The University of Iowa Lecture Committee

2002-2003 Year End Report

Dan Rossi, Chair
Sangina Patnaik, Vice Chair
Patrick Finn, Marketing
Kurt Havens, Finance
Sherene Judeh, Public Relations
Thomas Kroeger, Special Projects
Shawn Sebastian, Internal Relations
Vicki Grassian, Faculty Vice Chair
Frank Durham, Faculty member
David Schoonover, Staff member
Kelvin Soukup, Office of Student Life Advisor

Mission Statement
The University of Iowa Lecture Committee strives to create a forum for ideas on campus through a series of free and public lectures featuring leaders in contemporary social thought. Enhancing the university’s learning environment by presenting a broad spectrum for discourse to the campus, the Lecture Committee aims to provide unique and memorable educational experiences for the UI’s diverse community.

In keeping with our mission to provide a balanced series of diverse viewpoints, the University Lecture Committee presented eight lectures over the course of the 2002-2003 academic year. Our series built upon the committee’s past success, striving to provide the highest-quality experience for students, faculty, staff, and university community members. The impact of each dollar spent this year was enhanced by creative efforts to raise awareness of and accessibility to upcoming lectures. New cost-effective innovations for the committee include:

• Transitioning to a "paperless program," a power point presentation that offers details regarding current upcoming lectures, speaker biographies, and additional information tying the speakers’ issues to local/university initiatives.

• Development of an interactive website, including lecture response forms and in-depth descriptions of upcoming lectures.

• Use of a transcriptionist, allowing hearing impaired individuals to experience the lecture regardless of the sign language they speak; transcripts of each lecture are retained for committee/community use. Classroom visits broadcast live on KRUI, allowing the entire listening community to participate in an intimate interaction with each speaker.

• Release of the Lecture Committee Endowment Campaign, a coordinated effort with the UI Foundation to offset the extraordinary rise in speaker costs.


• Development of a "Friends of the Lecture Committee" list serve which informs interested members of the university community about upcoming lecture committee events and opportunities to get involved. 


Sample Lecture Timeline (Loung Ung)
Initial Contact and voting:

Speaker ideas come to our committee in a number of different ways. Normally, ideas are brought through members of the community or proposals by members of the committee. These proposals often include a short synopsis of the speaker as well significant details including cost and date availability. In the case of Loung Ung a proposal was brought to us by The University of Iowa Human Rights Center’s program “All Johnson County Reads the Same Book.” Representatives from this organization submitted a proposal and were then invited by the committee to come and present their idea at a committee meeting. The Committee voted to accept the proposal and began working with their organization to bring Loung to campus. A student on our committee, Sherene Judeh, was assigned to coordinate this lecture. She began ensuring all aspects of the lecture were taken care of from negotiating the contract to ensuring water was on the podium. She was ultimately responsible for all aspects of the event.

3:00 Sherene and a representative from the Human Right’s Commission picked Loung Ung up at the airport.

4:00 On air classroom visit moderated by KRUI talent and Lecture Committee members on KRUI attended by interested UI classes and students from local high schools who had been reading her book.

5:00 Press Conference, which is normally done earlier to ensure local television stations time to air stories on the evening news. We also try to accommodate any press requests for earlier interviews.

5:30 Dinner that incorporated students and other community members with strong interests in the speaker or topic. The Lecture Committee normally selects attendees but special requests are nearly always honored. This was a good opportunity for the “All Johnson County Reads the Same Book” committee to interact with Loung Ung.

7:30 Lecture: Nearly 500 people attended the lecture itself. The audience was a mix of people participating in the Book program as well as other community members wanting to learn about her work. The lecture was transcripted so people with hearing disabilities could enjoy the event. It was also filmed for archival in our Lecture Committee film library. A 10-minute PowerPoint presentation about Loung Ung and the issues she would address was provided before the event to enhance audience understanding.

Additional Lectures, 2002-2003 Lecture Series

September 9, 2002 – (Weeks of Welcome) Robert Siegel, Editor-in-Chief of The Onion
We felt this event was a perfect introduction to the UI for our students. This was truly a student-geared event, which fit well with the Weeks of Welcome events. An overfill crowd of 1000 testified to the interest in Siegel’s unique world perspective.

