Butler University’s Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series will bring three major names to campus during spring semester: filmmaker Lee Daniels on Jan. 22; former First Lady Laura Bush on Feb. 24; and Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin on March 25.
Admission is free for each event, but tickets are required. Tickets will be available to the public at the Clowes Memorial Hall box office beginning at 10 a.m. Dec. 13 for Daniels, Jan. 17 for Bush, and Feb. 14 for Matlin.
For more information, call (317) 940-6570.
Daniels’ talk, “An Evening with Lee Daniels,” will focus on his career and his films, which include Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, and Monster’s Ball.
The former first lady will share her experiences on the world stage and her work in the areas of education, literacy, volunteerism, and human rights.
Matlin’s talk, “Nobody’s Perfect: Achieving Inclusion, Diversity and Access,” will concentrate on the unexpected challenges she faced by being thrust into the spotlight as an emissary for the deaf community.
The Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series is a collaborative diversity initiative between Butler University and the Office of the Mayor of Indianapolis, with generous support from the Eli Lilly and Co. Foundation, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Citizens Energy Group, Indianapolis Power & Light Co., Old National Bank, Kroger Inc., Radio One, and The Columbia Club.
More about each speaker follows.
“An Evening with Lee Daniels”
Acclaimed director of The Butler
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014
Clowes Memorial Hall
Lee Daniels’ background is filled with bold stories as real and gritty as the narratives from the films he creates. By the age of 21, Daniels founded and ran his own health care agency, providing nurses to private homes and hospitals; he was simultaneously trying to be a screenwriter.
After selling his health care business, and giving up screenwriting, he began managing actors such as Loretta Devine, Michael Shannon, Nastassja Kinsky, and Aishwarya Rai. Daniels turned to producing as a natural result of trying to find and create great material for his clients; the organic leap to directing came soon after.
Daniels’ latest project, The Butler, follows the life of a White House butler who served under eight different U.S. presidents over three decades. The film, which stars Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Robin Williams, John Cusack, Terrence Howard, and Cuba Gooding Jr., was released in August and grossed more than $100 million.
“Reflections on the White House”
First Lady of the United States (2001-2009)
7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24
Clowes Memorial Hall
One of the most beloved and admired American First Ladies, for decades Laura Bush has championed key issues in the fields of education, health care, and human rights. The author of the bestselling memoir Spoken From The Heart, Mrs. Bush also founded both the Texas Book Festival and the National Book Festival in Washington D.C.
Today, as the Chair of the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, Mrs. Bush continues her work on global healthcare innovations, empowering women in emerging democracies, education reform, and supporting the men and women who have served in America’s military.
Born in Midland, Texas, to Jenna and Harold Welch, Laura Bush holds a degree in education and a master’s degree in library science. She taught in public schools in Dallas, Houston, and Austin, and worked as a public school librarian.In 1977, she married George W. Bush.The Bushes are the parents of twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna.
Please note: Large bags (over 12 inches) and backpacks will not be allowed in the auditorium for this event. Patrons will be asked to take them back to their vehicles or dormitories if they arrive with them in hand.
All tickets have been distributed for her talk, but open seats will be released to those without tickets beginning at 7:15 p.m. the night of the event.
“Nobody’s Perfect: Achieving Inclusion, Diversity, and Access”
An Address by Marlee Matlin
Academy Award-winning actress and activist
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 25
Clowes Memorial Hall
Marlee Matlin received worldwide critical acclaim for her motion picture debut in Children of a Lesser God, earning her the Academy Award for Best Actress. At 21, she became the youngest recipient of the Best Actress Oscar, making her one of only four actresses to receive that honor for a film debut.
Matlin has starred in numerous feature films and television series, including NBC’s Emmy-Award winning The West Wing and Law and Order: SVU. In 2007, she joined the cast of Showtime’s cutting-edge drama The L Word, and in 2008, Matlin broke barriers once again when she joined the cast of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.
Matlin currently serves as a National Celebrity Spokesperson for the American Red Cross. She has advocated for closed captioning and was instrumental in getting Congress to pass federal legislation requiring all televisions manufactured in the United States to be equipped with closed captioning technology. She also serves on the boards of a number of charitable organizations including Easter Seals, The Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, as well as charities which primarily benefit children. Matlin has received numerous awards for her advocacy on behalf of children and the deaf community.