Ivy Leaf - Spring 2003

Distinguished Speaker Series Wraps Up Year of All-Star Cast


An attorney specializing in civil rights and terrorism, a best-selling novelist, and an astronomer with a passion for comets headlined an all-star cast for Penn State Altoona's 2002-2003 Distinguished Speaker Series. The series kicked off on September 16, 2002 when attorney Morris Dees addressed some of the key issues facing our country caused by the September 11 tragedy in his speech entitled, "A Passion for Justice." Dees has successfully tracked and fought domestic terrorists for 20 years as chief trial counsel for The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit group he co-founded in 1971 which specializes in lawsuits involving civil rights violations, domestic terrorists, and racially-motivated crimes. His efforts have resulted in the Civil Rights Memorial, lawsuits that bankrupted the KKK and imprisoned perpetrators of hate crimes and increased awareness of radical militias, and has won landmark trials against the KKK and Aryan Nation.

In July 1994, Comet Shoemaker Levy-9 smashed into Jupiter – a cosmic event never before seen in recorded history. It's no surprise that David Levy witnessed the first sighting of the comet, as he has been studying the night sky for more than 30 years. He brought his ceaseless commitment and passion for comet-hunting to Penn State Altoona on October 17, 2002 when he discussed Jupiter & Shoemaker-Levy 9: The Great Comet Collision. A nationally sought-after expert on cosmic events, Levy has appeared on such television shows as Today and Good Morning America, as well as several specials on The Discovery Channel.

Widely respected for his ability to spot economic and political trends around the world, Dr. Fareed Zakaria has developed an international reputation as a global thinker. Describing him as "the most influential political adviser of his generation," Esquire magazine named Zakaria – Editor of Newsweek International – as "one of the 21 most important people of the 21st Century." Zakaria brought his insights to Penn State Altoona on February 11, 2003, for a discussion of Terrorism in an Age of Globalization.

During the past 25 years, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and best-selling author Anna Quindlen's work has appeared in America's most influential newspapers and most widely read magazines, and on both fiction and non-fiction best-seller lists. Her latest non-fiction book, A Short Guide to a Happy Life, has sold over one million copies and has been on every national best-seller list since it was first published at the end of 2000. Quindlen wrapped up the Distinguished Speaker Series for the year on March 3, 2003 with her discussion of Women in the 21st Century: The Balancing Act, as part of the College's Women's History Month celebration.