IPFW will host a world-renowned historian, astrophysicist and humorist in this year’s 20th annual Omnibus lecture series.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will be the keynote speaker Sept. 23, while astrophysicist, TV host and author Neil deGrasse Tyson will visit IPFW and speak Oct. 21. Beloved author, radio host and humorist Garrison Keillor will appear April 1.
The lineup coincides with IPFW’s 50th anniversary celebration, and the university looks forward to capacity crowds for the free series, Chancellor Vicky Carwein said.
The series used to include six speakers but was cut back last year because of declining enrollment and rising expenses, Carwein said.
“We decided not to decrease the quality or visibility of the speakers, but to decrease the number of speakers instead,” she said. This year’s guests comprise a diverse group of stellar speakers.
The program offers students and the community the exposure to high-profile personalities, she said.
The speakers spend the day visiting and chatting with students before their evening presentations.
“It’s a wonderful learning experience” for the students, Carwein said.
Mike Eikenberry, chairman of the English Bonter Mitchell Foundation and dean of the Doermer School of Business at IPFW, agreed.
“This brings the top lecturers in various fields to the Fort Wayne campus, giving the students direct exposure,” Eikenberry said.
The English Bonter Mitchell Foundation has given $1 million since it began supporting the series in 1995, Eikenberry said.
Kearns Goodwin, presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Leadership Lessons of History: Doris Kearns Goodwin on the American Presidents” has written six New York Times bestsellers.
“Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” was the basis for Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning film “Lincoln.” She is a frequent TV guest and commentator and her many awards include the Charles Frankel Prize from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Lincoln Prize.
Tyson, astrophysicist, TV host and author of “This Just In: Latest Discoveries in the Universe,” is a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History and the Frederick P. Rose director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space. The former host of the PBS show “NOVA ScienceNow” is currently hosting “Cosmos.”
In addition to authoring dozens of professional publications, Tyson, a New York Times best-selling author and frequent TV guest, has received 18 honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award given by NASA to a citizen.
Keillor, author, radio host and humorist, will present “An Evening with Garrison Keillor” on April Fools’ Day at IPFW. Each week, Keillor hosts public radio’s live variety show, “A Prairie Home Companion,” to an audience of more than 17 million listeners.
In 2006, he starred in a film adaptation of “A Prairie Home Companion” alongside Meryl Streep and Woody Harrelson. He received a Grammy for his recording of “Lake Wobegon Days” and was inducted an induction into the Radio Hall of Fame at Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications in 1994. Keillor is the author of many books, including “Lake Wobegon Days,” “Wobegon Boy” and “Liberty: A Lake Wobegon Novel.”