The John Ben Shepperd Distinguished Lecture Series has featured some of the countries leading experts in defense, education, journalism, and politics.
A List of Past Programs
April 26, 2018: “Shale and Texas Energy: Past and Future”
This 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”
November 16, 2017: “An Evening with Eric Metaxas”
This 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.”
October 12, 2017: “Accelerating U.S. Economic Growth: How the Permian Basin Can Help“
This lecture featured economists Steve Moore & Dr. Ray Perryman. Moore and Perryman both spoke about the economy and how the oil and gas industry accelerate it. Moore primarily spoke about the national economy, while Perryman, a Permian Basin local, spoke about the local economy.
April 27, 2017: “Humor in Leadership: An Evening with Terry Crews”
This 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.
September 30, 2016: “Election 2016: Mandate for Our Next President“
This 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.
April 28, 2016: “Election 2016: Are You Voting for a Party, Person, or Principle?”
The 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.
This 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.
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.
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.
The lecture featured Alex Sheen, founder of the non-profit organization “because I said I would,” a young but great leader who knows how to keep promises. He is changing our world one promise at a time. He is modeling the leadership behaviors we talk about every day. He was a great blessing to the Basin and had a huge impact on all of us. By special arrangement with Ector County ISD, Alex also did two sessions on August 25th in the morning – one at Ector Junior High and the other at Bonham Middle School – both primarily for the 8th grade class.
The 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.
The 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.
Speakers: John R. Lott, Jr., Dr. Michael Shermer, moderated by Pat Canty, publisher of the Odessa American.
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.
March 20, 2012: “All’s Fair: Love, War and Politics”
Speakers: James Carville, “Ragin Cajun” and Political Consultant, 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
Speaker: T. Boone Pickens, Oilman and Philanthropist, moderated by Evan Smith, CEO of the Texas Tribune.
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
From Nixon to Bush: What President Obama Can Learn From Presidents Past
Speakers: Carl Bernstein, Journalist and Author, Bob Woodward, Journalist and Author
An Evening with Malcolm Gladwell
Speaker: Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times’ Best-Selling Author
Speaker: Bob Beckel, USA Today Columnist, Author and Political Pundit, Cal Thomas, USA Today Columnist, Author and Political Pundit
A Discussion of National Politics
Speakers: Harold Ford, Jr. – Chairman of the National Democratic Leadership Council, Michael Steele, Chairman of GOPAC.
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