Carnegie Mellon University

University Lecture Series

The University Lecture Series (ULS) features a diverse range of lectures and performances by artists, scholars, and experts invited by Carnegie Mellon faculty, students, and staff. Thank you to the CMU community for contributing to the success of the University Lecture Series by participating in lectures and submitting speaker nominations.

The 2021-22 ULS season has ended, but stay tuned for information about our 2022-23 season! In the meantime, explore past ULS events.

Spring 2022 ULS Events

Soledad O'Brien

Tuesday, February 8 at 5 p.m. ET
2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Keynote Lecture

Broadcast journalist, producer and philanthropist Soledad O'Brien will focus on disrupting and dismantling systemic racism by sharing voices and perspectives that often go unheard. Throughout, Soledad will bring the challenges of equality and justice into full view where they can be confronted and addressed. She will bring powerful, real world insights in selected U.S. cities where efforts are underway to reform policing, incarceration, education, land ownership and more. Soledad aims to leave audiences with a new understanding of how each of us can better understand and assist in dismantling systemic racism.

Watch Ms. O'Brien's Lecture

Ayad Akhtar

Monday, February 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Presented in partnership with Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures' Ten Evenings

Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright, novelist and screenwriter Ayad Akhtar will discuss his work Homeland Elegies which tells the story of longing and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made—of an immigrant father, an American son, and the country they both call home. A deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams, Homeland Elegies is part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque novel.

Geoffrey Hinton

Wednesday, March 2 at 5 p.m. ET
Dickson Prize in Science Award Ceremony and Lecture

Turing Award recipient, cognitive psychologist and computer scientist Geoffrey Hinton, Ph.D. will present "Fast Weights." Unlike the real brain, nearly all artificial neural networks have only two time scales: Neural activities change rapidly and the weights of connections between neurons change slowly. Many interesting computational properties  can be implemented by adding an overlay of weights that adapt rapidly and decay rapidly. Dr. Hinton will discuss some of these properties, including accessing old memories, implementing true recursion, and the Poincaré effect.

Watch Dr. Hinton's Lecture

Helen Zia

Tuesday, March 29 at 5 p.m. ET

Activist, author and journalist Helen Zia will present "Transforming the "Other" to "Us": The Power of Unity and Re-Envisioning America." During the lecture, she will examine the imperative for our multicultural communities to move forward together. Through personal stories from her experiences as an Asian American, feminist and LGBT activist for social justice, she will show how hidden pieces of our common history can help to transform our increasingly diverse communities into positive change. 

Watch Ms. Zia's Lecture


Spring 2022 Co-Sponsored Lectures

A Conversation with Peter Highnam, Ph.D. (MCS 1986, SCS 1991)

Deputy Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Wednesday, February 2 at 5 p.m. ET
Zoom Webinar

Learn more about Dr. Highnam.

Co-sponsored with the Institute for Politics and Strategy

Watch the Conversation with Dr. Highnam
Andrew ID log in required

Are Corporations People?

Adam Winkler, J.D.
Connell Professor of Law
University of California Los Angeles School of Law

Monday, March 21 at 5 p.m. ET
Gregg Hall (Porter Hall 100)

Co-sponsored with the CMU Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and the CMU Pre-law Program.

WATCH "Are Corporations People?"

ULS Partners

In addition to stand alone lectures by prominent figures, thought leaders and visionaries, the ULS is proud to work in partnership with research centers and academic units across campus to present several policy, research, and academic talks throughout the year, including the following lecture series:

Check out the CMU Events Calendar to view the many events and programs happening at the university.