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UConn to host several big name speakers this spring semester

By Katie McWilliams
On February 3, 2014

  • Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hilary Clinton will be one of three big name speakers at UConn this semester. Image courtesy of jorgensen.uconn.edu

Last week, UConn President Susan Herbst announced the university will host Hilary Rodham Clinton, Richard Dawkins and Art Spiegelman as guest speakers for the spring semester. While UConn has brought prolific figures to campus before, this array of speakers is by far the most impressive attempt to bring intellectual discussion outside of the lecture hall.
The first speaker event will take place on March 3 with Spiegelman's visit. Spiegelman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and author for his graphic novel account of the Holocaust, "Maus." Tying into UConn Reads' selection of Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis," Spiegelman will likely speak about teaching history with graphic novels and the importance of the medium in modern culture.
A cartoonist for "The New Yorker," Spiegelman is an apt commentator on modern culture with a keen wit and a firm belief that comic literacy is an important aspect of literacy. If you have no exposure to Spiegelman's work, his graphic novel trilogy "Maus" is a good place to start, as well as "In the Shadow of No Towers" his work on Sept. 11. Tickets to this event will be free to all UConn students.
A month later, evolutionary biologist and vociferous advocate of secularism, Richard Dawkins, will speak as part of the president's Distinguished Lecture Series. Dawkins rose to acclaim after the publication of "The Selfish Gene." The 1976 book criticized the notion that evolution focuses on genes and not the group of organisms. The book was a best seller, with more than a million copies sold in 25 languages.
In addition to the "The Selfish Gene," Dawkins has authored other best sellers such as "The God Delusion" and "The Extended Phenotype," both of which discuss evolutionary biology. Dawkins is an emeritus fellow at Oxford University in England and the vice president of the British Humanist Association, a group that focuses on being good humans without the influence of religion. Tickets to the event will be free.
The culminating event in the series will be the Edmund Fusco Contemporary Issues Forum, featuring former New York Senator, First Lady and Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton. According to Herbst's email, the Fusco Forum strives to bring scholars, leaders and policy makers to impart their wisdom with students and community members.
Clinton began her political career at a young age, canvassing in Chicago for Republican candidates such as Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater. At Wellesley College her political orientation was changed by the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.
Throughout her relationship with former President Bill Clinton, she remained politically active, campaigning for her husband and working on social projects such as the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.
Breaking social norms of the 70s and 80s, Clinton retained her maiden name "Rodham" officially and became the first woman to become a partner at Rose Law Firm. Until Michelle Obama, Clinton was the only First Lady to hold a postgraduate degree.
During her husband's presidency, Clinton remained politically active and famously was subpoenaed to testify during the Whitewater scandal. Despite this setback in her marriage, Clinton has remained resolute in her relationship with former President Clinton.
In 2008 Clinton became Secretary of State, succeeding Condoleezza Rice. Presently, Clinton is campaigning for a presidential nomination from the Democratic Party for 2016.
 


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