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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

Sept. 4, 2015

Northwest announces 2015-2016 Distinguished Lecture Series

By Brett Fredenberg, media relations assistant

Northwest Missouri State University has announced its 2015-2016 Distinguished Lecture Series, which features a Freedom Rider and friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a world traveler and globalization expert, and a woman’s equality activist who inspired legislation to ensure equal rights for every American.

The series begins Wednesday, Nov. 18, with investigative reporter and author Kelsey Timmerman. All lectures are at 7:30 p.m. in the Charles Johnson Theater at the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building.

“Our three speakers this year share a commitment to social justice and have compelling personal narratives that help us to attach human faces to social issues,” said Kenton Wilcox, the chair of the Distinguished Lecture Series Committee and an English instructor at the University. “It’s that level of intimacy – Kelsey Timmerman’s stories about Bangladeshi garment workers, Bob Zellner’s stories as a Freedom Rider, Lilly Ledbetter’s story of her long legal battle lost on a technicality, then converted into a political victory — that I think will most capture our attention when we come to hear them speak.”

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

“Beyond the way that our three speakers have chosen to dedicate themselves to improving the lives of other people, they are firsthand witnesses in the struggle for fairness and dignity,” Wilcox said. “That’s the importance of the Distinguished Lecture Series – that we can bring these voices to campus in service to our students and the broader community.”

Kelsey Timmerman

Investigative reporter on globalization and author of “Where Am I Eating?” and “Where Am I Wearing?”
Wednesday, Nov. 18

Kelsey Timmerman’s journey began when he wanted to know where his clothes came from and who made them. His questions would drive him to the utmost parts of the world, taking him from Honduras to Bangladesh to Cambodia to China and back again. Now he travels the world and shares the stories of the people he meets, educating audiences and promoting dialogue about how to improve our world economy.

Timmerman has authored two books, “Where Am I Eating?” and “Where Am I Wearing?” They have been featured in Time, Financial Times, U.S. News and World Report and the Christian Science Monitor.

Speaking at more than 70 universities, colleges and high schools across the country, Timmerman captivates his audiences by engaging individuals to think and act globally, while equipping them with the necessary information to be local and global citizens.

Kelsey Timmerman

Dr. Bob Zellner

Civil rights activist and Freedom Rider
Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Dr. Bob Zellner has worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF), and the Grass Roots Organizing Work (GROW). Dr. Martin Luther King was a friend and mentor to Zellner.

Zellner has lived in many places across the country and the world, spanning from Georgia and Connecticut to Europe and Africa. In his travels, he has organized in many states and through these efforts has been arrested 18 times in seven states. 

In 2008, Zellner’s memoir, “The Wrong Side of Murder Creek, A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement,” was published. He received a Red Star Review from the Library Journal. As a natural leader and speaker, Zellner excites his audiences through stories of his travels and a continual pursuit of civil rights.

Dr. Bob Zellner

Lilly Ledbetter

Women’s equality activist
Tuesday, March 8

Lilly Ledbetter landed her dream job as one of the first female managers at Goodyear. Shortly after, she discovered she was receiving thousands of dollars less for performing the same tasks as her male peers. Ledbetter fought her way through this injustice by causing legislation to be further examined at the Supreme Court level. She went on to become the namesake of President Barack Obama’s first official piece of legislation as president in 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act.

Ledbetter authored her first book in 2012 titled, “Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond.” In the book, she reveals the trials she has faced in her life and how she overcame them. Ledbetter continues to fight for equal rights by insisting on women and minorities to join the pursuit for equality. 

Lilly Ledbetter’s visit to Northwest is sponsored by the James H. Lemon Lecture Series.

Lilly Ledbetter

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

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