Speaker Archives

Menard Family Distinguished Speaker Series

Spring 2022
Jason Riley
Upward Mobility and Race in America

Jason Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, where he has published opinion pieces for more than 20 years. Topics include politics, economics, education, immigration, social inequality, and race. He is the author of five books, including the 2021 biography “Maverick,” which chronicles the life of public intellectual Thomas Sowell. His most recent book, “The Black Boom,” is an assessment of the shrinking black-white gaps in joblessness, income, poverty, and other measures prior to the pandemic.

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Liz Ann Sonders
Keynote for Financial Markets Day

As Managing Director and Chief Investment Strategist at Charles Schwab, Liz Ann Sonders has a range of investment strategy responsibilities, from market and economic analysis to investor education, all focused on the individual investor. A keynote speaker at numerous industry conferences, Liz Ann is regularly quoted in financial publications, and she appears as a regular guest on news programs. Liz Ann has been named “Best Market Strategist” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and one of SmartMoney magazine’s “Power 30.” Barron’s has named her to its “100 Most Influential Women in Finance” list and Investment Advisor has included her on the “IA 25,” its list of the 25 most important people in and around the financial advisory profession.

Vernon L. Smith
A Conversation with Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith

Dr. Vernon L. Smith was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002 for his groundbreaking work in experimental economics. Dr. Smith has joint appointments with the Argyros School of Business and Economics and the Fowler School of Law at Chapman University. He has authored or co-authored more than 350 articles and books on capital theory, finance, natural resource economics, and experimental economics. Dr. Smith completed his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, his master's degree in economics at the University of Kansas, and his Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University.

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Fall 2021
Emily Oster

Emily Oster is professor of economics at Brown University and author of three best-selling books on pregnancy and parenting: Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong - and What You Really Need to KnowCribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool, and The Family Firm: A Data-Driven Guide to Better Decision Making in the Early School Years. Her academic work focuses on health economics and statistical methods. In addition, she writes the newsletter ParentData and serves as executive director for the COVID-19 School Data Hub. 

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Alice Marie Johnson
From Prison to Promise

Alice Marie Johnson is a formal federal inmate who brings a passionate and personal perspective to the criminal justice reform movement. Her story received world-wide attention when Kim Kardashian West advocated for her release from a mandatory life sentence without parole. After over 21 years in federal prison for her first and only conviction in a nonviolent drug case, President Donald Trump granted her clemency in 2018 and a full pardon in 2020. She is the founder and CEO of the Taking Action for Good Foundation and author of the best-selling memoir After Life: My Journey from Incarceration to Freedom

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Tyler VanderWeele
On the Promotion of Human Flourishing

Tyler VanderWeele is the director of the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University's Institute for Quantitative Social Science. He holds degrees from the University of Oxford, University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University in mathematics, philosophy, theology, finance and applied economics, and biostatistics. His research spans psychiatric and social epidemiology; the science of happiness and flourishing; and the study of religion and health. He has published over 300 papers in peer-reviewed journals and is the author of three books. 

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Spring 2021
J.D. Vance
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

J.D. Vance grew up in the Rust Belt city of Middletown, Ohio, and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school and served in Iraq. A graduate of the Ohio State University and Yale Law School, he has contributed to the National Review and is a principal at a leading Silicon Valley investment firm. He is the author of the #1 New York Times best-seller Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in CrisisHillbilly Elegy tells the true story of upward mobility and examines the social, regional, and class decline of white working-class Americans.

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Emily Chamlee-Wright
Free Speech on Campuses and Our Road Back to Good Conversations

Emily Chamlee-Wright is the president and CEO of the Institute for Humane Studies, which supports and partners with scholars working within the classical liberal tradition to advance higher education's core purpose of intellectual discovery and human progress. Prior to joining IHS in 2016, Dr. Chamlee-Wright served as provost and dean at Washington College and professor of economics and associate dean at Beloit College. She has six books to her credit and is an expert on the complex and often fraught topic of free speech policy and governance in higher education. She earned her PhD in economics from George Mason University.

