DSS 2012-2013

 The  Distinguished Speakers Series features eminent national or international speakers who contribute to current thought in social or political activities, in the arts and sciences, or other realm of contemporary significance. The series is an opportunity to learn from scholars, politicians, and business people, who can inspire students and community members to think critically about current issues, trends, events, knowledge, diversity, and leadership. Events will be co-sponsored by the Office of Student Activities, Student Fee Governing Board, Associated Students’ Government, and the Division of Student Affairs.


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Aug. 22, 2012:
Hoag Recital Hall
picture of jack hanna
 Jack Hanna, animal celebrity and zookeeper extraordinaire. 
Hanna revolutionized zoo habitats for animals by transitioning the Columbus Zoo from cage-like enclosures to "habitat environments" during his tenure there as zoo director. Hanna, of course, is also the host of various TV shows, programs and a frequent talk show guest.

Oct. 3, 2012
7 p.m., OUC Ballroom

Eric Thomas, a "hip hop preacher" 
Eric Thomas' experiences growing up in Detroit has lead him to reach out to high-risk students of color.  Despite dropping out of high school, Thomas eventually gained his GED and completed a masters degree (he's working on a PhD in educational administration.) Thomas is now a senior minister at A Place of Change Ministries, the founder of Break the Cycle I Dare You, and works at an undergraduate retention program at Michigan State.
Jan. 23, 2013
7 p.m., OUC Ballroom
Ray Kurzweil is one of the nation's top inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a thirty-year track record of accurate predictions.  Called "the restless genius" by Wall Street Journal and "the ultimate thinking machine" by Forbes magazine, Kurzweil was selected as one of the top entrepreneurs by Inc. magazine, which described him as the "rightful heir to Thomas Edison."  PBS selected him as one of the "sixteen revolutionaries who made America".
Kurzweil was the principal inventor of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.
Among Kurzweil's many honors, he is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, holds  nineteen honorary Doctorates, and honors from three U.S. Presidents.
Ray has written seven books, five of which have been national best sellers.  The Singularity is Near and Ray's latest book How to Create a Mind have been New York Times Bestsellers. 
Ray was recently appointed Director of Engineering at Google.

Feb. 20 2013
7 p.m., OUC Ballroom



Angela Davis, Through her activism and scholarship over the last decades, Angela Davis has been deeply involved in our nation's quest for social justice.  Her work as an educator - both at the university level and in the larger public sphere - has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice.  Her teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College, and University of California- Berkeley.  She also has taught at UCLA, Vassar, the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University.  She spent the last 15 years at the University of California-Santa Cruz, where she is now Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness, an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, and of Feminist Studies. Davis has written eight books and has lectured throughout the world. A persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early70s as a person who spent 18 months in jail and on trial, after at one time being placed on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted List.” 

March 13, 2013
7 p.m., OUC Ballroom

Temple Grandin
, a doctor of animal science at CSU.
Grandin works on the dual fronts of animal welfare and autism advocacy. As a woman with high-functioning autism, Grandin not only invented a "squeeze machine designed to calm hypersensitive people" but lobbies for humane livestock handling processes. Grandin has appeared in: ForbesThe New York Times, and People, as well as NPR and the Today Show. In 2010, HBO released an award-winning semi-autobiographical film about Grandin starring Claire Danes.​