About the Shilling Lecture

Drawing approximately 700 attendees to each event, the Shilling Lecture was originally established in 1999 by The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, to honor Southwestern’s 13th president, Roy B. Shilling Jr., and his wife, Margaret. This now-biennial event provides an important forum in which the greater Southwestern University community has the opportunity to engage with ideas from multiple perspectives, hear insightful discussions, and interact on campus with experts and influential figures.

Past Speakers

  • Kevin Young: Respected scholar and current New Yorker magazine poetry editor
    The History of Poetry & The Poetry of History (2023)
  • Dr. Ruth Simmons:  Former President of Brown University
    Diversity in Higher Education: How Far Have We Come? (2021)
  • Donna Brazile: Veteran Democratic Political Strategist, Adjunct Professor, Author, and Syndicated Columnist (2019)
    Mary Matalin: Celebrated Conservative Voice and Former Presidential Advisor
    Politics Aside (2019)
  • Jonathan Haidt: Renowned social psychologist
    The Age of Outrage: What it is Doing to Our Universities and Our Country (2017)
  • Sister Helen Prejean: Anti-death penalty activist & best-selling author 
    Dean Man Walking—The Journey Continues (2016)
  • Scott Simon: Journalist & host of Weekend Edition Saturday on NPR
    Let Yourself Be Changed (2014)
  • Jane Goodall: Conservationist & United Nations messenger of peace
    Sowing the Seeds of Hope (2013)
  • Thomas Friedman: Columnist, The New York Times
    That Used To Be Us (2012)
  • Blake Mycoskie: Founder, TOMS Shoes
    The New Rules for Tomorrow’s Business: A Student’s Guide to Making a Difference in the World (2011)
  • Dr. William H. Foege: Senior Fellow, Global Health Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
    How to Get Wise Before You Get Old (2010)
  • Wangari Maathai: Chair, Department of Veterinary Anatomy, University of Nairobi
    Sustainable Development, Democracy and Peace (2009)
  • Bill Bradley: Former U.S. Senator
    The New American Story, including Nine Questions to Ask Before Voting for President (2008)
  • James Baker III: Former secretary of state, co-chair of Iraq Study Group
    The Case for Pragmatic Idealism (2007)
  • Thomas H. Kean: former Governor of New Jersey, Chair, 9/11 Commission
    9/11 and the War on Terror — Looking Forward (2006)
  • Benazir Bhutto: Former Prime Minister of Pakistan
    Unleashing the Chains of the Past in the Third Millennium (2005)
  • The Archbishop Desmond Tutu: Chancellor, University of the Western Cape
    Peace and Reconciliation (2004)
  • Karen Hughes: advisor to President George W. Bush
    Public Service from the Statehouse to the White House (2003)
  • Marian Wright Edelman, William Sloane Coffin, John D. Maguire
    Toward the Well-Being of Humanity: Lessons Learned (2002)
  • Jimmy Carter: 39th President of the United States of America
    Moral Leadership in a Global Community (2001)
  • Bill Moyers: Journalist, Author, Documentarian
    Soul of Democracy (2000)