Distinguished Voices Lecture Series

All Distinguished Voices lectures are free and open to the public, and require a ticket. For more information, please contact Kelly Gates, Assistant Director of Special Events, at kelly.gates@unf.edu or (904) 620-2117. If you do not find a lecture you are looking for on this page, please search in the on line calendar of events or go to Cultural Events.


If you have a disability and require an accommodation for this occasion,  please contact Kelly Gates, Assistant Director of Special Events, at kelly.gates@unf.edu or (904) 620-2117 five days before the event to enable us to provide you a reasonable accommodation for the event.  



Carl Bernstein

"An Evening With Carl Bernstein-The System Can Work: A Legendary Journalist Looks at America’s Government and Media from Watergate to the 21st Century."

Carl Bernstein

Thursday, November 6, 2014
7:00 p.m. at the Herbert University Center

This lecture is sold out.

 Few journalists in America’s history have had the impact on their era and their craft as Carl Bernstein. For forty years, from “All the President’s Men” to “A Woman-In-Charge: The Life of Hillary Clinton,” Bernstein’s books, reporting and commentary have revealed the inner-workings of government, politics and the hidden stories of Washington and its leaders.


In the early 1970s, Bernstein and Bob Woodward broke the Watergate story for The Washington Post, leading to the resignation of President Richard Nixon and setting the standard for modern investigative reporting, for which they and“The Post” were awarded the Pulitzer Prize.


Since then, Bernstein has continued to build on the theme he and Woodward first explored in the Nixon years–the use and abuse of power: political, media, financial, cultural and spiritual power. Renowned as a prose stylist, he has also written a classic biography of Pope John Paul II, served as the founding editor of the first major political website and been a rock critic.


At the podium, Bernstein addresses the increasing dysfunction of America’s governmental institutions and its devolving political-media culture. Though his presentation is a hard-eyed analysis, it is accompanied by rapier wit and constructive ideas for reversing the most consequential areas of national decline: the Congress of the United States (“the broken branch”); an increasingly secretive American presidency; an economy tilted against middle-class citizens; and a media landscape littered with misinformation and disinformation. His presentation – as regular viewers of “Morning Joe” and other broadcasts on which he appears can attest – is filled with both good humor and acute examination.


The author of five best-selling books, Bernstein is currently at work on several multi-media projects: a dramatic TV series about the United States Congress, a feature film with director Steven Soderbergh and a memoir about growing up at a Washington newspaper during the Kennedy era. He also appears regularly on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” is a contributing editor of Vanity Fair magazine and has been an on-air political analyst for CNN.


His most recent book was the national bestseller “A Woman In Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” acclaimed as the definitive biography of its subject, published by Knopf.


With Woodward, Bernstein wrote two classic best sellers: “All the President’s Men” (also a movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman), about their coverage of the Watergate story and “The Final Days,” about the denouement of the Nixon presidency.


A lesser-known part of Bernstein’s journalistic career is his tenure as a rock-critic at The Washington Post while a metro reporter before Watergate; he continues to write (very) occasionally about rock and classical music.


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is co-hosted by the UNF College of Arts and Sciences and the Pre-Law Lecture Series.

Chris Fischer

Tracking Great White Sharks: How Lessons from the Dinner Table Led to Global Exploration

Chris Fischer

Thursday, November 6, 2014
7:00 p.m. at the Andrew A. Robinson Theater

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More than 10 years ago, Chris Fischer set a course to become the voice of the world’s ocean, to bring the seas into people’s homes, and to create awareness and appreciation for marine environments on a global scale. From this foundation, he knew he could help shape public policy to help protect the world’s vast marine resources.


From 2002 to 2009, Chris hosted the Emmy Award winning "Offshore Adventures," a television series chronicling a life at sea: fishing, free-diving and conservation. Offshore Adventures was America's most-watched outdoor television show of its kind during its 180-episode run on ESPN, winning a total of four Emmys. Fischer created Offshore Adventures to expose people to the world’s ocean and to cultivate appreciation for the beauty and complexity of sea life. Conservation and sustainable fisheries management were the show’s foundation, echoed by Fischer’s now-famous send-off “Go out! Discover the world’s ocean and be a responsible steward of the seas.”


As a leading spokesman for responsible fisheries management, Chris joined the board of The Billfish Foundation (TBF) in 2005, a leading marine conservation organization. Working cooperatively with TBF and other science-based organizations, he led researchers on various scientific missions, primarily to tag and study billfish.


In 2007, the White House contacted Fischer to promote President George W. Bush’s signing of an Executive Order protecting striped bass and red drum populations. President Bush joined the Fischers for an episode of Offshore Adventures, fishing for stripers in the Chesapeake Bay.


Fischer was inducted into the prestigious Explorer’s Club in 2009, home to many of his heroes. He is among the world leaders for total number of flagged expeditions and was featured speaker (via video) for the series of events surrounding the 110th Explorers’ Club Annual Dinner in March 2014.


