President's Speaker Series
The President's Speaker Series welcomes distinguished scholars and thought leaders representing diverse points of view to examine topics and issues facing our communities and the world today. Driven by a desire to connect deeply with our community and inspire meaningful dialogue in the pursuit of truth, the series provides opportunities to cultivate an engaged and impassioned collective through civil discourse.
The Impact of Faith on Human Flourishing and the Common Good: A Conversation with Byron Johnson
Byron Johnson, Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University,
led the second installment of the President’s Speaker Series with a discussion on
the impact of faith on human flourishing and the potential for religion to facilitate
and contribute to the common good of all humanity.
About the Speaker
Byron Johnson is a Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University.
The founding director of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion and director
of the Program on Prosocial Behavior, Johnson is a leading authority on the scientific
study of religion, the efficacy of faith-based organizations, and criminal justice.
Johnson is also a faculty affiliate of the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University
and a senior fellow at the Sagamore Institute. His most recent publications have examined
the impact of faith-based programs on recidivism reduction and prisoner reentry.
Before joining the faculty at Baylor University, Johnson directed research centers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Pennsylvania. He has been the principal investigator on grants from private foundations as well as the Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, and the United States Institute for Peace. He is the author of many journal articles and a number of books including More God, Less Crime (2011); The Angola Prison Seminary (2016); The Quest for Purpose (2017); Objective Religion: Competition, Tension, Perseverance (2021); The Restorative Prison (2021); and Objective Religion: Problems, Prosociality, Progress (2022).
The Dream King: How the Dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. Is Being Fulfilled to Heal Racism in America
The first installment of the 2022 President’s Speaker Series welcomed Will Ford III and Matt Lockett for a powerful exploration of their book The Dream King: How the Dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. Is Being Fulfilled to Heal Racism in America. The coauthors discussed the history of the civil rights movement, the power of prayer, and offered insights about healing the racial divide across the nation.
Vaccines: Where Are We and Where Are We Going?
In light of the global and national focus on the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the President’s Speaker Series welcomed a panel of leading medical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology experts who explored “Vaccines: Where Are We and Where Are We Going?” on March 29, 2021, via Zoom.
The engaging panel discussion featured Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, Stephen M.
Hahn, former commissioner of food and drugs at the US Food and Drug Administration,
and Jonathan B. Perlin, president of the Clinical Services Group and chief medical
officer of HCA Healthcare, in conversation about the current state of the vaccines.
Dee Anna Smith (’86), CEO of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare,
and chair of the Pepperdine Board of Regents, moderated the discussion.
The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection: "The Myth of Absence"
On February 24, 2021, the President's Speaker Series welcomed alumnus Bernard Kinsey
(MBA '73), his wife, Shirley (MA '76), and their son, Khalil, who presented "The Kinsey
African American Art & History Collection - 'The Myth of Absence.'" This event was
part of Pepperdine's celebration of Black History Month that seeks to uplift Black
voices, celebrate Black achievements, and serve as moments of reflection and remembrance
of Black history in the United States.
Honesty and Courage, Humility and Hope: Robert George and Cornel West in Dialogue
On January 12, 2021, Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director
of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University,
and Cornel West, professor of the practice of public philosophy at Harvard University
and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University, discussed the deep character required
to engage thoughtfully and respectfully in vibrant conversations that explore diverse
viewpoints for the inaugural lecture of the President's Speaker Series.
Suggest a Speaker or Topic
The Pepperdine community is invited to participate in developing a robust roster of speakers with diverse backgrounds and perspectives for the President's Speaker Series. Submit a speaker or topic for consideration by completing the suggestion form. All submissions will be considered and evaluated based on programming needs.