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 attend and take advantage of this unique opportunity to engage with renowned speakers.
A note for fall 2021: Our distinguished speakers will be joining us virtually this semester. Presentations will be broadcast on Zoom and live at Richard H. Barry Hall. We invite you to join us for an in-person audience experience and reception in the Louise S. Barry Auditorium.
Alice Marie Johnson
October 13 | 3:00 - 4:30 pm Central
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.
November 9 | 3:00 - 4:30 pm Central
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.
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 Know, Cribsheet: 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.