UNCP Campus Engagement and Leadership is pleased to present the Distinguished Speaker Series. The Series is designed to enhance the environment of the University and local community by engaging thought-provoking speakers in discussions on various topics of cultural, political and social importance. Previous speakers include: Bill Nye the Science Guy, Maya Angelou, Cornel West, Gabby Douglas, and Diane Guerrero.
Meet, Greet and Network
The Career Center is hosting a meet, greet and networking sessions for each distinguished speaker. They will be hosted the day of each speaker, from 5-5:30 p.m., in the Career Center Collaboration Lab in the University Center. Light refreshments will be served.
Current Distinguished Speakers
Jesse Cole is the founder of Fans First Entertainment, Owner of Savannah Bananas and author of Find Your Yellow Tux. He has have welcomed more than 1 million fans to his ballpark and the Bananas have grown to more than 1 million social media followers. He’s been featured on MSNBC, CNN, CBS, ESPN, and once at his three-year-old son’s show and tell. Cole will kick off the 2021-22 Distinguished Speaker Series at 7 pm, on October 12, 2021 at Givens Performing Arts Center.
Tommy Orange is the author of There There, a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about a side of America few of us have ever seen: the lives of urban Native Americans. One of The New York Times' top books of 2018 and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, There There shows us violence and recovery, hope and loss, identity and power, dislocation and communion, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people. Orange talks about his craft, the writing process, Native American history and culture, often in dynamic and frank in-conversation programs. Orange also wrote a piece for GQ Magazine about Indigenous film star, Wes Studi. He will appear at 7 p.m. on November 16, 2021, at GPAC.
Bakari Sellers is an attorney, political commentator, and politician. He served in the South Carolina House of Representatives for the 90th District from 2006-2014. Sellers represented South Carolina's 90th district in the lower house of the state legislature from 2006 to 2014, becoming the youngest African American elected official in the country at age 22. He vacated his seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives to run for Lieutenant Governor in 2014 but lost to Henry McMaster. He was succeeded in the House by Justin T. Bamberg. Sellers is currently a political analyst on CNN. Bakari’s niece is a soccer player at UNCP. Sellers will speak at 7 p.m. on February 28, 2022, at GPAC.
Dr. Megan Ranney is a practicing emergency physician, researcher, and advocate for innovative approaches to health. Her work focuses on the intersection between digital health, violence prevention, and population health. She is the Associate Dean of Strategy and Innovation for the School of Public Health, as well as founding Director of the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health. She is co-founder and Senior Strategic Advisor to the American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine (AFFIRM) at the Aspen Institute, which creates practical, scalable, and immediate health-based solutions to reduce all forms of firearm-related injuries in the United States. She will speak at 7 p.m. on March 7, 2022, at the Thomas Hall Upchurch Auditorium.
Angeline Boulley, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is a storyteller who writes about her Ojibwe community. Her debut and best-selling novel, Firekeeper's Daughter, is a groundbreaking thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community. Soon to be adapted at Netflix for TV with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's production company, Higher Ground. Most recently, she was the Director for the Office of Indian Education (OIE) at the U.S. Department of Education. Previously, she was her tribe’s Education Director/Assistant Executive Director and served on the Board of Regents at Bay Mills Community College. She will speak at 7 p.m. on March 28, 2022, at the Thomas Hall Upchurch Auditorium.
Previous Distinguished Speakers
Distinguished Speakers Over the Years
Dr. Michael Osterholm April 15, 2021 Joy Harjo September 1, 2020 Cynthia Marshall January 21, 2020 Diane Guerrero August 26, 2019 Michael Eric Dyson January 24, 2019 Wes Studi November 5, 2018 Martin Sensmeier August 27, 2018 Gabby Douglas February 25, 2013 Frank Warren February 7, 2012 Cory Booker September 29, 2011 Hill Harper April 26, 2011 Judy Shepard February 21, 2011 Adam Beach November 29, 2011 Erin Gruwell September 15, 2010 Jodie Sweetin March 23, 2010 Sheryl Swoopes January 21, 2010 Valerie Plame Wilson November 5, 2009 Chuck D September 29, 2009 Bill Nye September 8, 2009 Doug Flutie March 17, 2009 Louis Gossett Jr. February 24, 2009 Hugh F. Johnson January 22, 2009 Hunter Campbell "Patch" Adams November 4, 2008 Arianna Huffington September 23, 2008 Bill Bradley N/A Bob Woodard N/A Rosie Perez N/A James Brown April 19, 2007 Pat Buchanan March 20, 2007 Nikki Giovanni February 15, 2007 Mo Rocca November 2, 2006 Nancy Grace September 12, 2006 Roy Firestone March 28, 2006 Tavis Smiley February 11, 2006 Nicholas Sparks October 17, 2005 Dick Vitale April 11, 2005 Cornel West February 24, 2005 Judy Woodruff November 15, 2004 Mark Russell September 15, 2004 Spike Lee February 2, 2004 Dave Barry December 2, 2003 Billy Mills November 3, 2003 Soledad O'Brien September 23, 2003 Rita Moreno March 11, 2003 James Earl Jones February 18, 2003 Henry Winkler November 12, 2002 Jane Elliott October 9, 2002 Lynn Russell September 24, 2002 Sherman Alexie April 2, 2002 Maya Angelou February 26, 2002 Edward James Olmos November 20, 2001 Ralph Nader October 30, 2001 Erin Brockovich September 27, 2001 Oliver North April 10, 2001 Julian Bond February 14, 2001 Bruce Jenner January 9, 2001 James Carville November 26, 2000 Deborah Norville September 7, 2000
More speakers announced soon.