Distinguished Speaker Series

The Division of Student Affairs is pleased to announce that the following speakers will participate in the 2013-2014 Distinguished Speaker Series:

  • Alexandra Cousteau
    This Blue Planet: Preserving and Sustaining a Healthy Earth
    Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
    Wolf Kuhn Theatre, Misciagna Family Center for the Performing Arts
  • Daymond John
    How to Negotiate: Lessons from an Entrepreneurial Icon
    Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
    Pond View Lounge, Slep Student Center
  • Giancarlo Esposito
    Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
    Adler Athletic Complex

The Penn State Altoona Distinguished Speaker Series are free and open to the public. Tickets are available at the Penn State Altoona Bookstore Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the box office in the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts during posted hours, or at the door if not "sold out" in advance.

Penn State Altoona provides The Distinguished Speaker Series as a student and community service. They are partially sponsored by the Margery Wolf Kuhn Fund, the John and Ann Wolf Family Speakers Series Fund, the Sarah Simonton Fund, and the Student Activities Fee.


Alexandra Cousteau

Alexandra Cousteau

This Blue Planet: Preserving and Sustaining a Healthy Earth
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
Wolf Kuhn Theatre, Misciagna Family Center for the Performing Arts

A National Geographic "emerging explorer," filmmaker, and globally recognized advocate on water issues, Alexandra Cousteau continues the work of her renowned grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau and her father Philippe Cousteau Sr. She has mastered the remarkable storytelling tradition handed down to her and has the unique ability to inspire audiences on the weighty issues of policy, politics, and action. Cousteau is dedicated to advocating the importance of conservation and the sustainable management of water in order to preserve a healthy planet. Her global initiatives seek to inspire and empower individuals to protect not only the ocean and its inhabitants, but also the human communities that rely on freshwater resources.

Born into the family business, Cousteau joined her parents in Easter Island on her first expedition at just four months old. By the age of three, she had toured Africa, exploring Egypt, Tunisia, Uganda, and Kenya in the arms of her father. And like her father, she is one of the few who learned to scuba dive with Captain Cousteau himself at the tender age of seven. It is against this backdrop that Cousteau weaves the romance of adventure and discovery into a modern call for action. Fluent in English, French, and Spanish, Cousteau is rapidly building a significant global audience of her own. By coupling traditional media tours and film with social media platforms, Alexandra Cousteau has helped NGOs as well as government- and corporate-led water programs engage record audiences for action.


Daymond John

Daymond John

How to Negotiate: Lessons from an Entrepreneurial Icon
Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Pond View Lounge, Slep Student Center

With business savvy and style to spare, speaker Daymond John entertains audiences every week as the go-to branding guru on ABC's hit entrepreneurial business show, Shark Tank. A highly regarded marketing expert and author, John is the founder of iconic fashion brand FUBU ("For Us by Us"), which effectively created the then-untapped urban apparel market.

Hollis, Queens - the birthplace of hip-hop and John's home community - helped spur the inspiration for FUBU. Embraced by the likes of Rick Ross, Lil John, DJ Khaled, and SouljaBoy, FUBU ultimately changed the face of the fashion world. After cementing himself as a branding visionary with his books, Display of Power and The Brand Within, and his role as one of the "Sharks," John formed Shark Branding to provide companies with the marketing insights that have proven his own companies successful.

A Brandweek Marketer of the Year, Ernst & Young New York Entrepreneur of the Year, recipient of the Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign, and one of Crain's New York Business's Forty Under Forty, John has been recognized time and again for his staggering contributions to fashion and the changing face of American business.

Called "a driven, visionary leader" (Russell Simmons) who knows that "building your brand never stops" (Kim Kardashian), John acts as a seasoned guide to organizations striving to create an enduring brand. Arguing that branding relationships have seeped into every aspect of daily life, John's message draws on both his own experiences as an entrepreneur as well as his hard-won insights as a consultant to the world's most cutting-edge trendsetters and tastemakers.


Giancarlo Esposito

Giancarlo Esposito

Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Adler Athletic Complex

Esposito is an American actor, director, and producer. He is likely best known for his portrayal of Gustavo "Gus" Fring on the AMC series Breaking Bad, for which he won the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama award at the 2012 Critics' Choice Television Awards. He was also nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award at the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards for the role. He has portrayed Sidney Glass on ABC's Once Upon a Time and currently portrays Major Tom Neville in the NBC series Revolution. Esposito is also well-known for his roles in films such as Do the Right Thing, The Usual Suspects, and King of New York.