Southeast to charge admission to hear some speakers in series

Thursday, September 3, 2009
Republican Newt Gingrich, left, and Democrat Howard Dean will debate health care at 8 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Show Me Center. (Associated Press photos, Southeast Missourian illustration)

Southeast Missouri State University will welcome a couple of high-profile politicians and television personalities to campus, but there will be a charge for some speaking events this year.

Dr. Dennis Holt, vice president of enrollment management and student success, said the university decided to start charging admission to the public for selected events. The proceeds will go to the university foundation to provide financial assistance for students, he said.

"We think it's fair that those members of the community who are interested in coming would be willing to make a small contribution," he said.

Part of the series is supported by the student fees and is organized based on student input. The student-sponsored events cost $223,450. Because students are making an investment, he said it will be appropriate to bring some of the money back to the students.

Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will debate health care Oct. 28. Admission for "Health Care Today" is free for students faculty and staff with university identification, but the event costs $8 for community members.

Dean published a book this year about health care reform. As the issue continues to be a hot topic in Washington D.C., Holt said timing will be critical.

"Maybe by that time people will be disenchanted or bored with the topic, although I don't think so," he said.

Holt said health care affects broader issues that will be addressed by prominent political figures.

"I think it will be timely even if a bill is passed by then," he said.

The other ticketed event is Mike Rowe of the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs." On the show, he travels the country learning about different professions. Rowe is the most expensive appearance, costing $84,000. By comparison, Gingrich and Dean cost $85,450 combined.

Holt said Rowe will also spend time with students when he visits in January.

"He's very interested in career development in a broad sense," Holt said.

Other speakers include Dr. Drew Pinksy, an addiction specialist, who has hosted shows on MTV and VH1.

"He has something to say to everyone, not just the students," Holt said.

Christopher Gardner, the inspiration for the film "The Pursuit of Happyness," will speak at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner on Jan. 20. The dinner has been a ticketed event in the past, and information is available at 651-2524.

The speaker series starts Oct. 13 with an appearance by Aron Ralston. He will talk about his near-death experience. Ralston amputated his right arm after it was pinned under an 800-pound boulder during a hiking accident in Utah.

Other appearances include authors Lyah Beth LeFlore, the Rev. Marcia Dyson and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. The series will conclude with the Center of Strategic and International Studies Conference in April. Dr. Erik Peterson, executive vice president of the organization, will address attendees.

Tickets for Mike Rowe and the health care debate are available at the Show Me Center ticket office, Ticketmaster outlets, 651-5000 or


Pertinent address:

One University Plaza Cape Girardeau, MO

2009-2010 Southeast speaker series

* Aron Ralston, Oct. 13 in Academic Hall auditorium

* Newt Gingrich and Howard Dean health care debate, Oct. 28 at the Show Me Center

* Christopher Gardner at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner, Jan. 20 at the Show Me Center

* Mike Rowe, Jan. 27 at the Show Me Center

* Dr. Drew Pinsky, Feb. 11 in Academic Hall auditorium

* The Rev. Marcia Dyson and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, (date and location TBA)

* Lyah Beth LeFlore, March 24 (location TBA)

* Dr. Erik Peterson at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Conference, April 20 at the Bedell Performance Hall


Pertinent address:

One University Plaza Cape Girardeau, MO

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