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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Aug. 30, 2013

Northwest announces 2013-2014 Distinguished Lecture Series

Northwest Missouri State University has announced its 2013-2014 Distinguished Lecture Series, which features a released death row inmate, an award-winning photographer, a climate scientist and a Nobel Laureate.

The objective of the Distinguished Lecture Series is to enhance the academic environment through individual discipline and interdisciplinary topics. Supported by the Office of the Provost and the Office Campus Activities, the series presents the Northwest campus and surrounding communities with opportunities to hear from extraordinary individuals who come from around the globe. Scholars, world travelers and leaders in their fields visit the Northwest campus to share their wisdom, insight and experiences.

The 2013-2014 series consists of four lectures beginning Thursday Oct. 17. All lectures start at 7:30 p.m.

Damien Echols and Lorri Davis

Damien Echols and Lorri Davis
Thursday, Oct. 17, Charles Johnson Theater

Damien Echols served more than 18 years on death row for a crime of which he was innocent. He was a member of what became known as the “West Memphis Three,” a group of teenagers who were wrongly convicted for the 1993 murders of three 8-year-old boys in Arkansas.

While Echols was in prison, Lorri Davis, a Brooklyn, N.Y., architect, reached out to him after seeing a documentary on the crime. Through a series of letters to Echols, she explained that she wanted to help appeal his convictions. The two developed a relationship and married in 1999.

Numerous documentaries and books have been produced about the crime. Echols and Davis co-produced the documentary “West of Memphis,” and Echols’ published an autobiography called “Life After Death.”

To watch a film trailer for “West of Memphis” and learn more about this story, visit
James Balog

James Balog
Tuesday, Nov. 12, Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts

James Balog is an award-winning nature and science photographer. He is also the contributing editor to National Geographic Adventure, the subject of the short film “A Redwood Grows in Brooklyn” and founder of the Extreme Ice Survey.

Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey, the most wide-ranging photographic study of glaciers ever conducted, is featured in the highly acclaimed documentary “Chasing Ice,” which reveals the impact of climate change. “Chasing Ice” won the award for Excellence in Cinematography at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival along with dozens of awards in film festivals worldwide. Northwest will offer a free screening of the film at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts.

Balog’s photography has been published in National Geographic, The New Yorker, Life, Vanity Fair and The New York Times Magazine. His work has received numerous international acclaims, including the Leica Medal of Excellence.

To learn more about James Balog and view his photography, visit his official website at To view a film trailer for "Chasing Ice," visit

Michael Mann

Michael Mann
Wednesday, Feb. 19, Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts

Dr. Michael Mann is a climate scientist and a distinguished professor of meteorology at Penn State University. He also holds joint appointments with the department of geosciences and is the director of the Earth System Science Center, which works to describe, model and understand the Earth's climate system

Mann is author of more than 160 peer-reviewed publications and has published two books, “Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming” in 2008 and “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Line” in 2012. He also is co-founder and avid contributor to the award-winning science website 

To learn more about Mann, visit his official website at
Jean Brennan

Jean Brennan
Monday, April 21, Charles Johnson Theater

Dr. Jean Brennan shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore for her significant contribution to understanding climate change.

Currently, she is a landscape conservation coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which works with the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative. She is an accomplished field biologist and has conducted research on primates in Kenya, carnivores in Madagascar, endangered large animals on Peninsula Malaysia and orangutans in Indonesia.

Brennan also serves on the scientific advisory board for the Endangered Species Coalition. As an ecologist, she brings her expertise to identify research and programmatic activities to help address the impacts of climate change on wildlife and natural ecosystems.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468