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Ambassador Susan Schwab
Trade Talks and Trailblazing: Lessons from a Former U.S. Trade Representative

Ambassador Susan Schwab served as U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) from 2006-2009 and deputy USTR from 2005-2006. Earlier in her career, she served as assistant secretary of commerce and director-general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, as a trade staffer and legislative director for Senator John C. Danforth, and as a foreign service officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. She began her career as an agricultural trade negotiator at USTR. In academia, she served as dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. She holds a bachelor's degree from Williams College; a master's degree from Stanford University; and a Ph.D. from The George Washington University.

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Robert Koopman
COVID-19: Implications for the Future of Globalization and Integration

Robert Koopman serves as the Chief Economist and Director of the Economic Research and Statistics Division at the World Trade Organization. Prior to this post, he served as the Director of Operations and Chief Operating Officer for the U.S. International Trade Commission. He is also an associate professor at the Graduate Institute of Geneva and research fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research.

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Fall 2020
Arthur Brooks

Arthur C. Brooks is Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Arthur C. Patterson Faculty Fellow at the Harvard Business School. Before joining the Harvard faculty in July of 2019, he served for ten years as president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a public policy think tank in Washington, DC. Brooks is the author of 11 books, including the national bestsellers “Love Your Enemies” (2019), “The Conservative Heart” (2015), and “The Road to Freedom” (2012). He is a columnist for The Atlantic, host of the podcast The Art of Happiness with Arthur Brooks, and subject of the 2019 documentary film “The Pursuit.”

Watch Clip "Inequality of Dignity"        Watch Clip "Fighting Poverty"

Edward Glaeser
Pandemics and Geography: How Does COVID-19 Change America's Spatial Economy

Edward Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1992. He regularly teaches microeconomics theory, and occasionally urban and public economics. He has served as Director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, and Director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston. He has published dozens of papers on cities economic growth, law, and economics. In particular, his work has focused on the determinants of city growth and the role of cities as centers of idea transmission. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1992.

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Spring 2020
Johan Norberg
Why I am an Optimist. Why this is the Golden Era of Human Development, and Why You Don't Know It. 

Johan Norberg is an author, lecturer and documentary filmmaker, with documentaries on globalization, economic development and free trade. He is the author and editor of several books, including Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, named a "book of the year" by The Guardian, The Economist and The Observer. He is a native of Sweden, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC, and the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels, Belgium. For his work, Norberg has received the Distinguished Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Award from the Atlas Foundation, the Walter Judd Freedom Award, the Julian Simon Memorial Award and the gold medal from the German Hayek Stiftung, that year shared with Margaret Thatcher.

Watch Clip "History of Socialism in Sweden"

Fall 2019
John Allison
The Philosophical Fight for the Future of America

John Allison is the former chairman and CEO of BB&T Corp., the 10th-largest financial services holding company headquartered in the United States. He is the author of “The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why Pure Capitalism is the World Economy’s Only Hope” and “The Leadership Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why the Future of Business Depends on the Return to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” He was president and CEO of the Cato Institute, a public policy think tank dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace, from 2012 to 2015. He is currently an executive-in-residence at the Wake Forest School of Business.

Human Progress and Flourishing Workshop

Spring 2022
Ilana Redstone | The Uncertainty Principle

Dr. Ilana Redstone is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Kerianne Lawson | Transformation through Ownership: The Khaya Lam Project

Dr. Kerianne Lawson is an assistant professor of economics and a scholar of the Challey Institute at North Dakota State University.


Dennis Coates | Economic Freedom and the Russian Federation

Dr. Dennis Coates is a professor of economics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. 


Kristen Monaco | Assessing the Impact of Autonomous Trucks on the Labor Market

Dr. Kristen Monaco is the chief economist of the Federal Maritime Commission.


Daniel Bennett | Populist Discourse and Entrepreneurship

Dr. Daniel Bennett is an assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at the University of Louisville.


James Peoples | Transportation Technology's Contribution to Societal Welfare

Dr. James Peoples is a professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


Abigail Devereaux | The Clarke's Law Gap: How Magical Innovation Outpaces Regulation

Dr. Abigail Devereaux is an assistant professor of economics at Wichita State University. 


Fall 2021
Bradley Campbell | Social Justice, Sociology, and Moral Humility

Dr. Bradley Campbell is a professor of sociology at California State University, Los Angeles.

Benjamin Klutsey | Unleashing Market Forces in Post-Colonial Ghana

Benjamin Klutsey is the director of academic outreach at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Colleen Haight | The Prophet Function: Lessons from Delphi

Dr. Colleen Haight is a professor of economics at San Jose State University. 

