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From politicians to filmmakers: A retrospective of 13 fascinating guests at Colgate

By Daniel DeVries on February 13, 2013
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Former (42nd) President Of The United States, William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton, during his visit  to Colgate University in October 2010 as part of the Global Leaders Lecture Series.

Former President Bill Clinton talks with President Jeffrey Herbst during his visit to Colgate University in October 2010 as part of the Global Leaders Lecture Series.

It’s only February, but the Year of ’13 has already offered many ways to remember and celebrate Colgate. As promised, on the 13th of every month we will post a story or list pertaining to our lucky number. Here are 13 of the many high-profile speakers and special guests who have visited campus over the past decade. If you had other favorites, let us know in the comment field.

1. Spike Lee
The acclaimed director and advocate for social change talked about the effect of media on society. “What makes the U.S. a world power is not our military — it’s film, TV and music,” he said. (2002)

2. Hillary Clinton
Then New York’s junior senator, Clinton talked about local economic issues at the inaugural conference of Colgate’s Upstate Institute. (2004)

3. Jody Williams
Williams, recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize and creator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, is remembered as one of the most humane and plainspoken speakers ever to visit Colgate. (2004)

4. His Holiness – The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet
“Loving kindness is the strongest antidote to anger,” His Holiness told a crowd of more than 4,000 people. Later he visited the kitchen staff who prepared his meals. (2008)

5. Tony Blair
The former prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland showed his trademark savoir faire when the Colgate Resolutions welcomed him with a serenade of his favorite Bono song. (2009)

6. Colin Powell
Before delivering his public lecture, the former U.S. secretary of state talked with 50 students about security, democracy, and North Korea, which he called “the finest negotiators he has ever met.”  (2009)

7. President Bill Clinton
A highlight of President Clinton’s visit was a Q&A session in the field house, moderated by Colgate President Jeffrey Herbst. Clinton outlined three clusters of problems in the world: inequality, instability, and unsustainability. (2010)

8. Cornel West
While on campus for Black History Month, West made a special connection with Drea Finely ‘13, and has since helped her find her path to graduate school at Princeton Theological Seminary. (2012)

9. Salman Rushdie
The author of The Satanic Verses and Midnight’s Children, Rushdie spoke about exile and the craft of writing with students in the Living Writers course, and to a standing-room-only crowd in the Chapel. (2012)

10. Sir Richard Branson
The Virgin Group founder and president kicked off entrepreneur weekend as the keynote speaker. While on campus, Branson and an anonymous alumnus each contributed $20,000 to the non-profit work of Maggie Dunne ‘13. (2012)

11. Junot Diaz
Colgate’s Livestream video by the cheeky Pulitzer-Prize-winning author has garnered more than 5,000 views to date. He spoke about Dominican-style love and longing in Love Auditorium. (2009)

12. Louise Glück
Gluck, winner of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize, mesmerized her audience of aspiring poets and writers with poems about being young, coming of age, and love affairs beginning and ending. (2010)

13. Avicii
Grammy-nominated Swedish DJ Avicii, ranked third on the top 100 DJ list in DJ Mag, performed at Colgate during Spring Party Weekend. Of course he played “Levels.” (2012)

Visit the calendar for other speakers this semester, including astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, February 25, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, April 5.

Avicii performs in the Sanford Field House as part of Spring Party Weekend  2012.

Avicii performs in the Sanford Field House as part of Spring Party Weekend 2012.


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