Lecture Archives

A List of Past JBS Distinguished Lectures


November 14, 2019: “From Lone Star to Leading Star: Exploring the History of Texas”

This lecture featured best-selling author Stephen Harrigan, author of a recent book entitled Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas. This lecture was held in the J. Conrad Dunagan Library at UT Permian Basin.

Due to camera problems, no photos are available.


February 6, 2019: “The Wartime Leadership of Winston Churchill”

This lecture featured historian and author Andrew Roberts, author of the recent biography Churchill: Walking with Destiny, described by the Wall Street Journal as “unarguably the best single-volume biography of Churchill.” In recognition of Churchill’s love of Shakespeare, this lecture was held at Odessa’s Globe Theater.


April 26, 2018: “Shale and Texas Energy: Past and Future”

Website Slider Speakers FinalThis lecture featured scholar Amy Myers Jaffe, public official Christi Craddick (Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission), and investor and author Gary Sernovitz; the lecture was moderated by Jacki Pick, host of the Dallas based radio program the Jacki Daily Show.


February 20, 2018: “An Evening with Jackie Joyner-Kersee”

Jackie Joyner Kersee Website Slider 3This lecture featured athlete, author, and educator Jackie Joyner-Kersee.



November 16, 2017: “An Evening with Eric Metaxas”

stc-bannerThis lecture featured author and radio host Eric Metaxas. Metaxas spoke on the interrelationship of faith, virtue, and freedom in history, including in the lives of Martin Luther, William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and in the creation of the United States.

This lecture also served as the opening event for a new joint lecture series intended to promote unity between Midland and Odessa, entitled “Start the Conversation.”


Video Introduction for Lecture

Video of Lecture

October 12, 2017: “Accelerating U.S. Economic Growth: How the Permian Basin Can Help

Banner-Steve-MooreThis lecture featured economists Steve Moore & Dr. Ray Perryman discussing the impact of the oil and gas industry on the economy. Moore primarily spoke about the national economy, while Perryman spoke about the local economy.


April 27, 2017: “Humor in Leadership: An Evening with Terry Crews”

Slider---4This lecture featured Terry Crews, the action-movie hero, sitcom star, syndicated game show host, Old Spice pitchman, former NFL player, and best-selling author. Crews spoke to a crowd of over 1,400 about how humor has helped guide him and shape him into the leader he is today. Speaking to many young audience members, Crews spoke about the importance of creativity and hard work.

TV Spot


Introductory skit honoring U.T. Permian Basin President Dr. David Watts

September 30, 2016: “Election 2016: Mandate for Our Next President

new-slider-9-30This lecture featured Alan Colmes, radio host, and Judge Jeanine Pirro, host of Justice with Judge Jeanine. During this lecture, our guests primarily discussed what the next president should and needs to accomplish in his first 100 days. Topics ranged from education to immigration and national security.

Alan Colmes discussing leadership before the Lecture

Video Introduction for Lecture


April 28, 2016: Election 2016: Are You Voting for a Party, Person, or Principle?”

PoliticalSlider-WebThe lecture featured four panelists: Juan Williams (Fox News Contributor and Host of The Five, The Honorable Allen West (former U.S. Congressman and Executive Director of the National Center for Policy and Analysis), The Honorable Gilberto Hinojosa (Chairman, Texas Democratic Party), and Tom Mechler (Chairman, Texas Republican Party).

The goal of the lecture was to discuss current issues and imperatives that drive us to vote in particular ways, along with political party platform positions and goals, and the proposed means to achieve them.

Video Introduction for Lecture


Video of Juan Williams discussing the Lecture on The Five

February 12, 2016: “Black History – a Cornerstone of Americanism”

Vereen SliderThis lecture featured Ben Vereen, the consummate actor, singer, and all around entertainer of our times. Vereen discussed his thoughts on the many proud contributions of African-Americans, current social movements and what we all can do to ensure maximum inclusion of every American.

Video Introduction for Lecture


October 22, 2015: “The Power of Early Literacy: Foundations of Learning”

Laura Bush Slider 1 This lecture featured Former First Lady Laura Bush – One of America’s most popular First Ladies, Mrs. Laura W. Bush discussed her life and shared a compelling voice for helping those in need.  She spoke passionately about education, literacy, volunteerism, human rights and the issues of global importance she championed in the White House.


September 30, 2015: “Our Hispanic Heritage: A Story of Achievement and Americanism”

Slider - Geraldo Rivera - 2

This lecture featured Geraldo Rivera – attorney, reporter, author & talk show host & Jackie Cruz – a Dominican–American actress, musician and former model, known for her role as Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales on the Netflix television series Orange Is the New Black.  Geraldo and Jackie both delivered phenomenal lectures examining and celebrating the progress and achievements of Hispanic Americans in both Texas and the nation.


