The Spring 2016 President’s Speaker Series of Illinois State University will kick off in late January, and will include a Hollywood screenwriter and producer, a cyber security expert, an Algerian freedom fighter, and a former CEO looking for a sustainable future for business.

The President’s Speaker Series seeks to bring innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus with the aim of providing the community with a platform to foster dialogue, cultivate enriching ideas, and continue an appreciation of learning as an active and lifelong process. All talks are free and open to the public.

Exploring a ‘doomed construct’

image of Stephanie Liner

Stephanie Liner

The series will begin Wednesday, January 27, with textile artist Stephanie Liner, who will present “Momentos of a Doomed Construct” at noon in the University Galleries in Uptown Normal.

Liner of New York grew up in North Carolina where she was influenced by the local textile and furniture industries. Her work has been shown nationally and most recently at The Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and The Craft Alliance in St. Louis. Various publications have highlighted her work, including Sculpture Magazine, American Craft Magazine, and Art Forum: Critic’s Pick.

The talk is sponsored by the School of Art Visiting Artist Program. Find out more about Liner, and view all 2015-2016 visiting artists.

Struggle for Independence
image of Hamou Amirouche
It has been 60 years since Algeria broke free from French colonial rule. Former Algerian freedom fighter and author Hamou Amirouche will speak at Illinois State University at 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 10, in 242 Schroeder Hall.

Amirouche, who joined the armed struggle for Algeria’s independence as a teenager, is the author of Memoirs of a Mujahed: Algeria’s Struggle for Freedom, 1945-1962.

During the war, Amirouche served as secretary to a national hero Colonel Amirouche Aït Hamouda in 1957-1958. In March 1958, the Colonel appointed him to be a member of a commando that routed mail and funds to Tunisia.

The talk, titled “The Making of an Algerian Freedom Fighter,” is sponsored by the departments of Languages, Literatures and Cultures; History; and Politics and Government; the Harold K. Sage Fund; and the Illinois State University Foundation. Learn more about Amirouche.

Gay Quaker thinker and activist
image of Carlos Figueroa
The series continues with a celebration of Black History Month. Carlos Figueroa of Ithaca College will explore politics at the confluence of race, religion, sexuality, and policy development. He will speak about his latest book with a talk titled “Bayard Rustin: Black Gay Quaker Thinker and Civil Rights and Labor Activist,” at 7 p.m. Monday, February 15, in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center.

The author of the upcoming Quakers, Race and Empire: Political Ecumenism and U.S. Insular Policy Rhetoric, 1898–1917, Figueroa will explore Bayard Rustin’s Quaker sensibilities, and how his reliance on Quaker principles–peace, equality, integrity, simplicity, community, and truth–informed his nonviolent protest, and the lessons that can be drawn to in battles against racial, social, and economic injustices across U.S. cities today.

Figueroa’s talk will be held in conjunction with The Legacy Wall exhibit at Milner Library. The traveling exhibit features “mini-biographies” of lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGBT) and transgender people, and aims to raise awareness of the roles LGBT people have played in shared human history.

The talk is sponsored by Illinois State’s Department of History and the Office of the President. The exhibit is sponsored by the Office of the President and Milner Library. Find our more about Figueroa.

Learn more about the Legacy Wall.

Sustainable business
image of Michael Keane
Michael Keane, a consultant and the former executive vice president and chief financial officer of Genomatica, will give a talk titled “The Journey to a Sustainable Future” at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, February 25, at the Center for Performing Arts at Illinois State University.

An alumnus of Illinois State, Keane is a member of the College of Business Hall of Fame. He is a consultant and former leader at the bioengineering technology company Genomatica, which develops biobased processes to produce chemicals with greater sustainability than using petroleum based feedstocks.  Keane currently serves as a director and audit committee chairman for the City of Hope, a non-profit comprehensive cancer center.

The talk, in celebration of Business Week, is sponsored by the College of Business. Find out more about Keane.

