The Penn State Behrend Speaker Series brings recognized and accomplished individuals to campus to provoke thought and stimulate discussion of some of the most compelling issues and events in our society. Our speakers are uniquely positioned to spark conversation and deepen the consideration of the political, business, and societal issues we face today.
The Speaker Series is made possible by the college's Student Activity Fee, Division of Student Affairs, and Harriet Behrend Ninow Memorial Lecture Series Fund.
Penn State Behrend's 2022–23 Speaker Series will feature a former ambassador to Ukraine, an actor and writer, an environmentalist, and Wall Street's first Black woman trader. Each program begins at 7:30 p.m. in McGarvey Commons and is free and open to the public.
Fall 2022 Speakers
Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine
Wednesday, October 12, 7:30 p.m.
Marie Yovanovitch served three times as U.S. ambassador, most recently in Kyiv as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Previously, she served as U.S. ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic (2005–2008) and the Republic of Armenia (2008–2011). She retired from the Foreign Service in 2020 and is currently a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a non-resident fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.
One of Wall Street's First Black Women Traders & Chief of Strategic Partnerships, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs
Thursday, November 10, 7:30 p.m.
From humble Southern beginnings to breaking barriers on Wall Street, Martina Marshall Edwards is the epitome of refusing to allow your circumstances to dictate your outcome. A finance major and graduate of Alabama's Tuskegee University, a historically black college and university, Edwards went on to become the first African-American female equity trader for Merrill Lynch and in the 200-plus-year history of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It also made her the only African-American woman seat holder among its then 1,366 members.
Spring 2023 Speakers
Brendan Hunt, Actor and Co-creator of Ted Lasso
Monday, February 13, 7:30 p.m.
Brendan Hunt is an actor and writer best known for co-creating the international smash hit TV comedy Ted Lasso, in which he also plays Coach Beard.
Wanjiku "Wawa" Gatheru
Environmental Justice Warrior, Rhodes Scholar & Founder of Black Girl Environmentalist
Thursday, March 23, 7:30 p.m.
For Wanjiku "Wawa" Gatheru, caring about the environment started early. While farming with her mom and grandmother as a child, the conversations would often turn to saving the earth. The first-generation American of Kenyan descent became even more invested when taking an environmental science class in high school when she learned that social justice and climate issues were deeply intertwined. Everything suddenly became personal. "It was in this call I learned that the environment had everything to do with me," she says.
A list of previous speakers is available.