Sameeksha Desai | Before Start: Policy and Access to Entrepreneurship Opportunity

Dr. Sameeksha Desai is an associate professor in the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.

Bradford Wilcox | Orphaned: How Our Political Class Has Failed the American Family

Dr. W. Bradford Wilcox is a professor of sociology and the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.

Carol Graham | Hope, Despair, and Divided Futures in post-COVID America

Dr. Carol Graham is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a professor at the University of Maryland, and a senior scientist at Gallup.

Ben Winchester | Rewriting the Rural Narrative

Dr. Ben Winchester is a senior research fellow with the Extension Center for Community Vitality at the University of Minnesota Extension.

IDEAS Research Workshop

Spring 2021
Marian Tupy | Most Things are Getting Better, Yet People Remain Pessimistic

Dr. Marian Tupy is the editor of Human​Progress​.org, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute's Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity and co‐​author of The Simon Project.


Ben Winchester | Rewriting the Rural Narrative

Dr. Ben Winchester is a senior research fellow with the Extension Center for Community Vitality at the University of Minnesota Extension. Presentation

Clip #1     Clip #2

Greg Lukianoff | America's Failed 40-Year Experiment with Hate Speech Codes, and the Global Costs

Greg Lukianoff is an attorney, New York Times best-selling author, and the President and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.


Adam Thierer | What Vision Will Govern the Future of Innovation

Adam Thierer is a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.


Maria Minniti | Innovation and Regulations in an Emerging Industry

Dr. Maria Minniti is the Bantle Chair in Entrepreneurship and Public Policy and director of the Institute for an Entrepreneurial Society at Syracuse University.

Clip #1     Clip #2

Patrick Wolf | Three Empirical Studies on School Choice and Student Outcomes

Dr. Patrick Wolf is a distinguished professor of education policy and 21st Century Endowed Chair in School Choice at the University of Arkansas.


Marta Podemska-Mikluch | Foregone Innovation

Dr. Marta Podemska-Mikluch is an associate professor of economics and the Marcia Page and John Huepenbecker Endowed Professor of Entrepreneurship at Gustavus Adolphus College.


Fall 2020
Matthew Clancy | The Case for Remote Work

Dr. Matthew Clancy is an assistant teaching professor at Iowa State University affiliated with the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Department of Economics.


Edward Timmons | Too Much License?

Dr. Edward Timmons is a professor of economics and director of the Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation at Saint Francis University. 


James Caton | Virtue in Civic Discourse and the Roots of Liberalism

Dr. James Caton is an assistant professor of economics and a faculty fellow of the Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise at North Dakota State University. 


Wenhong Chen | Zoom or Doom in the Age of CyberSovereignty and Digital Nationalism

Dr. Wenhong Chen is an associate professor of media studies and sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. 


Bradford Wilcox | For the Sake of the Children

Dr. W. Bradford Wilcox is director of the National Marriage Project and a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia.


Rajshree Agarwal | Fostering Enterprise and Creating Value in Trade 

Dr. Rajshree Agarwal is chair and professor in entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland and director of the Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets. 


Jan Pfister | Innovating Under Pressure and the Speeding Up of Organizational Life

Dr. Jan Pfister is a senior lecturer at Turku School of Economics and a research fellow at the House of Innovation at Stockholm School of Economics. 


More Events

Dakota Digital Discussion
Featuring Steve Malme
Moderated by Dr. John Bitzan and Dr. Kendall Nygard

Digital Transformation: Technology, Business and Career -- A lifelong learning mindset tends to lead to professional opportunities, positive experiences, and career success. In this talk, Steve Malme draws on his professional and personal experiences to address students and professionals who have a passion for pressing the envelope of change. 

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Panel with NDSU Public Health
Featuring Dr. Ali Mokdad, Dr. Lynn Blewett, Dr. Stefanie Haeffele
Moderated by Dr. John Bitzan and Dr. Pamela Jo Johnson

Panelists address issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic such as the economic, health, and social costs of the pandemic and policy responses; the difficult balance in addressing economic, health, and social concerns; and the types of policies that are likely to accelerate the return to a society that is physically and mentally healthy, where economic opportunities are growing, and where there is a greater sense of community.

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