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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

President’s Lecture Series Will Feature a Diverse Lineup

By Joe Garvey

A New York Times best-selling novelist, a "recalibrated warrior" who survived horrific wartime injuries to become an advocate for veterans and amputees, a professor who helps organizations prepare for complex futures, and the founder of a nonprofit addressing the global water crisis will appear in the 2019-20 Old Dominion University President's Lecture Series.

The series serves as a marketplace for ideas, featuring renowned speakers who share their knowledge, experience, opinions and accomplishments. Discussing timely topics, the series puts diversity first, showcasing authors, educators, business innovators and political figures.

The lectures are at Ted Constant Convocation Center or Webb University Center, and most are free and open to the public. The Village Bookstore on Monarch Way will have the authors' books available for sale.

Tayari Jones: 42nd Annual Literary Festival Keynote Speaker

Jones, who will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Big Blue Room at Ted Constant Convocation Center, is the author of four novels, most recently "An American Marriage." Published in 2018, the New York Times bestseller is an Oprah's Book Club selection. It also appeared on former President Barack Obama's summer reading list as well as his end-of-the-year roundup. The novel won the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Orange Prize), Aspen Words Prize and an NAACP Image Award. It also has been published in 15 countries.

Jones, whose talk is free and open to the public, has also received the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Her third novel, "Silver Sparrow," was added to the NEA Big Read Library of classics in 2016.

She is a creative writing professor at Emory University.

Travis Mills: President's Task Force on Inclusive Excellence Speaker

Mills, who will speak at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 in the Big Blue Room at the Constant Center, is a retired U.S. Army staff sergeant from the 82nd Airborne and one of only five servicemen from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive his injuries as a quadruple amputee.

In April 2012, an IED explosion cost Mills parts of both legs and arms. Seventeen months later, he founded the Travis Mills Foundation, a nonprofit organization that benefits wounded and injured veterans.

Mills' story inspired the documentary "Travis: A Soldier's Story,"which played in theaters nationwide. It also has been featured on local and national news, including Fox News, CNN and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."Mills' story is being adapted into a movie directed by Sylvester Stallone and starring Stallone and Adam Driver.

His speech is free and open to the public.

Amy Webb: In partnership with the Norfolk Forum

Webb, whose speech is set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Chartway Arena in the Constant Center, is the founder of the Future Today Institute, a leading foresight and strategy firm. Webb, a "quantitative futurist" whose specialty is artificial intelligence,has advised three-star generals and admirals, White House officials and CEOs of some of the world's largest companies.

Webb is the author of three books, including "The Big Nine: How The Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity,"and writes extensively about artificial intelligence, emerging technology, digital media and the impacts and opportunities they present. Webb's work has been featured in The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, CNN and NPR.

Webb holds a bachelor's degree in political science, game theory and economics from Indiana University and a master's degree from Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. She is a professor at the New York University Stern School of Business.

Ticket information for this lecture, which is co-presented by the Norfolk Forum, will be announced at a later date.

Scott Harrison: Marc and Connie Jacobson Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Speaker

Harrison, whose lecture is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 19 at Webb University Center, spent almost 10 years as a nightclub promoter in New York City before leaving to volunteer on a hospital ship off the coast of Liberia. Returning to New York two years later, he founded the nonprofit organization charity: water in 2006.

To address the global water crisis and help the world's 663 million people without clean water to drink, charity: water has raised more than $350 million and funded nearly 30,000 water projects in 26 countries. When completed, those projects will provide more than 8.5 million people with safe drinking water.

He is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and author of the New York Times bestselling book "Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World."

His talk is free and open to the public.

The annual Wallenberg Lecture is sponsored by the Marc and Connie Jacobson Philanthropic Foundation. Speakers, chosen by the University, must be humanitarians - "making the world a better place" -balanced in their philosophical beliefs and not at either extreme of the social spectrum.

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