Distinguished Voices Lecture Series


Thank you for your interest in our Distinguished Voices Lecture Series.  E-tickets become available at 9:00 a.m. on the date listed beside each lecture.  If you have any questions about the lecture series, please contact UNF Public Relations at (904) 620-2125. For information about other campus events, please search in the online calendar of events or go to Cultural Events. 

Peggy Noonan

“The Road Ahead: A New Path and Leadership for the U.S.”

Peggy Noonan

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
7:00 p.m. at the Herbert University Center

This lecture is sold out.

Peggy Noonan is a widely admired columnist for The Wall Street Journal and the best-selling author of eight books on American politics, history and culture. In 2008 the National Journal dubbed Noonan’s political column indispensable to an understanding of the presidential year. Forbes Magazine called her column “principled, perceptive, persuasive and patriotic.” Noonan’s essays have appeared in TIME , Newsweek , The Washington Post and other publications, and she provides frequent political commentary on television.


 With experience from both the inside, as a member of the White House staff, and the outside, as an observer of politics, Noonan brings a unique and thoughtful analysis of our nation and its leaders to her speeches. Filled with humorous anecdotes and political insight, her speeches are as entertaining as they are thought-provoking. In a presentation described as “absolutely amazing” and “funny and self-deprecating and so smart,” audiences will leave with a deeper, new and more informed perspective on politics.

This lecture is co-hosted by UNF and the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.

Dr. Adam Summers

From Finding Nemo To Finding Patents

Dr. Adam Summers

Thursday, April 6, 2017
7:00 p.m. at the Robinson Theater

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Adam Summers was raised in New York City and the north woods of Canada. At Swarthmore College he earned degrees in mathematics and engineering, but was not interested in pursuing either as a career. While teaching SCUBA in Australia on the Great Barrier Reef he met his first professional biologists. He returned home to get a masters degree in Biology at New York University and the University of Massachusetts for a Ph.D. From the beginning of his research career he attempted to capitalize on previous training as an engineer to understand the evolution of the mechanical systems of animals.

At the University of California B erkeley he was a Miller Research Fellow working on the mechanics of salamander walking and the jaws of a particularly unusual group of limbless amphibians called caecilians. While at UCB he was approached by Pixar Studios to help them with the movie Finding Nemo. He spent three years advising on animal movements and biological aspects of the film and was delighted when the hard work of the Pixar folks was so well received at the box office.


In 2001 he founded the Biomechanics Laboratory at the University of California and while there has won the Bartholmew Prize for physiology research and the Academic Senate prize for undergraduate teaching. In 2009 he moved his laboratory north to the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Laboratories where he assumed the role of Associate Director. With students and collaborators he has published more than 70 articles in scientific journals on abstruse subjects including the heads of hammerhead sharks, the properties of skeletons and difficulties of eating hard prey. He also enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for the field of biomechanics with a monthly column that appears in Natural History Magazine. The 60th column was published in 2008.


Adam continues to teach an intensive graduate course in the biomechanics of fishes at FHL and he is also prospecting for new classes of biomaterials from the sea. 

The Sultan and The Saint

The Sultan and The Saint

A Timeless Story for Today's Peacemakers

Sunday, April 9, 2017
2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Andrew A. Robinson Theater

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The Sultan and The Saint film tells one of the great, lost stories from history. Set in a past period of East-West conflict, it speaks with urgency to our present.


Two men of faith, one a traveling Christian preacher, the other the ruler of a Muslim Empire, bucked a century of war, distrust, and insidious propaganda in a search for mutual respect and common ground. It is the story of Francis of Assisi and the Sultan of Egypt, and their meeting on a bloody battlefield during the period of Christian- Muslim conflict known as the Crusades.


Following the Jacksonville premiere of the film, a living room-style conversation will be held with students, community leaders, and Alex Kronemer - the co-founder of Unity Productions Foundation (UPF), its Executive Director and Executive Producer for all UPF Films such as this one.