President's Lecture Series

President's Lecture Series

The President’s Lecture Series provides an opportunity for all to acknowledge moments, ideas, and issues that shape our society and communities. President Marion Ross Fedrick looks forward to hosting a series that challenges all of us to engage in meaningful and enjoyable conversation.


A Conversation with Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Wednesday, March 20 | 6:00-7:30 p.m. | Building C, 266 (West)


Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Olympic Legend and Gold Medalist 

Jackie Joyner KerseeAs one of the most decorated female athletes of all-time, Jackie dominated the track and field circuit for 13 years and won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals spanning four Olympic Games during her illustrious career. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, she won the silver medal in the heptathlon. Four years later, at the 1988 Games in Seoul, Korea, Jackie struck gold in both her signature events - the heptathlon (world record) and long jump. She followed that up at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain by winning gold in the heptathlon and bronze in the long jump. In her final Olympic appearance at the 1996 Atlanta Games, she won the bronze medal in the long jump. In addition, she won a total of four gold medals (two in the heptathlon and two in the long jump) at three different World Championships and finished first in the long jump at the 1987 Pan American Games.

Sports Illustrated for Women magazine named Jackie the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century. On three different occasions (1994, 1987 and 1986), she was honored by Track & Field News as the World Athlete of the Year. She also was named as the top American Athlete five times (1994, 1992, 1991, 1987 and 1986).

Jackie received the Jesse Owens Award in both 1986 and 1987. She still holds the world record in the heptathlon (7291 points) and is the American record holder in both the heptathlon and long jump (24-7). On December 3, 2004, she was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame. The March 2002 issue of Ebony included her on its list of the Top 10 Greatest African-American Women Athletes.

Jackie attended college at UCLA and starred in both track & field and women's basketball from 1980-to-1985. A four-year starter on the Bruins' basketball team, she is still listed among the school's career leader in scoring average, rebounding and assists.

The inaugural recipient of the Humanitarian Athlete of the Year, Joyner-Kersee is known worldwide for her interest in aiding others. She has helped to build the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Center Foundation in her hometown of East St. Louis, Ill., that has raised more than $12 million.

In 2007, she along with several notable athletes, founded Athletes for Hope, a charitable organization of professional athletes who get involved in charitable causes and inspire millions of non-athletes to volunteer and support their community.

In 2010, Joyner Kersee was honored with an NCAA Silver Anniversary Award given each year by the American National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to recognize six distinguished former student-athletes on their 25th anniversary as college graduates. Most recently, Jackie was selected as the recipient of the 2011 Dick Enberg Award.  The Award is presented annually to a person whose actions and commitment have furthered the meaning and reach of the Academic All-America® Teams Program and/or the student-athlete while promoting the values of education and academics.

Jackie has recently embarked upon a nationwide effort to enhance the comprehensive health of our nation’s communities through the promotion of healthy lifestyles.  She has been asked by the United States Department of Agriculture to promote My Plate, the replacement for the food pyramid.  She has also joined forces with the 77-year-old Farm Foundation to address the availability of healthy foods in challenged communities throughout the United States.  In addition, she just completed a series of internal Public Service Announcements to promote the use of the agency’s online products.

Jackie is married to famed track and field coach Bobby Kersee.  She currently resides in Baldwin, Missouri.   


Wednesday, March 27 | 10:00-11:30 a.m. | Student Center Ballroom (East)

Charnele Brown

Actress, acclaimed sitcom " A Different World"

Charnele BrownCharnele is best known for her portrayal of Kim Reese, the pre-med student on the hit NBC sitcom A DIFFERENT WORLD. She was also one of the first Americans in The hit Broadway musical SARAFINA, which was nominated for a Tony Award. She’s done numerous off Broadway plays, as well as cabaret in New York City. She’s also toured with the musical HEAVEN’S CHILD, The Emmet Till Story, with Regina Bell. Charnele’s film credits includes: SPIKE LEE’S DROP SQUAD, THE KANGEROO, AND TENDRILS, which won 9 indie awards. She’s appeared on numerous hit sitcoms: GIRLFRIENDS, MY WIFE AND KIDS, LIVING SINGLE, OLIVER BEENE, MARTIN. She’s also spearheaded an acting workshop at THE CHALLENGER MEMORIAL CORRECTIONAL FACILITY: offering young adults an opportunity to develop skills and possibly another way out of the life of gangs. Charnele has also assisted in creating an acting workshop at A PLACE CALLED HOME.

THE CHARNELE BROWN ACTING ACADEMY was established a few years ago. She implemented her program successfully, working with The Work Source and Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas. A high risk area in Houston. While in Houston, she teamed up with “Theatre Under The Stars.” She taught classes and had the opportunity to work with the children’s division starring in the musical “Snoopy.”

She gathered a list of talented actors, which came through her Academy, for a musical she wrote, produced, directed and starred entitled WHY BREAKDOWN WHEN YOU CAN BREATHTHROUGH, sponsored by The Agouran Pharmaceutical Company. The play explored African American women and Aids. Charnele has been working on her clothing line called THE CHARNELE BROWN COLLECTION. The line is for everyday women with God given curves, who want to feel and look good without paying a fortune. Ms Brown has a production company called TRI-WEN PRODUCTIONS. Tri-Wen Productions specializes in television, film and theatre productions. Tri-Wen’s first projects will be a feature film called “Coffee Clutch,” and a pilot called “Mercy Me,” which we will film in Houston, Texas.

Charnele is currently in Houston, Tx offering acting classes. She also just wrote, directed and starred in the hit gospel stage play “Love and Fire.” And just completed a play called “No Soldier Left Behind,” performed in San Antonio.