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OU Announces 2023-2024 Presidential Speakers Series


OU Announces 2023-2024 Presidential Speakers Series

August 7, 2023

NORMAN, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma has announced its lineup for the 2023-2024 Presidential Speakers Series dinners. The fall 2023 event will feature a point/counterpoint discussion with professors Robert P. George of Princeton University and Cornel West of Union Theological Seminary, and the spring 2024 dinner will feature Paul Ryan, former speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

“This year’s Presidential Speakers Series lineup promises to foster constructive and enlightening dialogue on some of the most pressing issues facing American society today,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “This month, nationally renowned scholars Robert George and Cornel West, who maintain an enduring friendship, will engage in a point/counterpoint discussion from opposite sides of the political spectrum, and we look forward to hearing from Speaker Ryan this spring. Both events will serve as a testament to the power of civility, respect and democracy in shaping our collective future.”

Fall 2023 Presidential Speakers Series: Robert P. George and Cornel West

6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24
Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Ave., Norman

OU history professor Anne Hyde will serve as moderator as George and West present “Saving America: Conflicting Views in Civil Dialogue.” Despite their ideological differences, George and West formed a close friendship in the ‘90s while teaching together at Princeton. They are widely viewed as an example of how individuals can engage in meaningful discussions while honoring differing perspectives.

Limited seating for this event is available to OU students, faculty, staff and alumni by reservation. Overflow seating will be available to the public. For reservations, more information and accommodations, email or call (405) 325-1701.

Robert P. George.

George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He has frequently been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, teaching philosophy of law and related subjects. In addition to his academic service, he has served as chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He has also served on the President’s Council on Bioethics, as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and as the U.S. member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Science and Technology.

George is a former Judicial Fellow at the United States Supreme Court, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award. Along with many other recognitions he has earned, he is a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Citizens Medal. He is the author of Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality, In Defense of Natural LawThe Clash of Orthodoxies and Conscience and Its Enemies, as well as co-author of several other books. His articles and review essays have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review and more.

A graduate of Pennsylvania’s Swarthmore College, George holds Master of Theological Studies and Juris Doctorate degrees from Harvard University and Doctor of Philosophy, Bachelor and Doctor of Civil Laws, and Doctor of Letters degrees from Oxford University. He holds 22 honorary degrees, including doctorates of law, letters, ethics, science, divinity, humane letters, civil law, law and moral values, humanities and juridical science.

Cornel West.

West is the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Chair at Union Theological Seminary. He teaches on the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as courses in Philosophy of Religion, African American Critical Thought and a wide range of other subjects. He has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Previously, he was professor of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and professor emeritus at Princeton University. Within the past year, he has partnered with MasterClass to provide teachings on several courses on such topics as empathy (with Pharrell Williams), Black history, Black freedom, Black love and Philosophy.

West has written 20 books, including Race Matters, Democracy Matters, his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud and most recently, Black Prophetic Fire. He has edited an additional 13 books.

West graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in three years and earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton University. 

In 2018, they were co-winners of the Open Mind Award for Leadership granted by Heterodox Academy, given to the person or group that has most effectively championed the principles of viewpoint diversity, mutual understanding and constructive disagreement in the academy and beyond.


Dr. Cornel West is appearing in his personal capacity at this event and not on behalf of any federal campaign committee.

Spring 2024 Presidential Speakers Series: Paul Ryan

6 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Ave., Norman

Paul Ryan.

Paul Ryan, who served as the 54th speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2015 to 2019, will present “The State of American Politics” at the spring 2024 Presidential Speakers Series dinner. More information, as well as the opportunity to reserve seating, will be announced at a later date.

About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit