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UB Distinguished Speakers Series announces 2012-13 schedule

by jmaloni
Mon, Aug 6th 2012 05:50 pm

Comedian Steve Martin, political commentator David Brooks and former First Lady Laura Bush will bring their voices to the lineup for the University at Buffalo's 26th annual Distinguished Speakers Series, which will run from Sept. 20 through April 27, 2013. Each event begins at 8 p.m. on the UB North Campus.

UB President Satish K. Tripathi calls this year's lineup of speakers "truly world-class educators, leading public figures at the vanguard of 21st century arts and culture, science and global policy. We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring their voices to our university and our community through this series."

This year's speakers are known to have written bestselling, and sometimes provocative, books. They have been cited for corporate excellence, and received honors such as a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, the American Comedy Award, the O. Henry Award, and the Library of Congress Living Legend Medal. They have also been included in Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential Scientists and Thinkers" and Newsweek's "100 Americans for the Next Century."

"This year it will reflect what UB is all about: citizenship, service, diversity, discovery and a little bit of fun. And in bringing leading voices in key areas of concern and opportunity to our community for our collective consideration, the series serves its original intentions well," says Dennis Black, UB vice president for university life and services.

Conservative political and cultural commentator David Brooks will open the series on Sept. 20 in the UB Center for the Arts. Brooks is an op-ed editor at The New York Times, senior editor at The Weekly Standard, a contributing editor at Newsweek and the Atlantic Monthly, and currently a commentator on "PBS NewsHour" and "All Things Considered" on National Public Radio.

Brooks will be followed by former First Lady Laura Bush on Oct. 10 in Alumni Arena. Bush is the wife of former president George W. Bush and recognized in her own right as a champion of children's education, human rights and health-care initiatives here and abroad, among them the "Ready to Read, Ready to Learn," initiative and global literacy programs. Her efforts have earned her honors from the United Nations, the Elie Wiesel Foundation, the Kuwait-American Foundation, Vanderbilt University, the American Library Association and many other groups. 

The next speaker will be social entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes and the man behind the growing One for One movement, on Nov. 15 in Alumni Arena. Mycoskie has worked with the assistance of humanitarian organizations throughout the world to provide more than 600,000 pairs of new shoes to children in need. 

Going into 2013, bestselling novelist and social commentator Walter Mosley will present the keynote address at UB's 37th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Event on Feb. 28 in the Center for the Arts. He is the author of more than 35 books, ranging from crime novels to literary fiction, nonfiction, political essays, young adult books and science fiction. In his work, Mosley has explored the black experience in America over the past seven decades, beginning with the migration of African-Americans from the Deep South to his native Los Angeles in the post-World War II era, and on to New York City after President Obama's election.

 Afterward, the Graduate Student Choice Speaker, Steven Pinker, will appear on March 27, also in the Center for the Arts. Pinker is a Canadian-born experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist and popular science author who employs verve, wit and popular culture to help non-specialists understand the science behind human thought and action. Pinker is known within the field of psychology for his theories of how cognition works, the theory of language acquisition, research on the syntax, morphology and meaning of verbs, and his criticism of neural network models of language.

The 2012-13 series will close on April 27 in Alumni Arena with the Undergraduate Student Choice Speaker, actor, comedian, playwright, producer and musician Steve Martin. He began his career in the 1960s as a television writer and won an Emmy Award for his work on the hit series "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour." His outstanding career as a stand-up comedian was launched by frequent appearances on "The Tonight Show." Martin was well known in that genre before he went on to host "Saturday Night Live" a record number of times and launch a successful career as a producer, actor and screenwriter of feature films (including "Roxanne," "My Blue Heaven," "L.A. Story" and "Father of the Bride"). He also authored several successful books.

Order forms for 2012-13 Distinguished Speaker Series subscriptions can be downloaded at: www.buffalo.edu/dss, and are also available at the UB Alumni Arena Ticket Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets for individual lectures will go on sale Aug. 16. Tickets for the Bush, Mycoskie and Martin lectures will be available through the UB Alumni Arena Ticket Office and Ticketmaster locations. Tickets for Brooks, Mosley and Pinker can be purchased through the UB Center for the Arts Ticket Office or by visiting www.ubcfa.org for online ticket purchase options.

For more information on the speakers, subscription and ticket orders and series sponsors, visit http://www.buffalo.edu/dss.

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