Distinguished Speaker Series

Peru State established the Distinguished Speaker Series in fall 2010 as part of our commitment to student engagement and success. The intent of the Series is to bring diverse, nationally and internationally recognized speakers to southeast Nebraska to enrich the educational experience of our students while also providing our surrounding communities opportunities to engage in interesting and relevant topics.

2017-18 Speakers

Aaron Davis: “Attitude of a Champion”
November 14, 2017, 7 p.m. in the Al Wheeler Activity Center
Aaron Davis has shared with over a million people about performing like a champion from personal experience! As a member of the 1994 National Championship Nebraska Football team and working with numerous corporations, organizations, colleges and High schools he understands firsthand what it takes to perform like a champion & experience incredible results both personally & professionally!

Clayton Anderson: “Why I am the Ordinary Astronaut”
Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Al Wheeler Activity Center (AWAC)

Born in Omaha and raised in Ashland, Anderson currently resides near Houston, Texas with his family. Recently retired, after a stellar 30-year career with NASA, he accumulated 167 days in space while living onboard the International Space Station for over five months in 2007. He also served as a Mission Specialist with the Space Shuttle 131 crew in 2010. Anderson has spoken throughout the Midwest and the United States sharing his story of perseverance, patience and faith with audiences of all ages and from all walks of life. His message is delivered with humor and honesty and the personable style of a storyteller who once dreamed of the heavens and who believes that living life the right way can position oneself to achieve those dreams with no regrets.

Joe Starita: “A Warrior of the People – How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America’s First Indian Doctor”
Monday, March 12 at 7 p.m. in the Al Wheeler Activity Center (AWAC)

Joe Starita is a professor at the University of Nebraska College of Journalism and Mass Communications. A Nebraska native, he went to college on a baseball scholarship, played professional basketball in Turkey and had a stint herding cattle on an Israeli kibbutz. Eventually, he spent 14 years at The Miami Herald – including four years as the newspaper’s New York Bureau Chief and four years on its Investigations Team. Interested in Native American history and culture since childhood, he has written three critically acclaimed books examining their vital roles in American history. Three years ago, he started a college scholarship fund for Native American high school graduates.

Curt Tomasevicz: “Have no Fear”
Tuesday, April 10, 2018  at 7 p.m. in the Al Wheeler Activity Center (AWAC)

Curt Tomasevicz grew up in Shelby, Nebraska, a small town of nearly 700 people. While attending UNL, Curt played running back and linebacker for the Huskers, earning most of his playing time on special teams. Curt holds a bachelor and master’s degree in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Astrophysics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

During his first season of bobsledding, Tomasevicz landed on the World Cup circuit, consistently pushing on the USA II sled. He made his Olympic debut in Torino in 2006, sliding to sixth place in the four-man competition. His biggest achievement came in February at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, when he, Steve Holcomb, Justin Olsen, and Steve Mesler raced the “Night Train” to the first American four-man Olympic title in 62 years.

All events are open to the public and free of charge.

About the Series

Speakers are encouraged to connect with the community in a variety of ways during their visits through classroom discussions, guest lectures, meet and greet receptions, and a keynote address. Previous guests include former skinhead Frank Meeink, civil rights leader and Little Rock Nine member Minnijean Brown-Trickey, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi, Bawa (Cameroon, Africa) Health Initiative co-founded Dr. Dennis Richardson, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author Sonia Nazario, and consumer advocate and former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

For additional information or questions, please contact Dr. Timothy Borchers, Vice President for Academic Affairs.