Topics: College of Communication Information and Media, Emerging Media, President, Speakers, Student Affairs

October 16, 2012

Distinguished Ball State alumnus David Letterman, host of CBS's "Late Show," will return to his alma mater on Monday, November 26, to host a conversation with media icon and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey at 4 p.m. in Emens Auditorium. The conversation is part of the  David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture and Workshop Series, established in 2008.

Through the power of media, Oprah Winfrey has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world for more than 25 years. Her accomplishments as a global media leader and philanthropist have established her as one of the most respected and admired figures today. As chairman and CEO, she's guiding the development of her cable network, OWN.

"The Letterman lecture series is known for one-of-a-kind encounters with today's most impressive leaders," said President Jo Ann M. Gora. "Oprah Winfrey's story is inspirational on many levels. She overcame a challenging childhood to become a global media leader. Equally impressive is her commitment to the power of education. She has awarded hundreds of grants to organizations that support the education and empowerment of women, children, and families around the world. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa is one example of how her philanthropy is developing the next generation of transformative leaders. 

"We are grateful to Dave for his generous support of the university and his ongoing engagement and participation in the series. His direct participation has made this unique opportunity possible."

Admission to the event in the 3,300-seat Emens Auditorium is free, but seating must be reserved. The university anticipates high demand for seats. Tickets must be secured in advance and will be available starting Nov. 10 on a first come-first serve basis at the Emens Box Office. 

The David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture Series 

Through a generous gift from Letterman, a 1969 graduate, Ball State established the Letterman Lecture Series. The series brings major business, media, and academic figures to campus to engage students in discussions about the latest issues in communications, emerging media, and cultural forces shaping our society.
Guests have included legendary newscaster Ted Koppel, Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, innovator Tom Kelley, and public policy expert Kathleen Hall Jamieson. Letterman has personally invited and hosted conversations with  Twitter co-founder Biz Stone in 2010 and MSNBC prime-time host Rachel Maddow last fall.

Letterman's ongoing relationship with Ball State includes his funding of annual $10,000, $5,000 and $3,333 scholarships for three telecommunications students in the College of Communication, Information, and Media (CCIM) who submit a short film, screenplay, series of storyboards or other creative project in order to qualify for one of these sought-after awards.

In 2007, Ball State dedicated its new $21 million communication and media building in Letterman's honor, in what Gora described as a "public demonstration of our admiration and respect for such an accomplished and loyal alumnus." The late-night TV host and his mother, Dorothy Mengering, participated in the dedication ceremony, with Letterman praising the facility and its leading-edge studios and equipment as "the future of communication."