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UB 2022-23 Distinguished Speakers Series lineup announced

On Tuesday, the university announced the four person lineup this coming school year.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — This year's UB Distinguished Speakers Series includes two actors, a former U.S. ambassador, and a civil rights attorney as the 2022-23 headliners.

The lineup was announced on Tuesday. All talks will take place in the Mainstage Theatre in the UB Center for the Arts on the North Campus. 

“We take great pride in bringing some of today’s most resonant voices to UB through the popular tradition of our Distinguished Speakers Series,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi.

“Whether discussing society’s grand challenges, sharing personal testaments of courage, or providing a generous dose of comic relief, this season’s speakers promise to offer compelling, enlightened perspectives that are not to be missed.”

This year, actor Ken Jeong kicks off the speaker series. Jeong is a comedy actor known for his roles in “Role Models,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” "The Hangover," "Dr. Ken," and "Community." 

Jeong will speak on Oct. 11.

Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, will speak at the campus about her perspective on the crisis in Ukraine.  

Yovanovitch is a three-time U.S. ambassador, serving in the Kyrgyz Republic (2005-08), the Republic of Armenia (2008-2011), and Ukraine (2016-19). She has received two Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and the Secretary’s Diplomacy in Human Rights Award.

She 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.

Yovanovitch will deliver her talk on Nov. 15. 

Civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill will be UB's 47th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Speaker. 

Ifill was the former president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF).

Ifill was a professor for more than 20 years and a prolific scholar. She has many honorary degrees and recently she was named one of TIME magazine’s Women of the Year. In 2021 she was also named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People.

In October, Ifill will receive the Brandeis Medal, named for Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis and awarded by the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville.

Ifill is scheduled to speak on Feb. 16.

Actress, author and advocate Selma Blair will wrap up the speaker series. 

Blair is known for her roles in “Cruel Intentions,” “Legally Blonde,” “The Sweetest Thing,” Guillermo del Toro’s “Hellboy” and “Hellboy II: The Golden Army.”

Blair also documented her journey with MS in the Discover+ film  “Introducing, Selma Blair.” 

She will close out the series on March 15. 

Tickets for the series can be purchased at the Center for the Arts box office and more information is available on the Distinguished Speakers Series website.

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