Release date: August 30, 2022
The University at Buffalo Distinguished Speakers Series returns for 2022-23 with a range of engaging, inspiring and entertaining speakers.
The season will feature actors Ken Jeong and Selma Blair, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and civil rights lawyer Sherrilyn Ifill.
All lectures will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Arts Center Mainstage Theater, North Campus.
“We are very proud to bring some of today’s most resonant voices to UB through the popular tradition of our Distinguished Speakers Series,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi.
“Whether discussing society’s great challenges, sharing personal testimonies of courage, or providing a generous dose of comic relief, this season’s speakers promise to offer compelling and informed perspectives not to be missed. to lack.”
The series will debut on October 11 with a talk from the actor, producer and writer Ken Jeong.
Jeong has established himself as one of today’s top comedic stars. Since making his film debut as the doctor in “Knocked Up,” Jeong has had a number of memorable roles in a string of hit comedies, including “Role Models,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” and all three episodes of “ The Hangover”. franchise. His role as Mr. Chow in the first film “Hangover” earned him three Teen Choice nominations and an MTV Movie Award.
On television, Jeong starred in the show “Dr. Ken,” which he also created, wrote, and served as executive producer. He was a series regular on the critically acclaimed NBC show “Community. “, and directed an ESPN “30 for 30” documentary “Student/Athlete”. He also produced the Sundance Award-winning film “Advantageous”, which received a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination.
Jeong’s career path started on a different course. He earned his undergraduate degree at Duke University and later earned his medical degree at the University of North Carolina. Jeong completed his residency in internal medicine in New Orleans, while developing his comedy. He won the Big Easy Laff Off and traveled to Los Angeles at the request of contest judges Brandon Tartikoff, former NBC president, and Improv founder Bud Friedman.
Jeong can be seen on Fox’s “The Masked Singer” and “I Can See Your Voice,” and will be a series regular on Season 2 of Apple TV+’s “The Afterparty.”
Marie Yovanovitch will share his thoughts on the current crisis in Ukraine, as well as experiences from his 33-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, at a conference on November 15.
Yovanovitch served three times as U.S. Ambassador: to the Kyrgyz Republic (2005-08), to the Republic of Armenia (2008-2011), and most recently to Ukraine (2016-19). She retired from the Foreign Service in 2020 and is currently a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a Nonresident Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.
Born into a family that survived both Soviet and Nazi terror before emigrating to the United States, Yovanovitch rose to the pinnacle of her profession in the melting pot of the former USSR. After initial postings in Moscow, London, Ottawa and Mogadishu, she served as Deputy Director of the Russia Desk and then, as a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, she was appointed Deputy Chief in Ukraine.
Within the State Department, Yovanovitch worked in the Russia Desk, the Office of European Security Affairs, and the Operations Center. She also served as Dean of the School of Language Studies at the Foreign Service Institute of the United States Department of State, and Deputy Commander and International Advisor of the University’s Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy. of National Defence.
Yovanovitch has won the Senior Foreign Service Performance Award eight times and the State Department’s Superior Honor Award nine times. She is the recipient of two Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and the Secretary’s Diplomacy in Human Rights Award.
In early 2022, his memoir, “Lessons from the Edge“, was an instant New York Times bestseller.
Sherrylyn Ifillcivil rights attorney and former president and advisory director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), will speak Feb. 16 as UB’s 47th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Speaker.
As head of the LDF from 2013-22, Ifill — now president and director emeritus — increased the organization’s visibility and engagement in litigation on cutting-edge and pressing civil rights issues, and raised the electorate to fight against the leadership of the organization for decades. repression, inequality in education and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.
For more than 20 years, Ifill taught civil procedure and constitutional law to thousands of law students and pioneered a series of law clinics, including one of the nation’s first law clinics, centered on challenging legal barriers to the reintegration of ex-offenders, at the University of Maryland Law School in Baltimore.
A prolific scholar, Ifill has published academic articles in leading legal journals, as well as editorials and commentary in major journals. His highly acclaimed 2007 book, “On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century,” is credited with laying the groundwork for contemporary conversations about lynching and reconciliation.
The recipient of numerous honorary degrees, Ifill was recently named one of the women of the year by TIME magazine. She was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2021, one of Glamor magazine’s 2020 Women of the Year, and Lawyer of the Year by The American Lawyer in 2020.
She is the recipient of a 2021 Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association and was recently awarded the ABA’s Thurgood Marshall Award; in October, she will receive the prestigious Brandeis Medal, named for Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis and awarded by the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law to recipients whose lives reflect a commitment to individual freedom, concern for the underprivileged and the public service.
This year’s series will end on March 15 with a talk from the actress, author and lawyer Selma Blair. Blair’s long and versatile career began with roles in pop culture classics such as “Cruel Intentions,” and she is perhaps best known for her scene-stealing performance as Vivian Kensington in the romantic comedy “Legally Blonde”, alongside Reese Witherspoon. Other film credits include Guillermo del Toro’s “The Sweetest Thing,” “Hellboy” and “Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” and comedy/horror thriller “Mom and Dad,” alongside Nicolas Cage.
On TV, Blair starred as Kim on NBC “Kath & Kim” from 2008 to 2009, and made memorable appearances on such shows as “Friends”, “Another Life”, “Heathers”, “Portlandia” and “Web Therapy”.
Blair was among the Silence Breakers of the #MeToo movement selected as TIME magazine “Personality of the Year” in 2017.
In May, Blair released her first memoir, “Mean Baby,” in which she documents an addiction to alcohol, her devotion to her bright and complicated mother, the times she flirted with death, and her multiple sclerosis diagnosis. plates.
Her journey with MS is also documented in the film “Introducing, Selma Blair,” which premiered to rave reviews at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival, where the feature won Special Jury Recognition for Outstanding Intimacy in Storytelling. The film also won the New York Women in Film & Television Documentary Award at the Hamptons Film Festival and received three Critics Choice Documentary Award nominations, including Best Documentary Feature. After opening in theaters in fall 2021, it was later released on Discovery+ and is currently streaming on the platform.
Those who held subscriptions to the 2021-22 series (all lectures in one package) will receive an email on how to renew their subscription for 2022-23. Those wishing to purchase new series subscriptions or individual conference tickets can do so from September 13 through Ticketmaster.
Tickets can also be purchased at the Center des arts box office. Information on how UB students can access tickets will be provided online prior to each conference.
UB’s Distinguished Speakers Series has been bringing the world to UB audiences for over 35 years.
The 2022-23 series is presented by the Donald L. Davis Lectureship Fund. Series sponsors include The Buffalo News; Hodgson Russ LLP; the Inspire dental group; the James Fenton Reading Foundation; UB College of Arts and Sciences; UB Graduate Student Association; UB Minority Faculty and Staff Association; United Academic Professions, Buffalo Health Sciences Chapter; and WGRZ.
Speaker and ticket information is available on the Distinguished Speakers Series website.