Published 05/17/13

150 years of inspiring speakers, artists and performers

Inspiring students to learn, to think, to cultivate a global perspective, to be leaders of character — that has been a goal of Bryant for 150 years. one way the university has supported this effort is to bring world-class speakers, artists, and performers to campus to share their unique stories of success and the challenges they faced, reinforcing the connection between learning and doing.

Over the years, Bryant has hosted notable political figures from former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton to the first female vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro. The University has also featured an impressive roster of acclaimed musicians who perform throughout the year at the President's Cultural Series, as well as renowned speakers who provide insight on economics, politics, and world events.

Inspiring leaders of industry, eminent scholars, and unforgettable activists, athletes, and artists include:

  • Daniel Akerson, CEO of General Motors (2011)
  • Stephen Ambrose, historian and biographer (1998)
  • Maya Angelou, author and poet (1996)
  • Arthur Ashe, Hall of Fame tennis player (1985)
  • Maximilian Berlitz, founder of The Berlitz Language Schools, taught language arts at Bryant (1878)
  • Ken Burns, award-winning documentary filmmaker (2007)
  • Richard Fisher, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (2009)
  • Malcolm Forbes, president of Forbes Magazine (1976)
  • Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s (2000)
  • Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble (2012)
  • David McCullough, historian and author (2008)
  • Colombe Nicholas, president, Christian Dior, New York (1984)
  • Rosa Parks, civil rights pioneer (1995)
  • Esther Peterson, assistant secretary, U.S. Department of Labor (1963)
  • Nicholas Roosevelt, associate editor of The New York Times (1927)
  • L.M. Shaw, Secretary of the United States Treasury under President Theodore Roosevelt (1910)
  • Lech Walesa, Poland’s former president and Nobel Peace Prize recipient (1983)
  • Thomas Watson, president of IBM (1945)
  • Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric (2005)
  • Elie Wiesel, noted Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient (2009)