Butler University has announced the speaker lineup for its 2014 Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series. Former First Lady Laura Bush will be featured, as well as an Academy Award-winning actress and a Hollywood director. November 4, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – 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.

In “Remarks by Laura Bush,” the former first lady will discuss 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.

“Remarks by Laura Bush”

First Lady of the United States (2001-2009)

7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24

Clowes Memorial Hall

Laura Bush is a compelling advocate for issues of national and global concern. One of America’s most popular First Ladies, Bush discusses her life and shares a compelling voice for helping those in need. She speaks passionately about education, literacy, volunteerism, human rights, and the issues of global importance she championed in the White House.

Bush captures presidential life in the harrowing days and weeks after 9/11. She discusses her experience on the world stage: serving as one of the first U.S. representatives to visit war-torn Afghanistan, reaching out to disease-stricken African nations, tirelessly advocating for women in the Middle East or supporting dissidents in Burma.

Her compassion, sense of humor, grace, and uncommon experience of living through consequential times are the backdrop as she shares her incredible story of rising from small town beginnings in Texas to being at the center of world history. Her memoir, Spoken From the Heart, is a New York Times No. 1 bestseller.

“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.

About Butler University

Butler is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Together, these colleges offer more than 60 undergraduate areas of study, eight pre-professional programs, and 19 graduate programs. Around 4,700 students are enrolled at Butler, representing 45 states and 49 countries. Ninety-five percent of Butler students will have participated in some form of internship, student teaching, clinical rotation, research, or service learning by the time they graduate. This community-centered immersion is coupled with classroom learning that nurtures critical thinking, effective communication, cooperative teamwork, and ethical decision making to prepare students for both professional success and to have lasting impact in their communities. Butler’s overall placement rate for the class of 2012 was 94 percent, including 19 percent who went on to graduate or professional school.

Source: Butler University

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