Campus Life Arts & Programs

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Leadership Lecture Series

The Leadership Lecture Series provides an exploration of leadership through stories and experiences shared by guest speakers. Students are invited to discuss and engage in political, cultural diversity, and economic issues as well as popular trends and topics that shape and affect their communities. The views expressed by our visiting artists, guests, or lecturers do not necessarily reflect the views of UNCW. Recent guests include Jerry Greenfield, Bennet Omalu, and Piper Kerman. Lectures are held in Burney Center. Tickets available through Sharky's Box Office.

Click here to see a full list of our previous Leadership Lectures. 

2019-2020 Series

 Burke

Tarana Burke
Founder of The ‘me too’ Movement & Social Justice Activist

September 24, 2019 

Tarana Burke shares the heartbreaking story behind the genesis of the viral 2017 TIME Person Of The Year-winning ‘me too’ movement and gives strength and healing to those who have experienced sexual trauma or harassment. 

The simple yet courageous #metoo hashtag campaign has emerged as a rallying cry for people everywhere who have survived the sexual assault and sexual harassment – and Tarana’s powerful, poignant story as creator of what is now an international movement that supports survivors will move, uplift, and inspire you.

Now a senior director of programs at Girls for Gender Equity, Tarana has dedicated more than 25 years of her life to social justice and to laying the groundwork for a movement that was initially created to help young women of color who survived sexual abuse and assault.

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Vivian Howard

Chef, Author, and PBS Personality

October 30, 2019 

Vivian Howard is a chef, author, and PBS personality from Deep Run, NC. She owns two restaurants in Kinston, NC: Chef & the Farmer and Boiler Room Oyster.

Born in Deep Run, NC, to tobacco and hog farming parents, Vivian Howard learned early on to appreciate the ebb and flow of eating with the seasons. Still, it took 23 years and a start in the advertising business to convince her a career in food was feasible. After college, Vivian moved to New York for work but found the City’s food and restaurant scene far more intriguing. A server position at Greenwich Village’s, Voyage, made it possible for her to begin training under the restaurant’s Chef, Scott Barton. She later went on to learn from creative, cutting edge Chef’s, Wylie Dufresne and Sam Mason at WD-50 and later, was a member of the opening team at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s, Spice Market.

In 2005, Vivian, and her now-husband, Ben Knight decided to return to Vivian’s roots to open a farm to fork restaurant in the small town of Kinston, NC. They opened Chef & the Farmer in the summer of 2006 serving local, seasonal, creative cuisine. Over the past eight years, Chef Howard has developed strong relationships with local farmers making it possible to source over 70% of the restaurant’s foodstuffs from within 60 miles. 

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Nyle Di Marco

Activist, Model, Actor

February 18, 2020

This America’s Next Top Model winner and high profile activist for the deaf community inspires audiences to pursue their dreams with his message of self-belief and self-worth. Nyle DiMarco, winner of Dancing with the Stars and America’s Next Top Model, empowers audiences to believe they can do and be anything they want in life, no matter the obstacle.

He won the mirror ball trophy on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars (season 22) and was the last model standing on The CW’s America’s Next Top Model (cycle 22), now Nyle is winning over audiences as an influential leader and ambassador for the deaf community. Born into a multigenerational deaf family, he is an honorary spokesperson for Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K) and founder of the Nyle DiMarco Foundation, which works to improve the lives of deaf people around the world. Nyle has produced the 2018 return to Broadway of Children of a Lesser God starring Joshua Jackson and Lauren Ridloff. Nyle was also a creative collaborator on The ASL App, created by native deaf signers to teach conversational American Sign Language.

With a passion for language, literacy, and advocacy within the deaf community and beyond, Nyle shares his barrier-breaking story as a deaf man who has risen above stereotypes to take the world by storm. Believing that his deafness is “an asset rather than a limitation,” he builds a bridge between the deaf and hearing by shining a light on not only the struggles but also the triumphs of the deaf culture. Above all, Nyle shows audiences that with a sense of community, commitment to your goals, and belief in yourself, you can accomplish anything