Events and speakers featured in 2021 Signature Lectures

The 2021 Signature Lectures at the University of Georgia will be held virtually. Several of the events commemorate the 60th anniversary of UGA’s desegregation, all events are open to the public. 

The speakers feature Nikki Giovanni, Neil Shubin, Calvin Trillin, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Harold Alona Black and Joy Harjo. In addition to LeAnne Howe, Justice Goodwin H. Liu, Diane Marie Amann, Stephen R.H. Beach, Pejman Rohani, Ronald L. Simons, and Emma Parmee.

Nikki Giovanni

University Distinguished Professor, Virginia Tech

Giovanni will be the featured speaker of the 21st Annual Mary Frances Early Lecture on February 2, 2021, at 3 p.m. Giovanni has published over two dozen volumes of poetry, essays, and edited anthologies, as well as 11 illustrated children’s books, including "Rosa," an award-winning biography of Rosa Parks. She has been named woman of the year by Mademoiselle, Ladies Home Journal, and Ebony. Oprah has called her one of the twenty-five living legends.

Watch here: YouTube Livestream

Neil Shubin

Robert R. Bensley Distinguished Service Professor of Anatomy

University of Chicago

Shubin is an award-winning paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and science writer. He has developed expeditionary research programs in Canada, Africa, the continental United States, Asia and Greenland over the past 15 years. Shubin is the author of three books, including "Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body." He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Watch Here: Zoom Webinar on February 3, 2021 at 4 p.m.

*Registration required. Capacity limited.

Calvin Trillin

Author and Journalist

A discussion with Charlayne Hunter-Gault, "An Education in Georgia: Then and Now" will feature Trillin on February 4, 2021 at 4 p.m. Trillin is the author of "An Education in Georgia: Charlayne Hunter, Hamilton Holmes, and the Integration of the University of Georgia." He will lead a conversation with alumna Charlayne Hunter-Gault, one of the University's first two African American students, who has received numerous awards for her work in print and broadcast journalism. The conversation will be moderated by Valerie Boyd, Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence and associate professor of journalism at UGA.

Watch Here: Zoom Webinar 

*Registration required. Capacity limited.

Harold Alona Black 

Professor Emeritus, University of Tennessee

This discussion is part of the Terry Leadership Speaker Series, scheduled for February 9, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. Black is the University of Georgia's first black male freshman and in 1966 became the first African American graduate of the Terry College of Business. He is also the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Terry College. Black has published over 100 papers in leading academic journals and lectures extensively in the areas of financial institutions and the monetary system. 

Watch here: Zoom Webinar 

*Registration required. Capacity limited.

Joy Harjo

U.S. Poet Laureate, Renowned Performer and Writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation

LeAnne Howe

Eidson Distinguished Professor in American Literature, University of Georgia

Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Harjo is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and Board of Directors Chair of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. While, Howe's work connects literature, Indigenous knowledge, Native histories, and expressive cultures. She is co-producer and writer for a new film documentary, "Searching for Sequoyah," about the life and disappearance of Sequoyah, creator of the Cherokee syllabary in 1841. This event will take place on March 10, 2021 at 4 p.m.

Watch here: Zoom

Justice Goodwin H. Liu

California Supreme Court

Liu joined the California Supreme Court in 2011 as associate justice. He was previously an associate dean and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Liu specializes in constitutional law, education law and policy, and diversity in the legal profession. He currently holds visiting professorships at both Harvard and Stanford universities, where he teaches constitutional law. 

This event will take place on March 30, 2021, at 12 p.m.

Watch here: To RSVP to Amy Weaver at by March 26 to receive a Zoom link prior to the event.

Diane Marie Amann, Stephen R.H. Beach, Pejman Rohani, Ronald L. Simons, UGA Regents’ Professors

Pejman Rohani, 2020 Regents' Professor and University of Georgia Athletic Association Professor in Ecology and Infectious Diseases in the Odum School of Ecology and the College of Veterinary Medicine. Rohani's research focuses on the introduction of the ecological perspectives to infectious disease biology.

Ronald L. Simons, 2020 Regents' Professor and Distinguished Research Professor in the department of sociology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Simons' research focuses on the processes by which social experiences become biologically embedded and influence mental and physical health outcomes.

Diane Marie Amann, 2021 Regents' Professor and the Emily and Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law in the School of Law. Amann's scholarship focuses on the ways that national, regional and international legal regimes interact as they endeavor to combat atrocity and cross-border crime.

Steven R.H. Beach, 2021 Regents' Professor and Distinguished Research Professor in the department of psychology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Beach's scholarship focuses on the way that community, family and marital processes affect mental and physical health.

The event for the Charter Lecture Series takes place on April 6, 2021 at 3:30 p.m.

Watch here: Zoom

Emma Parmee

Global Head of Discovery Sciences, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson

The Chu Lectureship: "New Directions in Chemistry: Expanding Exploration of Chemical Space'' will take place on April 14, 2021 at 11 a.m. Parmee is considered a leader and top expert in drug manufacturing and development. The Chu Lectureship honors the outstanding accomplishments of Distinguished Research Professor and Professor Emeritus Dr. David Chu, who has spent his entire career researching new drugs for the treatment of viral infections and cancer.

Watch here: Zoom Webinar