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Chancellor’s Lecture Series Archives

To view more videos in the Chancellor Lecture Series playlist, click the playlist icon near the upper left of the video. View full recaps and coverage of all CLS events here.


Doris Kearns Goodwin

October 31, 2019

“Presidential Leadership Lessons”
Discussion moderated by Jon Meacham, Carolyn T. and Robert M. Rogers Chair in the American Presidency and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Vanderbilt

The two Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historians discussed “Presidential Leadership Lessons” in Ingram Hall at the Blair School of Music on Thursday, Oct. 31. Goodwin, the 2009 Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal recipient and author of presidential biographies on Franklin D. Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln,  engaged in an hour-long conversation with Meacham, author of presidential biographies on Andrew Jackson and George H.W. Bush.

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George Takei


October 2, 2019

“Takei’s Take: Reflections on Defying the Status Quo in America”
Keynote + Q&A

Takei, best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise in 1960s science fiction classic Star Trek, has become a powerful voice on topics from politics to pop culture. During the lecture, he shared his complex story of American identity that spans from his family’s forced internment as Japanese Americans during World War II to his role in the fight for marriage equality in the United States. His lecture was part of the university’s celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

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Terry Crews

© Benjo Arwas Studio – Polaroid, Editorial, Fashion, Celebrity and Advertising

September 9, 2019

“Reframing Masculinity & Gender Equality” Keynote + Q&A moderated by William H. Robinson, interim vice provost of strategic initiatives

Crews, a former professional athlete, consistently uses his influential platform to advance a culture of respect around the issues of sexual assault prevention and toxic masculinity. In 2017, TIME identified Crews as one of the “Silence Breakers” for his willingness to support and lend credence to women’s claims of sexual violence while also speaking out about an experience of harassment he experienced personally.

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Dr. Mae Jemison & Rush Holt, Ph.D.

April 30, 2019

Two giants in the science world took the stage for the 2018-19 academic year’s final event, passionately advocating for an America that encourages its citizens to abandon simple opinion on big challenges and instead use evidence-based, critical thinking. Read more >>

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Stacey Abrams


House Minority Leader, Georgia
2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Georgia
March 19, 2019 | Watch >>


President George W. Bush

43rd President of the United States
(2001-09)
March 11, 2019 | Watch >>


Meghan McCain

Author & Political Analyst
Co-Host, The View
February 19, 2019


Sen. Jeff Flake

U.S. Senator, Arizona
(2013-19)
January 17, 2019 | Watch >>


Temple Grandin, Ph.D.

Professor of Animal Sciences,
Colorado State University
November 29, 2018 | Watch >>


Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee

Associate Professor of Medicine
Columbia University
November 1, 2018 | Watch >>

Would you feel differently about learning your risk for cancer if there were a 5 percent chance of your genetic information being leaked? That was the opening question posed by Dr. Mukherjee, an oncologist and preeminent science communicator, to the large audience attending this event. Read more >>

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Robert M. Gates, Ph.D.

22nd U.S. Secretary of Defense
15th Director of Central Intelligence
April 24, 2018


Vice President Joe Biden

47th Vice President of the United States (2009-2017)
April 10, 2018 | Watch >>


Gen. Michael Hayden

The Assault on Intelligence: Decoding the Status of National Security

September 27, 2018

Former CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden revealed that the international intelligence community is flummoxed by America right now, but individual relationships within that community remain strong. Read more >>

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The Hon. Patrick J. Kennedy

U.S. Congressman (RI-1)
(1995-2011)

A Common Struggle: Making Mental Health Essential Health

March 13, 2018

Silence and denial fuel the nation’s opioid crisis, Kennedy told Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos and an audience at Langford Auditorium March 13. His conversation with Zeppos was by turns funny and painfully candid, with a passionate Kennedy pleading for change. Read More >>

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Carly Fiorina

Former CEO, Hewlett-Packard
2016 GOP Presidential Nominee
February 20, 2018 | Watch >>


Jelani Cobb, Ph.D.

Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism,
Columbia University
January 17, 2018 | Watch >>


Adm. Jim Stavridis

Beyond the Horizon: 21st-Century Global Security and Risk

October 3, 2017

The United States of 100 years ago is a good era to review as America sorts out how to proceed in today’s perilous times, the former admiral said during a frank discussion of world politics with Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos and Vanderbilt Distinguished Visiting Professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham. Read More >>

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Sally Yates

The Presidency and the Rule of Law: A Conversation about Justice Past and Present

September 26, 2017

Former United States Acting Attorney General Sally Yates joined Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos and Vanderbilt Distinguished Visiting Professor Jon Meacham for a timely and enlightening discussion on the evolving view of justice.
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Alberto Gonzales & Nina Totenberg

Battle Supreme: Round II – The Future of the Nation’s Highest Court

March 30, 2017

Chancellor Zeppos and Jon Meacham joined former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg for an in-depth look at the implications that come with appointing the ninth justice to the nations highest court. Read more >>

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Michael Sam

February 16, 2017

Michael Sam is an American football defensive end who made history when he came out as gay ahead of the NFL draft, making him the first openly-LGBT player to be drafted in any major American sport. Since his announcement, through scrutiny, criticism and unreserved admiration, he has become an icon and pioneer for the LGBT community. Read more >>

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Joshua DuBois, Ana Navarro & Michael Steele

Beyond Obama – Race, Politics and America’s Future

January 17, 2017

Eight years after Barack Obama’s historic election as the nation’s first African American president, are race relations better or worse in the United States? Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos convened a panel of political experts Tuesday evening to discuss that question, as well as President-elect Donald Trump’s extraordinary ascent to the presidency. Read more >>

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Charles KrauthammerNia Malika Henderson

Nia Malika Henderson & Charles Krauthammer

November 15, 2016

CNN’s Nia Malika Henderson and Pulitzer-Prize winners Charles Krauthammer and Jon Meacham joined Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos for a reflection on the Presidential election and a forward look at what’s next for our country. Read more >>

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Robinson_EugenePeggy-Noonan_200

Peggy Noonan & Eugene Robinson

September 14, 2016

Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos joins The Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Eugene Robinson, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham for a discussion on the upcoming presidential election and the future of our country. Read more >>

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The Hon. Eric H. Holder, Jr.Eric Holder, Jr.

Principled Leadership: The Courage to Face Challenge

November 9, 2015

Chancellor Zeppos welcomed the Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., 82nd Attorney General of the United States as he candidly shared anecdotes from his personal life and time in the Justice Department. Read more >>

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Sen. Lamar Alexander

U.S. Senator, Tennessee
(2003-Present)
February 15, 2016 | Watch >>


Harry Belafonte, Michael Beschloss & Annette Gordon-Reed

January 13, 2015

Harry Belafonte Michael Beschloss Annette Gordon-Reed
Civil and human rights activist Harry Belafonte, award-winning historian Michael Beschloss, and Pulitzer Prize-winning legal scholar and historian Annette Gordon-Reed joined Jon Meacham and Chancellor Zeppos to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act. This important conversation traced America’s journey from 1965-2015 and thoughtfully contemplated our country’s path forward. Read more >>

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Governor Jeb Bush

October 28, 2014

During this talk, Bush discussed his stances on immigration and education policy and said he has set a deadline for the end of the year to decide whether he will seek the U.S. presidency in 2016. Read more >>

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Watch a clip of the Nov. 5 talk from “Morning Joe”. (skip to 1:59 mark)


Tom Brokaw

November 5, 2013

Brokaw, Jon Meacham and Arthur Schlesinger’s sons Stephen and Andrew on the Letters of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

Watch on C-SPAN >>


Nicholas Kristof

January 31, 2013

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