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2018 Year in Review: Northwestern’s top speakers and events

January 1, 2019

2018 Year in Review

A leader of the Women’s March, an olympic figure skater and the former president of Mexico. Check out our picks of the best speakers to visit Northwestern in 2018.

Marc Lamont-Hill talks black activism and voting third party at annual FMO eventDaily file photo by Noah Frick-Alofs


At a November event hosted by For Members Only and the Contemporary Thought Speaker Series, Dr. Marc Lamont-Hill told students that the key to resistance is “an audacious imagination” and defended his choice to vote for a third party candidate in the 2016 presidential election. He also said people should vote based on their values, and not the outcome of the election. Read more here.

Former Mexican President defends Mexican contributions to North American trade during campus speech

Source: Genie Lemieux/Evanston Photographic Studios


Former Mexican president Vicente Fox highlighted Mexico’s contributions to the North American economy in an October lecture. Fox insisted that Mexico is not “the little guy in the backyard” and addressed specific comments made by U.S. President Donald Trump about Mexico’s economy. Read more here.

Dolores Huerta hits history, politics, education

Daily file photo by Colin Boyle


Activist Dolores Huerta touched on white supremacy, the importance of education and the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court during her keynote lecture for The Women’s Center’s “Gender, Work, & Power” series. Huerta characterized the current political climate as one of “abysmal ignorance” and added that white supremacists “obviously don’t know the real history of the United States.” Read more here.

Figure skater Mirai Nagasu talks career, setbacks and landing that historic triple axel

Daily file photo by Brian Meng


At the Chinese Students Association fall speaker event in November, Olympic figure skater Mirai Nagasu discussed her experience as an Asian American woman in figure skating and touched on the work ethic her parents helped instill in her. Read more here.

Arthur Brooks, president of American Enterprise Institute, urges nation to unite through love

Daily file photo by David Lee


Outgoing American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks in November told the Northwestern community that the biggest problem in American politics is not disagreement, but the way people treat those with whom they disagree. Brooks said that “contempt pulls us apart as a nation” and people should treat the opposing side with love. Read more here.

Author Roxane Gay explores nuances in race, pop culture at campus event

Daily file photo by Colin Boyle


In an April talk co-hosted by the Contemporary Thought Speaker Series and the Women’s Center, author and Purdue University professor Roxane Gay addressed the unreasonable expectations to which black artists are held. Gay also pushed back against the idea that students can’t write. “The current generation is more literate than ever before, but simply literate in ways that we don’t traditionally recognize,” she said. Read more here.

‘Black Panther’ comics writer Nnedi Okorafor speaks at Africa Business Club event

Daily file photo by Alan Perez


In May, “Black Panther” comics co-author Nnedi Okorafor addressed some of her concerns with applying the term “Afrofuturism” to her work and described her experience spending time in both the United States and Nigeria as a child. Read more here.

Salvadoran writer talks relationships, identity at poetry performance

Daily file photo by Colin Boyle


Poet and writer Yesika Salgado talked about her identity as a self-proclaimed “fat woman” at a February event co-sponsored by MEChA de Northwestern, the Beta Psi chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority and the Latina and Latino Studies Program. Salgado also shared several pieces from her book “Corazón” and discussed her relationship with her father. Read more here.

Women’s March co-chair reflects on career in activism

Source: Lillian Guo


In January, Women’s March co-chair Carmen Perez discussed activism at her keynote lecture of the Northwestern University Community for Human Rights conference. Perez said she didn’t consider herself an activist, but has been fighting for women’s empowerment since her sister died in 1994. Read more here.

Ty Dolla $ign lights up Riviera Theatre for A&O Ball

Daily file photo by Brian Meng


Rapper Ty Dolla $ign performed at A&O Ball in May, marking the third year the event was co-hosted by A&O and For Members Only. Ty Dolla $ign asked the audience to shine their phone flashlights “if you don’t have an STD.” Lil B, DJ A-Trak and Northwestern artist collective DIAL UP also performed. Read more here.