University of Akron Forum Series Brings National Figures to Akron Community


Akron, Ohio, Sept. 23, 2001 National opinion shapers, a Nobel laureate and a legendary American hero are among the list of dynamic speakers that comprise the 2001-02 Forum Speaker Series at The University of Akron.

This year's speakers include E.J. Dionne, Jr., a Washington Post national columnist, Jim Lovell, who commanded the near-tragic Apollo 13 moon mission; Steve Forbes, millionaire and former presidential candidate; Garrison Keillor, nationally syndicated humorist; Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient; and Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard and advocate for safer schools and community environments.

Annually, the series brings national and international speakers to campus providing the residents of Northern Ohio an up-close-and-personal look at the world's newsmakers. The series is sponsored by the Office of the President and the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, as well as the John S. Knight Lecture Series, the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics and the University Program Board.

E.J. Dionne, Jr., Washington Post columnist and best-selling author, will be the inaugural speaker Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. in E. J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall. His topic will be "One Nation, Divisible: Why the 2000 Election Left A United Nation Divided Into Partisan Halves." Sponsored by the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, Dionne excels in defining for readers the strengths and weaknesses of competing political philosophies.

Dionne began his column for the Post in 1993 and has been a regular commentator on politics on both television and radio. He has written two books, "Why Americans Hate Politics," and "They Only Look Dead; Why Progressives Will Dominate the Next Political Era," each receiving critical acclaim.

Jim Lovell, who captained the Apollo 13 space mission, will speak Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. His visit is sponsored by the Akron Press Club. Lovell, one of the most requested speakers in recent years, brings the spirit of teamwork and excellence to life with a presentation designed to inspire audiences. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Lovell has coauthored a book on the historic mission of Apollo 13, which later became the basis for the movie of the same name.

Steve Forbes will visit UA Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. in a visit sponsored by the Dorothy Garrett Martin Memorial Delta Gamma Lectureship on Values and Ethics. President and CEO of Forbes Inc., and editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, he is an influential pro-growth advocate, and a writer and speaker on domestic and foreign policy issues.

Garrison Keillor appears April 8, 2002 as the John S. Knight Lecture speaker. Host of the popular radio program "A Prairie Home Companion" and author of 11 books and a Grammy award recipient, Keillor will provide an entertaining evening of insights and stories. Single tickets for this free event will be made available March 29, 2002.

Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and Boston University professor, speaks at UA April 15, 2002 in a visit sponsored by the University Honors Program. Wiesel has worked on behalf of oppressed people for much of his adult life. His personal experience of the Holocaust has led him to use his talents to defend human rights and peace throughout the world.

Judy Shepard is the mother of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old murdered in 1998 in an anti-gay hate crime. She will speak April 23, 2002 in a program sponsored by the University Program Board. Since her son's death Shepard has made the prevention of hate crimes the focus of her work, speaking to audiences nationwide about what they can do to make their schools and communities safer, regardless of their race, sex, religion or sexual orientation. Shepard's presentation is also sponsored by the Coming Together Project, the Pride Center and the Victim Assistance Program of Akron.

The University of Akron Forum Speaker Series can be purchased as a subscription. All five events are $25 or $15 with a University I.D. Single tickets, on sale now, are $8 each or $4 each with a University I.D. For further information, contact the E.J. Thomas Hall ticket office, (330) 972-7570.