Environmental responsibility. The economy. American security. Cyber hacking. Rap and reality. These topics and many more make up the spring lectures program schedule. A few are highlighted below. A complete list of lectures is available online, all of which are free and open to the public.
Chuck D is co-founder of the rap group Public Enemy, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. As a rapper, Chuck D delivers messages about race, rage and inequality, and is known for creating politically charged and socially conscious hip-hop music. He is a national spokesperson for Rock the Vote, the National Urban League and the National Alliance of African American Athletes. He is co-author of the book "Fight the Power: Rap, Race and Reality."
Ridgeway is vice president of public engagement at Patagonia, an outerwear manufacturer whose main business principle aims to protect and preserve the environment. An accomplished mountaineer, Ridgeway has held numerous positions at Patagonia and is responsible for key sustainability initiatives, including: Footprint Chronicles, designed to bring transparency to the supply chain; Worn Wear, which encourages reduced consumption through its repair-and-recycle program; and the Responsible Economy Campaign.
Davidson, co-founder and host of National Public Radio's "Planet Money," also covers business, technology and economics for "The New Yorker." Previously, he wrote the "It's the Economy" column for "The New York Times Magazine," helping readers better understand confusing economic and financial concepts. Davidson was awarded a Peabody and other awards for reporting about economics in funny and engaging ways.
"'Hamilton' and the Road to Success: In Words and Music," Leslie Odom Jr., March 29 (7 p.m., Stephens Auditorium)
Odom won a Tony Award for playing Aaron Burr in the Broadway musical, "Hamilton," which tells the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton through the language and rhythms of hip-hop and rhythm and blues. During his talk, Odom will discuss his life and career, before answering questions from the audience and performing songs from the musical. Odom also received a Grammy Award in 2015 for Best Musical Theater Album as a principal soloist on the original Broadway recording for "Hamilton."
There is general admission seating for this event; no tickets required.
"America and the Middle East: Shifting Sands in the Security Relationship," Deborah Jones, April 3 (8 p.m., MU Great Hall)
Jones, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was U.S. Ambassador to Libya from 2013 to 2015, and U.S. Ambassador to the State of Kuwait from 2008 to 2011. She served as principal officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey, from 2005 to 2007. Additional assignments included posts in Iraq, Tunisia, Syria, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates. She also served as senior faculty adviser for National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island.
"Cyber Sabotage: The History and Politics of Russian-American Hacking," Fred Kaplan, April 18 (7 p.m., MU Great Hall)
Kaplan, a journalist, writes a national security column for "Slate" magazine and has authored five books about American politics. His recent book, "Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War," chronicles the long history of hacking between the United States and Russia. His book, "The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War," was a 2014 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Kaplan also has written for "The Atlantic" magazine, the Boston Globe, "Foreign Affairs" magazine and The New York Times.