Deliciously Disabled
image of Andrew Morrison-Gurza
Making disabilities accessible is the goal of Andrew Morrison-Gurza, who will present “Deliciously Disabled” at 6 p.m. March 31, in the Old Main Room of the Bone Student Center.

Morrison-Gurza is a disability awareness consultant whose passion is “making disability accessible to everyone.” He is the founder and co-director of Deliciously Disabled Consulting, a company, brand and movement that aims to make the lived experience of disability accessible to pop culture.

In his work, he highlights the lived experience of persons with disabilities to show that disability is a universal experience we can all embrace. Within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community, Morrison-Gurza works to deconstruct our homo-normative, body beautiful ideals and show that queers with disabilities deserve representation.

Find out more about Morrison-Gurza.

George Clooney laughed
image of David Congalton
Author, screenwriter, and radio personality David Congalton will present “George Clooney Laughed: (Mostly) True Tales of a Hollywood Writer” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, in Capen Auditorium. The talk will follow the free screening of his mockumentary Authors Anonymous, and Congalton will discuss the process of writing for film with the audience. The movie, directed by Ellie Kanner, stars Kaley Cuoco, Chris Klein, Teri Polo, and the late Dennis Farina in his final screen role.

An Illinois State alumnus, former newspaper columnist, and freelance magazine writer, Congalton continues to be a popular radio talk show host in central California and is about to celebrate his 24th anniversary on the air. Congalton is also a producer on the upcoming horror/thriller Day Six, currently in post-production.

The talk is in honor of the 10th annual ISU Doc Project Film Festival, part of Communication Week at Illinois State. The event is sponsored by the School of Communication, the Harold K. Sage Fund, the Illinois State University Foundation, and the Office of the President. Find out more about Congalton.

Libraries, teaching, and research
image of Joan Lippincott
Joan Lippincott, the associate executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) in Washington, D.C., will give a talk titled “Moving Forward Together: Libraries and Librarians as Partners in Teaching, Learning, and Research” at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 12, in the Old Main Room of the Bone Student Center.

A widely published author and frequent conference speaker, Lippincott is chair of the Association of College & Research Libraries New Publications committee, and past chair of the editorial board of College & Research Libraries News. At CNI, she helps advance the transformative promise of networked information technology for the advancement of scholarly communication and the enrichment of intellectual productivity.

The talk is sponsored by the Bryant Jackson Lectureship, and Milner Library. Find out more about Lippincott.

The Holocaust as a warning
image of Timothy Snyder
Historian Timothy Snyder will give a talk 7 p.m. Monday, April 18, based upon his New York Times bestselling book Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University.

Looking at the Holocaust as a result of the collapse of states and the scramble for scarce natural resources, Snyder will explore how the Holocaust serves as a warning of what might happen again with current problems of statelessness and environmental crisis.

A world-famous historian, Snyder’s Black Earth was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, Publishers Weekly’s 10 Best Books of 2015, The Economist’s Best Books of 2015, and The Washington Post’s Notable Nonfiction Books of 2015.

The talk is sponsored by Illinois State’s Department of History, the Harold K. Sage Fund and the Illinois State University Foundation. Find out more about Snyder.

Great hackers make great security
image of Charlie Miller
Charlie Miller, often called “one of the most technically proficient hackers on Earth,” will give a talk on cyber security titled “If You Make It, We Can Break It!” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, in the Bone Student Center.

After receiving his doctorate in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame, Miller was a computer hacker for the National Security Agency for five years. Since that time he has been a consultant and worked for the Twitter information security team. He has won the “Super Bowl” of computer hacking—the annual Pwn2Own competition—four times. Throughout his career, Miller has found countless vulnerabilities in products from Apple iPhones to Toyota cars.

The talk, in celebration of the College of Applied Science and Technology’s Technology Week, is sponsored by the college, the Harold K. Sage Fund, and the Illinois State University Foundation. Find out more about Miller.

For more information, or if you need special accommodations to fully participate in the Speaker Series, contact Julie Barnhill, director of Presidential and Trustee Events, at or (309) 438-8790.

To get in contact with the speakers, contact Rachel Hatch of Media Relations at (309) 438-5744 or