Southeast Missouri State University recently announced its 2011-2012 speaker series, and this year's cast should be a big draw for both the university community and Southeast Missouri.
* Kicking off this year's series is Lisa Ling. Ling, who has served as a reporter, war correspondent and host of a television show, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Show Me Center.
* Michael J. Fox will take to the Show Me Center stage at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26. Fox, whose talk is titled "Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist," is widely recognized for his acting career as well as his outspoken battle with Parkinson's disease.
* As part of the speaker series and the university's Business and Enterprenuership Week, Scrubs & Beyond CEO and president Karla Bakersmith and author and workplace consultant Clinton Taulbert will speak at 6 p.m. Nov. 14 and 15 in the Glenn Auditorium in Dempster Hall.
* The annual university Martin Luther King Jr. dinner and presentation will take place at 6 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Show Me Center. Keynoting this year's event is L. Douglas Wilder, the first African-American governor in the U.S.
* Sports fans and non-sports fans alike will want to hear former St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner speak at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 29 at the Show Me Center. Warner, a two-time MVP in the NFL, will give a presentation titled "All Things Possible!"
* Closing out this year's series is Bill Nye, sometimes referred to as "the Science Guy." Nye, who has hosted several television series, will speak at 7:30 p.m. April 3 at the Show Me Center.
Tickets for the Ling and Fox presentations went on sale this week, and Warner and Nye tickets will go on sale at a later date. General admission tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster outlets and the Show Me Center box office for $10. Southeast faculty, staff and students with a valid ID can pick up tickets for free on campus or at the Show Me Center box office. Tickets for the King dinner and presentation are $15 and must be purchased in advance. The Bakersmith and Taulbert events are free and open to the public.
We encourage Southeast students to take advantage of these opportunities to hear from nationally recognized speakers at no additional cost to you. Likewise, others in the community should also consider attending one or more of these likely inspiring -- and affordable -- events.