Menard Family Distinguished Speaker Series

Bringing world thought leaders to NDSU.

Menard Family Distinguished Speaker Series

The Menard Family Distinguished Speaker Series hosts world thought leaders to share their ideas with the NDSU community on big questions that explore ways to improve the human condition and create economic opportunity. The Distinguished Speaker Series is made possible thanks to a generous gift by the Menard family. 

These events are free and open to the public. We encourage all to join us at the Louise S. Barry Auditorium at Richard H. Barry Hall. A reception with hors d'oeuvres and refreshments will follow in the Mezzanine. 

Parking is available on nearby streets and in the Elim Lot (map). We politely ask you to refrain from parking in the Sons of Norway lot.

Upcoming Speakers

February 15 | Glenn Loury

Glenn C. Loury is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University.  As an academic economist, Professor Loury has published mainly in the areas of applied microeconomic theory, game theory, industrial organization, natural resource economics, and the economics of race and inequality. As a prominent social critic and public intellectual, writing mainly on the themes of racial inequality and social policy, he has published over 200 essays and reviews in journals of public affairs in the U.S. and abroad.  He has received numerous awards and held several prestigious leadership positions.  He is also author of four books and host of “The Glenn Show.”

In Person Online

March 30 | John List

John A. List is the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago.  His research focuses on questions in microeconomics, with a particular emphasis on using field experiments to address both positive and normative issues. For decades his field experimental research has focused on issues related to the inner-workings of markets, the effects of various incentives schemes on market equilibria and allocations, how behavioral economics can augment the standard economic model, on early childhood education and interventions, and most recently on the gender earnings gap in the gig economy (using evidence from rideshare drivers). His research includes over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and several published books. He has received several awards and served on the President’s Council of Economic Advisors in 2022-2003.

April 20 | Gabriela Santos – Financial Markets Day

Gabriela D. Santos, Managing Director, is a Global Market Strategist on the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Global Market Insights Strategy Team. In this role, Gabriela is responsible for delivering timely market and economic insights to institutional and retail clients across the U.S. and  Latin America. In addition, Gabriela conducts  research on the global economy and capital markets and is responsible for the development of the Guide to the Markets, Guide to China, and Guide to the Markets - Latin America, amongst other publications. Gabriela has played an instrumental role in the development of the  team's research on Chinese markets and the expansion of the Market Insights program in Latin America. Gabriela is also a frequent guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, and other financial news outlets and is often quoted in the financial press.

Recent Speakers

Magatte Wade: The Heart of the Cheetah

Magatte Wade is a serial entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, and visionary business leader with a passion for creating positive change in Africa. She is the founder and CEO of, "the lip balm with a mission," and she has created successful high-end retail brands inspired by diverse African traditions. She is passionate about the role of free markets in overcoming poverty and the role of enterprise to tackle social issues and entrepreneurial education. She was named a Forbes “20 Youngest Power Women in Africa,” a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum at Davos, a TED Global Africa Fellow, and a "Leading Woman in Wellness” by the Global Wellness Summit. 



Mark Mills
Technology and the Future: The '20s Will (Yet) Roar

Mark P. Mills is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a faculty fellow at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University. He is a co-founder and strategic partner in Montrose Lane, a software-centric energy-tech venture fund; previously, he cofounded Digital Power Capital and was chairman and CTO of ICx Technologies. He is a bestselling author, host of the new podcast "The Last Optimist," and a frequent media contributor. Mills served in the White House Science Office during the Reagan administration and worked as an experimental physicist and development engineer at Canada's Bell Labs. 



Sam Peltzman

Dr. Sam Peltzman is the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Chicago. His research has focused on issues related to the interface between the public sector and the private economy, including the economics of regulation, banking, automobile safety, pharmaceutical innovation, the growth of government, the political economy of public education, and the economic analysis of voters and legislators. He served as senior staff economist for the President's Council of Economic Advisers during the Nixon administration, and he is currently an editor at the Journal of Law and Economics. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago in 1965. 



Past Distinguished Speakers
  • Vernon Smith, Ph.D., recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002
  • Liz Ann Sonders, managing director and chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab
  • Jason Riley, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and columnist for the Wall Street Journal
  • Tyler VanderWeele, Ph.D., director of the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University
  • Alice Marie Johnson, former federal inmate and founder of the Taking Action for Good Foundation
  • Emily Oster, Ph.D., author and professor of economics at Brown University
  • Robert Koopman, Ph.D., chief economist at the World Trade Organization
  • Ambassador Susan Schwab, former U.S. Trade Representative from 2006-2009
  • Emily Chamlee Wright, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Institute for Humane Studies
  • J.D. Vance, author of the best-seller Hillbilly Elegy
  • Edward Glaeser, Ph.D., professor of economics at Harvard University
  • Arthur Brooks, Ph.D., author and professor of the practice of public leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School
  • Johan Norberg, author and documentary filmmaker
  • John Allison, former chairman and CEO of BB& T Corp. 



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