August 24, 2015: “The Power of a Leader’s Promise”

Slider - Alex Sheen DLS - Copy - CopyThe lecture featured Alex Sheen,  founder of the non-profit organization “because I said I would,” who spoke about the power of promises to bind people together and motivate leaders to great accomplishments and to ethical behavior. By special arrangement with Ector County ISD, Alex also spoke to students at Ector Junior High and  Bonham Middle School.

Promotional Video


April 21, 2015: “Educating Texas: Complex Challenges – New Perspectives”

Slider---Wendy-Davis-DLSThe lecture featured former 2014 Texas Gubernatorial Democrat Nominee & Author Wendy Davis. The goal of the lecture was to examine the state of affairs in Texas public education systems today, particularly with regard to funding. We discussed positive movements in the charter school arena, and what we can do to marry traditional and charter public school interests so that they sustain and support each other’s efforts.


February 12, 2015: “Groundbreakers, Mavericks, and Trailblazers: How Women are showing 21st Century Leadership”

Slider---February-12,-2015-DLSThe lecture featured former Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and host of the new television show “Amazing America” on The Sportsman Channel. The goal of the lecture was to examine and illuminate how women continue to exercise great leadership in action in our times. We discussed the general characteristics and demands of 21st century leadership, then talked about how women are meeting those challenges.


October 16, 2014: “Confronting the Growing Affliction of Human Trafficking”

Flyer---John-Walsh-DLSSpeakers: John Walsh, Texas State Representative Senfronia Thompson, retired Fort Worth Detective Manny Reyes, FBI Special Agent Kristin Rehlin, and Traffick911 CEO Deena Graves. Moderated by Pat Canty & Dr. Robert Brescia.



March 20, 2014: “Blurred Lines: The National Economy – Whose Money Is It?”

DLS-Poster---March-20,-2014Speakers: Ben Stein, Ray Perryman, Richard Bowen. Moderated by Pat Canty & Dr. Robert Brescia.




October 16, 2013: “A Return to Civility in American Discourse”

Lecture-Archive-Pic---Mike-HuckabeeSpeaker: Mike Huckabee. Moderated by Pat Canty & Robert Brescia



March 21, 2013: “Guns on Campus”

Speakers: John R. Lott, Jr. and Dr. Michael Shermer. Moderated by Pat Canty, publisher of the Odessa American.

TV Spot


November 1, 2012: “American Democracy on Trial – What Does the Future Hold?”

Speakers: David Frum, Jeff Greenfield, Moderated by Pat Canty, publisher of the Odessa American.

TV Spot


March 20, 2012: “All’s Fair: Love, War and Politics”

Speakers: James Carville, “Ragin Cajun” and Political Consultant, and Mary Matlin, author, television and radio host, widely sought after political contributor. Moderated by Evan Smith, CEO of the Texas Tribune.


“An Economic Overview: What’s Next?”

Speaker: Richard Fisher, CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Moderated by M. Ray Perryman

April 9, 2011: “Energy on the Brink: The Money, the Science and the Politics”

Speaker: T. Boone Pickens, Oilman and Philanthropist, moderated by Evan Smith, CEO of the Texas Tribune.

TV Spot


October 14, 2010: “The Women Behind the Words: Shaping a Leader’s Voice”

Speakers: Peggy Noonan, Speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan and Aide to President George H. W. Bush, Dee Dee Myers, Press Secretary to President William Jefferson Clinton; 1st female Press Secretary in US History


April 15, 2010: “Newt Gingrich – Lessons in Leadership”

Speaker: Newt Ginrich, Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives


October 15, 2009: “From Nixon to Bush: What President Obama Can Learn From Presidents Past”

Speakers: Carl Bernstein, Journalist and Author, Bob Woodward, Journalist and Author

April 14, 2009: “An Evening with Malcolm Gladwell”

Speaker: Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times’ Best-Selling Author

October 30, 2008: “Common Ground”

Speaker: Bob Beckel, USA Today Columnist, Author and Political Pundit, Cal Thomas, USA Today Columnist, Author and Political Pundit

April 10, 2008: “A Discussion of National Politics”

Speakers: Harold Ford, Jr. – Chairman of the National Democratic Leadership Council, Michael Steele, Chairman of GOPAC.

