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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Jan. 22, 2015

Entrepreneur, health expert is next Distinguished Lecture guest Feb. 4

By Erin Dillon, media relations assistant

Derreck Kayongo

Derreck Kayongo

Northwest Missouri State University’ 2014-2015 Distinguished Lecture Series will welcome Derreck Kayongo, a successful entrepreneur and global health expert, on Wednesday, Feb. 4.

The lecture, titled “From Homeless Refugee to Living the American Dream,” begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Mary Linn Auditorium at the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts. The lecture is free and open to the public.

After fleeing his home in Uganda to settle in the United States, Kayongo beat the odds by earning an education and eventually becoming the successful entrepreneur he is today. He was named one of CNN’s Top 10 Heroes of the Year in 2011.

Kayongo founded the Global Soap Project began in 2009 when he and his wife began calling local hotels to ask for their discarded soap. The couple reprocess the soap and donated it to people in need to help fight disease in neglected areas of the world. Since then, the company has expanded its efforts to more than 32 countries. 

While the theme of this year’s Distinguished Lecture Series is “Be your own Hero,” Kayongo’s lecture will call attention to gaining assistance in solving an international health crisis.

“People who come are going to be inspired and moved,” said Kenton Wilcox, the coordinator of this year’s lecture series and an instructor of English at Northwest.

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 of 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.

Kayongo also is the featured speaker of this year's James H. Lemon Lecture. The Lemon Lecture is funded through the generosity of Beatrice E. Hansen, who graduated from Northwest in 1936. The program is named in honor of James H. Lemon, her grandfather and a founder of the Fifth District Normal School, which is now Northwest Missouri State University.

For more information about the Global Soap Project visit

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