The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Lecture series hits 25 years

Three of the eight 2006-2007 Tate lectures have already sold out. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Tate Lecture Series, and ticket sales show that interest remains high.

The sold-out lectures include newsmen Ted Koppel and Tom Brokaw with news analyst and former White House adviser David Gergen; CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper; and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

The first lecture features Koppel and Brokaw with Gergen on Sept. 26.

Held in McFarlin Auditorium, each lecture begins at 8 p.m. and ends no later than 9:15 p.m. Students who have not yet purchased tickets may still be able to see the sold-out events depending on how many ticket holders actually attend, according to Student Foundations’ Tate chairperson Kenzie Harkins.

With current SMU identification, SMU students can pick up tickets in the basement of McFarlin beginning at 7:30 p.m. the night of the lectures.

“I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to hear so many brilliant minds speak right on my college campus,” Harkins said.

The Tate Lecture Series has a history of sold-out shows.

In honor of its 25th anniversary, the Tate set has been re-crafted and brief videos will be shown before every lecture highlighting different facets of the Series.

Over the course of its run, the Series has showcased a diverse spread of speakers, from world leaders to activists to CEOs.

The first season of Tate featured just three speakers to an average audience of 1,000; now each season is comprised of eight to ten lectures for capacity audiences of 2,500.

Although the Series currently generates more than $900,000 of income beyond expenses, $800,000 of which is given in the form of scholarships to SMU students, the Series was not intended to be a fundraising venture.

The caliber of speakers and the widespread positive response from the Dallas community have allowed the Series benefit SMU students monetarily.

“The Series is something SMU can brag about as a unique aspect of education,” Dawn Norris, Tate coordinator, said. “As an SMU student, you have access to people, leaders of today and the future, that non-SMU students don’t.

In addition, it is a wonderful opportunity for the Dallas community to learn more about SMU, and money comes back to the university.”

Booking such high profile lecturers is an extensive process. To ensure smooth presentations, a 24-page checklist, which covers issues like advance interaction with the speaker, event logistics and the steps to take in the event of a cancellation, is followed.

Many of the lecturers speak at SMU’s Turner Construction Student Forum as well.

Held in the Hughes-Trigg ballroom at 4:30 p.m. the day of the lecture, the Student Forums are free-of-charge opportunities for high school students and SMU students and faculty to personally ask the speakers questions.

Ruth Altshuler, the immediate past chair of the SMU Board of Trustees, has attended the Tate Lecture Series from the beginning.

According to Altshuler, the quality of SMU’s programs with the guest speakers is high.

“I have heard speakers say that [the Tate Series] has the reputation of being the best university lecture series in America,” Altshuler said. “When I was chairman of the board, I’d sit with the speakers beforehand and they were all very complimentary. They were very impressed with the caliber of questions asked by students in the Forum earlier in the day.”

SMU strives for the Series to create a welcoming environment for intellectual discussion.

“We hope that Tate patrons leave saying that they learned something new and that they had a positive experience on the SMU campus,” Lisa Chou, Tate executive director, said.

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