Since 2007, Chris Fischer has led 20 global expeditions to advance science and education while unlocking the many mysteries surrounding the life history of white sharks and other giants of the ocean. He has facilitated millions of dollars in collaborative ocean research, supporting the work of over 70 scientists from more than 40 international and regional institutions. Fischer’s ultimate goal is to explode the body of knowledge forward by enabling scientists and governments around the globe to generate groundbreaking data on the ocean’s apex predators in an open source environment, while advancing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education through a dynamic shark-based curriculum.


Fischer believes that being inclusive is inspiring and that education creates generational change, ensuring a future where we manage the world’s oceans in a centrist, data driven way. By breaking down collaborative barriers, institutions and researchers come together for resource-focused projects that allow us to learn at a rate otherwise not possible.


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is sponsored by The Brotman Family Coastal Lecture Series and UNF Coastal Biology.   


Ray Suarez

“Media, Politics and Washington”

Ray Suarez

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
7:00 p.m. at the Herbert University Center

This lecture is sold out.

Veteran journalist Ray Suarez is the permanent host of Al Jazeera America’s daily program "Inside Story." 


Suarez joined the new American news channel after an extensive television and radio career in which he excelled at delivering, as Al Jazeera America president Kate O’Brian put it, “compelling coverage of the most challenging news stories and events with objectivity and depth, punctuated by Ray’s own brand of thoughtful analysis. That’s exactly what ‘Inside Story’ is all about.” 


Suarez came from PBS’ "NewsHour", where he worked from 1999 to 2013, most recently as its Chief National Correspondent. He also served as the lead correspondent for the program’s global health coverage, reporting on some of the world’s most threatening health crises from Africa, Latin America and Asia. 


Before joining PBS, he hosted National Public Radio’s "Talk of the Nation" for six years. 


Among his other on-air credentials, Suarez hosted the monthly foreign-affairs radio program "America Abroad" for Public Radio International and co-hosted the nationally broadcast weekly political program "Need to Know" for PBS. From 2008 to 2011, he anchored the weekly Latino politics show "Destination Casa Blanca" for HITN TV. 


Prior to his public-broadcasting career, Suarez spent seven years reporting for Chicago’s NBC-owned station, WMAQ-TV. He began his career as a Los Angeles correspondent for CNN, a producer for the ABC Radio Network in New York and a reporter for CBS Radio in Rome. 


Suarez is the author of the critically acclaimed "Latino Americans", the companion book to the PBS documentary series of the same name, published in September 2013. He also is the author of "The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America and The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration" and has contributed to several other books. 


In 2010, Suarez was inducted into the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Hall of Fame. He is a co-recipient of two Alfred I. duPont–Columbia Awards for NPR’s on-site coverage of the first multiracial elections in South Africa and of the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. His other honors include the Ruben Salazar Award from the National Council of La Raza, the Distinguished Policy Leadership Award from UCLA's School of Public Policy and the Studs Terkel Award from the Community Media Workshop. 


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is co-hosted by UNF and The World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.


Mary Schapiro

“Global Trading and Global Markets: What’s Down the Road?”

Mary L. Schapiro

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
7:00 p.m. at the Herbert University Center

e-Tickets will be available on Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mary Schapiro’s service as the 29th SEC chairman culminated decades of regulatory leadership. She was the first woman to serve as SEC chairman, and the only person to have served as chairman of both the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. 


During four years as SEC chairman, Schapiro presided over one of the busiest rule-making agendas in the SEC’s history, during which the agency also brought a record number of enforcement actions, and executed a comprehensive restructuring program to improve protections for investors. Upon her departure, President Obama praised her leadership, saying the SEC became stronger and the financial system “safer and better able to serve the American people—thanks in large part to Schapiro’s hard work.” 


Before becoming SEC chairman, Schapiro served as CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the largest nongovernmental regulator of securities firms. She worked for more than a decade with FINRA and its largest predecessor, the National Association of Securities Dealers. She was president of NASD regulation, vice chairman of the NASD, and was NASD’s chairman and CEO at the time of its consolidation into FINRA. 


Earlier, Schapiro was chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; a commissioner of the SEC; and general counsel and senior vice president of the Futures Industry Association. She began her career at the CFTC, serving first as a trial attorney and later as counsel and executive assistant to the chairman. 


Schapiro is currently Vice Chairman of Promontory Financial Group’s Advisory Board, a board member at General Electric and vice chair of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. 


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is co-hosted by UNF and The World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.


Anthony Zinni

“The Middle East Challenge”

General Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Ret.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
7:00 p.m. at the Herbert University Center

e-Tickets will be available on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

General Anthony C. Zinni joined the Marine Corps' Platoon Leader Class program in 1961 and was commissioned an infantry second lieutenant in 1965 upon graduation from Villanova University. He held numerous command and staff assignments that included platoon, company, battalion, regimental, Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Marine Expeditionary Force command. His staff assignments included service in operations, training, special operations, counter-terrorism and manpower billets. He has been a tactics and operations instructor at several Marine Corps schools and was selected as a fellow on the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group. 