October 21, 2002 - 2002 World Food Prize Laureate Dr. Pedro Sanchez

This event was a good example of the committee's commitment to Iowa and the University. We were able to co-sponsor this lecture with the Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research. The event also showcased to our community the significance of the award itself and how it demonstrates our University's and State’s commitment to World issues.

November 6, 2002 - FBI Profiler and author Robert Ressler
This speaker was the inspiration for the movie Silence of the Lambs.  This was an especially compelling event due to the timing, which coincided with the D.C. sniper, as Ressler offered a first-hand account of the investigation. The diverse crowd numbered well over 1000 attendees.

November 12, 2002- Spokesperson for a Land Mine Free World, Loung Ung

(As described above)

December 2, 2002 - Activist and Lead Singer of U2, Bono and the DATA Heartland Tour
This event was testament to the importance of our committee. There is much important work being done on our campus relating to so many areas, but too often this work is not recognized. Being able to ensure Bono routed his tour through our University provided a stage to recognize our University's role in AIDS/HIV research and help our students understand these issues. As a direct result of this event a local student organization named Students Global AIDS began and has grown to become an influential voice on our campus.

January 23, 2003 -  (Martin Luther King Week), Harvard Law Professor and Author of "Nigger: the Strange History of a Troublesome Word", Randall Kennedy
An intellectual conversation about a difficult subject, this lecture proved to be a true forum of ideas and discussion. An extended question period and book signing allowed our University community to not only examine the intellectual and emotional side of hate speech but also extensively interact with our speaker.

February 26, 2003, Transgender Activist and Author, Leslie Feinberg

This lecture was a truly spectacular event and was a good example of the overall value of our committee. Feinberg has done a number of events at many other college campuses drawing audiences of around 200. At our event Feinberg exposed new issues and ideas to a diverse crowd of nearly 700 community members. Table to Table sponsored a Diaper Drive at the event.

March 26, 2003 – (Distinguished Lecture) Former United States President, Bill Clinton
To date the largest event of Clinton's post Presidency, this lecture put the committee under enormous pressure to balance the needs of such a high profile event while maintaining the core values of our committee. To ensure this event stayed true to these values we needed to be continuously mindful of our charge.

We did everything we could to ensure as many students and university community members could experience the lecture. We held the event in Carver Hawkeye Arena and broadcasted it live on radio and UITV. Iowa City and Cedar Rapids television rebroadcasted the lecture three times over the past month. We also provided reserved tickets to the community to ensure seating to community members. These tickets were released first to our students since Clinton's office requested mostly students and they provide the bulk of our funding. Finally, were able to accomplish all of this and still retain our fiscal integrity.  At this point the expenses from the Lecture have not gone over projected amounts.

Issues for discussion:

Committee appointment: The students on the Lecture Committee are selected in the late spring of each school year yet are not officially appointed until the following fall semester. This process is the same as all Charter Committee appointments, but is problematic for the Lecture Committee due to a number of unique factors to our committee. For example, last year’s committee had not booked any speakers for the fall semester, as they had little interest in continuing their work over the summer.  This left the new committee willing but unable to book speakers for the upcoming school year. This left us with an exceptionally hectic year, as the committee was forced to book the entire fall semester in a matter of weeks. To help alleviate this situation for next year’s committee, we are beginning to book speakers for next year and may succeed in completing the Fall Semester. As we look towards the upcoming year we believe it is essential that the Lecture Committee appointment procedure be critically reviewed.

Endowment Campaign: The Lecture Committee will continue to work with the UI Foundation to develop a campaign that will ensure the continuance of high-quality lectures and exceptional speakers. This campaign, currently in its initial stages, will be developed over the few years.

Goals for 2003-2004 Season

Our primary goal, as always, is to make the lecture experience as interactive as possible. In the upcoming season, we plan to further develop the lecture website to include background information on speakers' projects, books, past lectures, and related topics of interest. Early planning will allow us to coordinate this project with university classes to better interact with students. We also want to ensure the value of our events is preserved and available for the University community now and into the future. Transcripts of past lectures will shortly be made available on the website along with a new video library of past lectures to be made available in the Main Library.