Presidential Lecture Series

The series, launched in 2014, features prominent experts and practitioners from various fields that are of interest to both the campus and community at large. Connected with each public presentation, speakers are integrated into relevant curricular activities on the West Lafayette campus during their visits. The series will add speakers at various points during the year.

The series aims to tap into a network of talented individuals from divergent fields of inquiry and bring thoughtful people to campus who can contribute to academic and public discourse. The speakers are leaders in their respective fields who can contribute to Purdue’s culture of intellectual thought and rigor.

All lectures are free and open to the general public. The Presidential Lecture Series is presented with the cooperation of Purdue Convocations.

Past Lectures

Frank Bruni — Sept. 9, 2015

Frank Bruni

Frank Bruni, columnist, The New York Times: “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania.” Sept. 9, 6:30 p.m., Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall.

Bruni is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times and author of three bestselling books: a 2002 chronicle of George W. Bush’s initial presidential campaign, “Ambling into History”; a 2009 memoir, “Born Round,” about the joys and torments of his eating life; and a 2015 reflection on higher education, “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania.”

Bruni Presentation on YouTube

News Release

Arne Duncan — Sept. 16, 2015

Arne Duncan

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke at 2:15 p.m., Sept. 12, in Stewart Center’s Loeb Playhouse.

The secretary’s visit was part of his sixth annual “Back-to-School Bus Tour: Ready for Success,” on Sept. 14-18. In addition to Purdue and Indianapolis, tour stops include Kansas City, Missouri; Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Champaign and Williamsfield, Illinois; Louisville; Cincinnati; and Pittsburgh.

Duncan Presentation on YouTube

News Release

George Will — Dec. 7, 2015

George Will

George Will, columnist, The Washington Post, spoke at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 7, in Stewart Center’s Loeb Playhouse.

Will and Purdue President Mitch Daniels lead an hourlong discussion, including an audience question-and-answer session. 

Will’s newspaper column has been syndicated by The Washington Post since 1974. It appears twice weekly in more than 475 newspapers. For 35 years, he was a regular contributing editor of Newsweek magazine. In 1977 he won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in his newspaper columns.

Will Presentation on YouTube

News Release

John Schnatter — March 28, 2016

John Schnatter

Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter. March 28, 6:30 p.m., Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall.

Schnatter has strong ties to Indiana. He was born in Jeffersonville and earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Ball State University, delivering pizzas on campus while a student. After returning home to Jeffersonville in 1983, he started his own pizza company, knocking down a broom closet in his father’s tavern, installing an oven and delivering pizzas out of the back of the bar.

News Release

George Shultz — April 19, 2016

George Shultz

Former U.S. Secretary of State, Secretary of Labor, and Secretary of the Treasury George Shultz. April 19, 6:30 p.m., Stewart Center’s Loeb Playhouse.

Shultz, an economist, served in President Richard M. Nixon’s administration as secretary of labor from 1969-70, director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1970-72 and as treasury secretary from 1972-74. He also served in President Ronald Reagan’s administration as secretary of state from 1982-89.

News Release

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