Forum and Artists Series of the 1990s and New Discoveries

Forum Series

Lerone Bennett

White History, Black History, and the American Dream 

Lerone Bennett was an editor for the magazine Ebony. His discussion for the forum series focused on how the achievements of African Americans are missing from historical textbooks at all levels of education. The second part of his lecture was on the need for multicultural history courses that would represent everyone within the nation.

Suzanne Somers

"Keeping Secrets"

Suzanne Somers acted on the tv series Three's Company and later released an autobiography, about living her childhood with an alcoholic parent. She discussed how her childhood revolved around hiding her father's alcoholism from others. Somers described alcoholism as a disease that needs to be prevented from affecting future generations. 

Carl Sagan

Comets and the Origins and Evolution of Life

Carl Sagan was the creator of the tv series Cosmos  and the president of the Planetary Society, a space interest group. His research focused on determining if the organic molecules responsible for life were endogenous or exogenous. Pushing the research even further was the question: could comets be responsible for introducing these molecules to Earth?

Wilma Mankiller

Cherokee Roots and the American Dream

Wilma Mankiller was elected the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Mankiller helped to develop programs so the Cherokee Nation would be more self-sufficient, self-reliant, and autonomous. These projects included creating waterlines, nutrition programs, health clinics, and a vocational training center.


"We need to hang on to our native culture and language. We need to trust our own thinking and work things out for ourselves."

                         - Wilma Mankiller's Forum Series lecture

Jane Goodall

Chimpanzees of Gombe

Jane Goodall is recognized as one of the leading researchers in primatology. She made fundamental discoveries in primate studies, such as teaching chimpanzees to use sign language and animals using tools. For this reason her lecture focused on the struggles of wild animals.


"You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."

                                               - Jane Goodall quote from Good Reads

Artists Series

R. Carlos Nakai

R. Carlos Nakai is a member of the Navajo-Ute community. His instrument of choice is the flute. The music of the flute has significance to the Navajo-Ute community both socially and spiritually. Not only did Nakai entertain the audience with his music but also informed them about Native American cultures.

Sandra Reaves-Phillips

Sandra Reaves-Phillips is a jazz and blues singer. Her speciality is recreating music in a one woman act. For example, she did renditions from Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, and Dinah Washington.

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett participated in the artist series with Ralph Sharon as the music director. He performed songs from his album Perfectly Frank, a tribute to Frank Sinatra. Bennett began his singing career as a waiter and he later gained international recognition for over four decades.

Judy Collins

Judy Collins has been a folk singer for over fifty years. At a young age she learned how to play multiple musical instruments. At fifteen years old she was training to become a professional pianist. Collins had the whole audience involved in her concert by having the audience sing choruses with her.

Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery

The Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery shared sacred rituals during the artist series. The monks traveled the world in order to raise awareness about Tibetan culture and to introduce other cultures to Buddhism. There were only a handful of protestors from the Chippewa Valley General Assembly that appeared in front of Zorn Arena, but the general consensus on campus was that the point of the performance was music and information, not confirmation. At the same time that this was going on Wagden Tashi, one of the performers, was severely ill and was later hospitalized due to internal bleeding.