November 1, 2007: “An Evening with Karl Rove”

Speaker: Karl Rove, Former White House Chief of Staff, Moderated by Melissa Francis


April 7, 2007: “An Evening with Margaret Spellings”

Speaker: Margaret Spellings, US Secretary of Education


October 17, 2006: “An Evening with Mikhail Gorbachev”

Speaker: Mikhail Gorbachev, Former President of the Soviet Union


March 30, 2006: “Terrorism and the Security of America’s Border”

Speakers: David Aguilar, Chief of US Border Patrol, Daniel Benjamin, author – “The Next Attack”, Susan Burk, Deputy Coordinator for Homeland Security, Rick Flores, Sherriff of Webb County, Texas, Michael Perry, Vice‒President of General Atomics Corporation, Belen Robles, Former Chief Inspector of US Customs Office, El Paso, Texas, Moderated by Randi Kaye, CNN


October 6, 2005: “Whatcha Gonna Do When the Wells Run Dry”

Speakers: Dr. Kenneth Deffeyes, author and expert on world energy supplies, Dr. Amos Nur, Professor of Geophysics at Stanford, Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr., Senior Advisor with the Eisenhower Institute in Washington, D.C., The Honorable R. James Woolsey, Former Director of the CIA, Moderated by Melissa Frances, CNBC

March 3, 2005: “Weapons Of Mass Destruction”

Speakers: Susan Eisenhower, Robert McNamara, Daniel B. Poneman, and Dr. Mitchell B. Reiss; moderated by Thomas Graham Jr.


October 7, 2004: “The Media & The Presidency 2004”

Speakers: Helen Thomas, Jeffrey Birnbaum, Edward H. Crane, Michael Waldman, Moderated by Bernard Kalb

March 4, 2004: “The U.S. In The World Today: Nation Builder? World Police? Coalition Maker?”

Speakers: William Kristol, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Robin Wright, Dr. Schlomo Ben-Ami, Moderated by Eleanor Clift


October 9, 2003: “The Future Of American Politics: The Election of 2004”

Speakers: Mona Charen, Arianne Huffington, Morton Kondracke, Ralph Nader, Moderated by Jonathan Alter

March 6, 2003: “Challenges To American Foreign Policy In The 21st Century: Religion, Culture & Terrorism”

Speakers: Peter Bergen, Robert Baer, Douglas Johnston, Ph.D, Ambassador Edward Walker Jr., Moderated by James J. Zogby

October 3, 2002: “Is There An Impending World Oil Shortage? Its Meaning For America”

Speakers: Henry Groppe, Michael J. Economides, Ph.D, Guy F. Caruso, Kenneth Deffeyes, Ph.D, Moderated by Leslie Haines

March 7, 2002: “American Economy Of The 21st Century: New Challenges, New Possibilities, New Futures?”

Speakers: Jean Sherman Chatzky, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Anthony B. Perkins, Gene B. Sperling, Moderated by Robert Krulwich

October 4, 2001: “The American Family: A Fragile Future?”

Speakers: Gary Bauer, Stephanie Coontz, Dr. David Elkind, Dr. Alvin Poussaint, Moderated by Anne Taylor Fleming

February 1, 2001: “The Next Greatest Generation: How Women Can Give Shape & Expression To The New Millennium”

Speakers: June Jordan, Ambassador Madeleine Kunin, Gail Sheehy, Betty Williams, Moderated by Morton Dean

October 5, 2000: Foreign Policy & The Threat Of Domestic Terrorism: Can Americans Feel Secure?

Speakers: Dr. Robert Gates, Dr. Richard Haass, Scott Ritter, Terry Waite, Moderated by Mary Alice Williams

February 3, 2000: Politics 2000: Virtue & Leadership? Idealism Versus Cynicism? New Hope For A New Millennium?

Speakers: William F. Buckley Jr, Elizabeth Drew, P.J. O’Rourke, Mark Shields, Moderated by Ray Suarez

June 3, 1999: Can We Come Together: Race & Reconciliation In The 21st Century

Speakers: Elaine Chao, Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., Charles J. Ogletree, Richard Rodriguez, Moderated by Ken Bode

February 4, 1999: The American Character: Its Meaning For Civic Culture

Speakers: Dr. Harvey Cox, David Gergen, Senator George Mitchell, Carl T. Rowan, Moderated by Diane Rehm

June 4, 1998: Media Ethics: Its Impact On Public Leadership & Culture

Speakers: Carl Bernstein, David Broder, Barrie Dunsmore, High Sidey, Moderated by Bettina Gregory

February 5, 1998: Positioning America For The 21st Century

Speakers: Carl Bernstein, David Halberstam, Haynes Johnson, James Reston Jr., General John J. Sheehan, Moderated by Margaret Warner

June 5, 1997: Challenges To The American Character In The 21st Century

Speakers: Clarence Page, Dr. Thomas Murray, Lawrence Eagleburger, Tanya Luhrmann, General John J. Sheehan, Moderated by Al Hunt

February 6, 1997: From Diversity To Unity: The Search For A National Conscience

Speakers: Arthur Schlesinger, Georgie Anne Geyer, William Raspberry, Richard Rodriquez, Richard Estrada

July 24, 1996: Presidential Leadership & The 21st Century

Speakers: Clarence Page, John Mashek, Gerald Seib, Rena Pederson, Paul Taylor, Moderated by George Christian

Partial Video of Lecture