General Zinni's joint assignments included command of a joint task force and a unified command. He has also had several joint and combined staff billets at joint task force and unified command levels. 


His military service has taken him to over 70 countries and includes deployments to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Western Pacific, Northern Europe and Korea. He has also served tours of duty in Okinawa and Germany. His operational experiences included two tours in Vietnam, where he was severely wounded; emergency relief and security operations in the Philippines; Operation Provide Comfort in Turkey and northern Iraq; Operation Provide Hope in the former Soviet Union; Operations Restore Hope, Continue Hope and United Shield in Somalia; Operations Resolute Response and Noble Response in Kenya; Operations Desert Thunder, Desert Fox, Desert Viper, Desert Spring, Southern Watch, and Maritime Intercept Operations in Iraq and the Persian Gulf; and Operation Infinite Reach against terrorist targets in the Central Region. He was involved in the planning and execution of Operation Proven Force and Operation Patriot Defender during the Gulf War and noncombatant evacuation operations in Liberia, Zaire, Sierra Leone and Eritrea. 


He has attended numerous military schools and courses including the Army Special Warfare School, the Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the National War College. General Zinni retired from the military in 2000 after commanding the US Central Command. 


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is co-hosted by UNF and The World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.


James Workman

“Water Security”

James G. Workman

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
7:00 p.m. at the Herbert University Center

e-Tickets will be available on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

James G. Workman is a leader in the design and creation of natural resource conservation markets for fresh water and marine fisheries. He is the author of "Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought", awarded best book of the year by the Society of Environmental Journalists and is currently co-authoring a book with the working title "The Sea Change: How to Transform the Way We Govern, Value and Harvest the Wild."  


In 1990 Workman graduated cum laude with a B.A. in history from Yale, and has been a visiting professor at Wesleyan and Whitman colleges. But he earned his real education by blowing up dams, releasing wolves, igniting wildland fires, guiding safaris, smuggling water to besieged indigenous dissidents after breaking down alone in Africa's Kalahari Desert and becoming a father. After early years as an investigative journalist in Washington, DC, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt recruited Workman to help advance national fire, fishery, endangered species and river restoration policies. Overseas, he became senior adviser to the World Commission on Dams under Nelson Mandela, and then a consultant to corporations, governments and international NGOs. Now based in San Francisco, he is Deputy Director of Environmental Defense Fund's Catch Share Design Center and co-founder of SmartMarkets, a utility-based start-up venture inspired by the Bushmen, which unlocks the scarcity value of water and energy. 


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is co-hosted by UNF and The World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.


Richard Leakey

“Past, Present, and Future of Life on Earth”

Dr. Richard Leakey

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
7:00 p.m. at the Herbert University Center

e-Tickets will be available on Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Paleoanthropologist, political advisor, and environmentalist Richard Leakey has been a key voice behind wildlife conservation and preservation for over 40 years. He was named one of TIME’s 100 Greatest Minds of the 20th Century. 


Son of the Louis B. and Mary, Leakey and his family have been credited with some of the most significant fossil discoveries in history. The Leakeys have unearthed Proconsul africanus, Australopithicus boisei, Homo habilis, and the footprints of Australopithecus afarensis, known as the skeleton “Lucy.” Leakey’s own team discovered the most intact early human skeleton ever found, nicknamed “Turkana Boy” and referred to as either Homo erectus or Homo ergaster in 1984.  


The author of over 100 articles and books, Leakey examined the five great catastrophic extinctions in the history of the planet in his book, The Sixth Extinction. Written in 1995, before recent increased environmental awareness, Leakey stressed how human beings are dangerously reducing biodiversity, damaging eco-systems and possibly precipitating the next major mass extinction, which could affect humans.  


His other books include "Origins", "Origins Reconsidered", "The Origins of Humankind, and Wildlife Wars: My Fight to Save Africa’s Natural Treasures." In 2011 Leakey served as a consultant on the IMAX film Born To Be Wild. His latest National Geographic film project "Bones of Turkana" premiered in May 2012 on PBS. Currently, an IMAX adaptation of "The Sixth Extinction" is in the works. 


Leakey entered the world of politics in 1994, helping to form a political party opposed to the country's corrupt government. He was appointed to then President Moi’s cabinet, as Director of Kenyan Wildlife Services in an attempt to curtail elephant poaching. Leakey also served as Director of the National Museums of Kenya. He left politics in 2001 in order to form his own political party to fight government corruption. 


Now a Professor of Anthropology at Stony Brook University and an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London (FRS), Leakey has convened the Stony Brook World Environmental Forum and the Human Evolution Symposiums and Workshops. He is Chair of The Turkana Basin Institute at Stony Brook and Transparency International-Kenya.  


Leakey is the founder of WildlifeDirect, an online service that supports conservationists and allows people to help save the world’s most endangered species. 


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is co-hosted by UNF and The World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.