university’s most popular traditions, the Distinguished Speakers Series, holds special significance for us as we celebrate UB’s 175th anniversary,” UB President Satish Tripathi said in a statement.

Students are eligible for free or discounted tickets to all speaker events, while supplies last, UB says. Students can access ticket information prior to each lecture. Other members of the UB and Buffalo community can purchase tickets to individual lectures or the entire series.

Aly_Raisman_Rio_2016.jpeg
Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil
The former team captain of the gold-medal winning 2012 and 2016 U.S. Women’s Gymnastics teams, Aly Raisman is the third most decorated American gymnast in history.

Duke will kick off the series with a talk on Wednesday, Oct. 13. An alumnus of UB’s Theatre and Dance department, Duke played M’Baku in the movie “Black Panther,” the third highest-grossing film of all time. He also acted in Jordan Peele’s “Us” and in the Netflix crime drama “Spencer Confidential.”

Raisman will take the stage next on Tuesday, Nov. 16. The former team captain of the gold-medal winning 2012 and 2016 U.S. Women’s Gymnastics teams, Raisman is the third most decorated American gymnast in history. Raisman has spoken extensively about self-care and positive body image.

Hannah-Jones will headline the first talk of the spring semester on Wednesday, Feb. 16. Recognized as a MacArthur Genius and a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, Hannah-Jones is the creator of the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which highlights the legacy of slavery. She has written extensively about school resegregation, racial injustice and housing policy.

Corwin will take the stage for the final talk of the year, on April 5. Originally scheduled for April 2020, Corwin will use his credentials as a celebrated TV host to tell the story of conservation and environmentalism. Corwin has hosted television series on ABC, NBC, Travel Channel, Food Network, Disney Channel and Discovery.

The 2021-22 series will mark a return to an in-person format, after the 2020-21 series was virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year’s series was presented via Zoom and featured Tony Award-winning actor Leslie Odom Jr., Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Collors and actress Tabitha Brown.

“With the return of our series to an in-person format, we are delighted to welcome to campus an eminent cadre of influential thought leaders — including a UB alumnus — who promise to engage us in candid, provocative conversations about some of the most compelling issues facing our society,” Tripathi said.

Justin Weiss is the managing editor and can be reached at justin.weiss@ubspectrum.com

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JUSTIN WEISS
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Justin Weiss is the The Spectrum's managing editor. In his free time, he can be found hiking, playing baseball or throwing things at his TV when his sports teams aren't winning. His words have appeared in Elite Sports New York and the Long Island Herald. He can be found on Twitter @Jwmlb1.

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