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.




Play the Winona LaDuke VideoWinona LaDuke

Wednesday, September 20, 2017, @ 7:30 p.m.


Winona LaDuke is an internationally renowned Native American activist and advocate for environmental, women’s, and children’s rights. She is the founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project; founder and co-chair of the Indigenous Women’s Network; and co-founder of Honor the Earth, with Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls. Their work with Honor the Earth earned LaDuke, Ray, and Saliers the distinction of “1997 Woman of the Year” by Ms. Magazine.

She is a former two-time U.S. vice presidential candidate who joined consumer advocate and activist Ralph Nader on the Green Party ticket in the 1996 and 2000 presidential elections.

LaDuke is the author of six books—including her most recent, The LaDuke Chronicles—who has written extensively on Native American and environmental issues. She has been profiled in publications including People, Sierra, E, and Minnesota Monthly magazines.




Play the Jamelle Bouie VideoJamelle Bouie

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, @ 7:30 p.m.


Jamelle Bouie is the chief political correspondent for Slate Magazine, where he writes about national politics, as well as a political analyst for CBS News covering campaigns, elections, and national affairs. His work has appeared online or in print in The American Prospect, The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The New Yorker online. Based in Washington D.C., he is a native of Virginia Beach, Va., and attended the University of Virginia, where he graduated with degrees in political and social thought, and government. He uses film cameras, reads comic books, and enjoys heirloom beans.




 Play the Jeanne Marie Laskas VideoJeanne Marie Laskas

Tuesday, November 14, 2017, @ 7:30 p.m.


Jeanne Marie Laskas is The New York Times best-selling author of Concussion (2015) and the 2009 GQ article “Game Brain” (which inspired the film Concussion”), about a forensic pathologist whose medical discovery put him in the NFL’s crosshairs.

Laskas is the author of six other books, include the award-winning Hidden America (2012). Formerly a contributing editor at Esquireand a syndicated columnist (“Significant Others”) at The Washington Post Magazine, she has written for national magazines for 20 years. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times MagazineSmithsonian MagazineO: The Oprah MagazineAllure, Ladies Home Journal, and in numerous anthologies. She is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is director of The Writing Program, and founding director of The Center for Creativity. She lives on a horse farm with her husband and two daughters.




 Play the Dr. Mario Livio VideoDr. Mario Livio

Wednesday, February 21, 2018, @ 7:30 p.m.


Dr. Mario Livio is an internationally renowned astrophysicist who has worked for 24 years with the Hubble Space Telescope. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has published more than 400 scientific papers on topics ranging from Dark Energy and cosmology to black holes and extrasolar planets.

Livio is also the author of five popular science books, including The Golden Ratio (a national bestseller for which he received the Peano Prize and the International Pythagoras Prize) and Is God A Mathematician? His most recent book, Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein, was on The New York Times Bestseller List and was selected by The Washington Post as one of its “2013 Best Books of the Year.”