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La Russa, Powell, John Legend headline SEMO speaker series

Sunday, June 17, 2012

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St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa speaks during a celebration for the Cardinals' 11th World Series victory, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011, in St. Louis.
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
What could be the most celebrated and accomplished lineup of speakers yet for the University Speaker Series is coming to Southeast Missouri State University this fall and next spring.

Retired U.S. Army general Colin L. Powell and former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa highlight the 2012-2013 University Speaker Series.

The annual University Speakers Series is in its fifth year and is popular among Southeast students, according to university president Ken Dobbins. In previous years, the series has brought to campus big-name speakers such as Tom Daschle, Michael J. Fox, Cal Ripken Jr., and a debate on health care between Newt Gingrich and Howard Dean.

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The Second City
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Funded by a student-approved activity fee, the lineup for the University Speakers Series is decided, in large part, by a Southeast student committee.

"We're always impressed with the caliber of the speakers the committee chooses," Dobbins said.

This year, the series is kicked off by a visit from Powell, retired U.S. Army general and diplomat. Powell will speak at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Show Me Center. The event is titled "Diplomacy: Persuasion, Trust, and Values."

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Colin Powell
Powell served in senior diplomatic and military roles under presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He has received many U.S. military honors and international accolades, including a French Legion of Honor and an honorary knighthood bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

La Russa will speak at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Show Me Center. He led the Cardinals to three National League championships as well as two World Series titles, first in 2006, then again in 2011. La Russa has also managed the Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox, managing a major league team for a total of 33 seasons. La Russa and his wife, Elaine, co-founded Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation, which has a dual mission of companion animal rescues and animals "rescuing" people.

Four days later, The Second City will perform at noon Nov. 12 at the Bedell Performance Hall at the Southeast Missouri State River Campus. The performance will kick off Southeast Missouri State's Global Entrepreneurship Week by highlighting the creativity and innovation necessary both for groups like The Second City and entrepreneurs. The Second City is an international comedy club, as well as theater and school of improvisation and has produced comedians such as John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Tina Fey, Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert.

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John Legend
The series will continue in 2013 with John Legend, a nine-time Grammy Award-winning musical artist, performer and philanthropist. Legend will speak at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebratory Dinner. The dinner begins at 6 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Show Me Center. Legend is scheduled to deliver his keynote address, titled "An Evening With John Legend," at 7:30 p.m. He will perform immediately after the dinner.

Legend is well known for his albums "Get Lifted" (2004), "Once Again" (2006) and "Evolver" (2008), all of which reached No. 1 on Billboard's R&B/hip-hop charts. In addition to his musical career, Legend is also a social activist. In 2007, he launched the Show Me Campaign, which uses education to break the cycle of poverty. He has been awarded the BET Humanitarian of the Year Award, as well as the Award for Global Change and he partners with Samsung to promote science, math and engineering education.

Following Legend's appearance, Michelle Kwan will visit Southeast Missouri State University in March. Kwan is a world figure skating champion and U.S. Olympic figure skater. Kwan has won dozens of championships, and she served under President Barack Obama on the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. In March, Kwan was elected to the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

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Michelle Kwan
Closing out the 2012-2013 University Speakers Series is Jeff Corwin, environmental journalist and Emmy Award-winning television host. Corwin will speak at 7:30 p.m. April 10 at the Show Me Center. Corwin's best-known show, "Jeff Corwin Experience" on Animal Planet, reaches more than 13 million viewers in the United States. He is also the host of ABC's Saturday morning series "Ocean Mysteries" and the host of MSNBC's 2009 program "100 Heartbeats," which investigated the world's most endangered wildlife as well as the conservationists working to save them. Corwin has been named an ambassador of climate change and Endangered Species on behalf of the Defenders of Wildlife. He has also established and interactive museum and environmental education program known as the EcoZone in Massachusetts.

Tickets for the Powell and LaRussa events become available Aug. 20. Tickets for the Jan. 23 Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner will be available in December. Tickets for the Kwan and Corwin events will be available at a later date. Tickets can be purchased at www.showmecenter.biz or in person at the Show Me Center box office.

General-admission tickets for the Powell, La Russa, Kwan and Corwin events are $10. Proceeds from ticket sales go to funding Southeast Missouri State University student scholarships. Southeast faculty, staff and students can use a valid Southeast ID for a free ticket in the University Center Room 202, the Center for Student Involvement or the Show Me Center box office.

rovermann@semissourian.com

388-6888

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1333 N. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO


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