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Northwest Missouri State University

Distinguished Lecture Series (Photo by University Photography)

Distinguished Lecture Series

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 Student Activities Council, the series offers the Northwest campus and surrounding communities with opportunities to hear from extraordinary individuals from throughout the globe. Scholars, world travelers and leaders in their fields visit the Northwest campus to share their wisdom, insight and experiences.

All lectures are free and open to the public.

For more information about the Distinguished Lecture Series, contact the Kenton Wilcox, chair of the Distinguished Lecture Series Committee, at

Julissa Arce

7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 25
Mary Linn Auditorium, Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts
Sponsored in collaboration with the Student Activities Council; Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; International Involvement Center; and Bearcat Bookstore

Julissa ArceJulissa Arce is a writer, immigrant rights, education advocate and a CNBC contributor. Prior to becoming an advocate, she built a successful career on Wall Street, working at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch and had seemingly achieved the American Dream, and yet she was not part of what defined American.

Arce immigrated to America from Mexico at the age of 11 and was undocumented for almost 15 years, including some of her years rising to prominence on Wall Street. In order to help other young people in similar circumstances, she co-founded the Ascend Educational Fund, a college scholarship and mentorship program for immigrant students, regardless of their immigration status, ethnicity or national origin. She was officially sworn in as an American citizen in August of 2014. Her memoir, “My (Underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive,” was published in September 2016.

Arce shares her story about what it was like “climbing the corporate ladder” as both a Hispanic woman and an undocumented American. While, to many, she achieved the American dream of wealth and status, how could it be that she still did not fit what the U.S. legally defines as American? She discusses how questions like that, and the stories of the millions of other undocumented Americans living in the U.S., compelled her to leave Wall Street and pursue a path as an immigration rights advocate. Through Julissa’s personal stories, audiences will gain a new perspective on what it means to achieve the “American dream.”

Tarana Burke

7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 24
Mary Linn Auditorium, Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts
Sponsored in collaboration with the Student Activities Council

*Tickets available fall 2018

Tarana BurkeTarana Burke, a social justice activist and the founder of the 'me too.' movement, will deliver the 2017-18 James H. Lemon Lecture. Burke shares the story behind the genesis of last year’s viral and Time magazine Person of the Year-winning 'me too.' movement, while giving strength and healing to people who have experienced sexual trauma or harassment.

The #metoo hashtag campaign emerged as a rallying cry for people everywhere who have survived sexual assault and sexual harassment. Burke’s powerful, poignant story as the creator of what is now an international movement that supports survivors has moved, uplifted and inspire audiences. She provides words of empowerment that lift up marginalized voices and enable survivors of all races, genders or classes to know they are not alone.

Burke has dedicated more than 25 years of her life to social justice and laying the groundwork for a movement that was initially created to help young women of color who survived sexual abuse and assault. The movement now inspires solidarity, amplifies the voices thousands of victims of sexual abuse, and puts the focus back on survivors. In her upcoming book, “Where the Light Enters,” Burke discusses the importance of the #metoo movement as well as her personal journey from “victim to survivor to thriver.”

A sexual assault survivor herself, Tarana is now working under the banner of the ‘me too’ movement to assist other survivors and individuals who work to end sexual violence. She also is senior director of programs at the Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity.