Distinguished Speaker Series

The George E. McCammon Memorial Distinguished Speaker Series challenges students to examine key issues facing our society and apply the tools of their liberal arts curriculum as they search for truth and enlightenment.

In 1998, Class of 1925 alumnus George A. McCammon established the George E. McCammon Memorial Distinguished Speaker Series at McKendree with an endowed gift in honor of his father, Dr. George E. McCammon. Dr. McCammon served as a Methodist minister for 18 years before he became president of McKendree College in 1919.

Like his father, Mr. McCammon believed that significant learning is not limited to the classroom. With this gift to McKendree in his father’s honor, he created a forum for the exchange of ideas that occurs outside the classroom.


Photo of Linda GreenlawLinda Greenlaw

Wednesday, November 9, 2016, @ 7:30 p.m.

The real-life hero of Sebastian Junger’s novel-made-movie, The Perfect Storm, Linda Greenlaw is the only female swordfish boat captain in the world and a lifelong commercial fisherman.

The Woodrow Wilson Fellow was featured on the Discovery Channel series Swords: Life on the Line” (2009-2011) and is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Hungry Ocean (1999), The Lobster Chronicles (2002) and All Fishermen Are Liars (2004), as well as two mysteries, Slipknot (2007) and Fisherman’s Bend (2008).   


the Idea Lab graphicthe idea lab

Tuesday, March 7, 2017, @ 7:30 p.m.


Modeled after the hugely popular TED Talks (Technology, Entertainment, Design), this event will bring together a group of informative and performative speakers for one night of fascinating talks and ideas.

Photo of Steve OlsherWhat Is The One Amazing Thing You Were Born To Do?

Author, TEDx presenter and workshop leader Steve Olsher helps you identify your strengths and limitations in order to cultivate a life of purpose, conviction and contribution.


Photo of Rachel ElsonSix Things to Do at a New Job.

Rachel Elson, Deputy Editor at Money.com, offers advice on negotiating a salary, saving money, taking advantage of freebies, becoming invaluable and learning from others.


Photo of Dr. Brian FrederkingHierarchies and Networks.

Political science professor Brian Frederking, Ph.D. presents a unique analysis of the presidential election and the current divisions in our country, according to those who prefer hierarchy and are threatened by networks, and vice versa.

Photo of Neem SerraBattling Unconscious Bias.

Learn the common vocabulary of bias and how it affects our perceptions, decisions and interactions, from software developer Neem Serra.


Photo of Danielle HarrisonThe Talk: And I’m Not Talking About Sex!

A non-threatening, fun yet challenging conversation about race with Saint Louis University High School faculty member Danielle Harrison.


Photo of Tress KurzymThe Creative Game of Life.

Theatre educator Tress Kurzym helps you assess your “CQ,” or creative quotient, and discuss the importance of 21st century skills.


Elizabeth Gilbert - SOLD OUT!Elizabeth Gilbert - SOLD OUT!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017, @ 7:30 p.m.

Author Elizabeth Gilbert has been a finalist for both the PEN/Hemingway Award and the National Book Award. Her blockbuster, Eat, Pray, Love, spent 57 weeks at #1 on The New York Times Bestseller List.

Sponsored by Betty H. Ford and the late Col. William Ford