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The 42nd Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lecture

An Evening with Jon Meacham

Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian Jon Meacham to deliver the Fall 2021 Bucksbaum Lecture

The Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lecture Series is returning to Drake University in-person this fall with presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham. The lecture will take place Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Knapp Center, 2525 Forest Ave. The event is free and open to the public. Details regarding health and safety protocols for the event will be released at a later date.

“We are thrilled for the return of Drake University’s most celebrated lecture series,” said Neil Hamilton, former director of the Drake University Agricultural Law Center and chair of the Bucksbaum Lecture selection committee. “The Bucksbaum Lecture series is known for bringing renowned and influential scholars to Des Moines. Jon Meacham is one of the country’s most respected voices on presidential history and politics, and we are honored to welcome him to Drake.”

Meacham is one of America's most prominent public intellectuals. A contributor to TIME and The New York Times Book Review, Meacham is a highly sought-after commentator, regularly appearing on CNN and MSNBC.

His latest #1 New York Times Best Seller, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, examines the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in U.S. history when hope overcame division and fear. Meacham is a co-author of the recently released book, Impeachment: An American History, which reveals the complicated motives behind the first three impeachments in U.S. history.

Meacham’s presidential biography, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. The Times said, “Destiny and Power reflects the qualities of both subject and biographer: judicious, balanced, deliberative, with a deep appreciation of history and the personalities who shape it.” Meacham delivered eulogies for both President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush.

Meacham's #1 New York Times Best Seller, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, was hailed as "masterful and intimate" by Fortune magazine. His other national bestsellers include Franklin and Winston, American Gospel, and American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.

“Jon Meacham is a valued voice with a deep knowledge of politics, religion, and current affairs,” said Drake Professor of Politics Rachel Paine Caufield. “His work is particularly relevant today, as we seek to contextualize and bring perspective to our contemporary political environment, using historical knowledge to understand the present. His Pulitzer Prize-winning work explores multiple facets of our collective shared history, and I look forward to a vibrant conversation and insightful commentary.”

Named a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, Meacham is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the Society of American Historians, and chairs the National Advisory Board of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University. Meacham is a distinguished visiting professor of history at The University of the South and a visiting distinguished professor at Vanderbilt. He is currently at work on a biography of James and Dolley Madison.

Learn more about the Lectureship

The Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lecture Series is made possible by a gift from the late Melva and Martin Bucksbaum. The Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lectureship Committee includes: Neil Hamilton (chair), Julian Archer, James Autry, Pamela Bass-Bookey, Michael Gartner, Janis Ruan, Mary Bucksbaum Scanlon, Marcia Wanamaker,  and Eleanor Zeff.

Questions? For more information, contact Erica Hartschen, at 515-271-4990 or erica.hartschen@drake.edu.

Previous Lecturers

  • Megan Rapinoe
  • Lisa Ling
  • Douglas Brinkley
  • Billy Collins & Clint Smith
  • Krista Tippett
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy
  • Peter Neufeld
  • Nina Totenberg
  • Tim Gunn
  • Walter Isaacson
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • James Balog
  • Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter
  • Vicente Fox
  • Garrison Keillor
  • Twyla Tharp
  • Dr. Azar Nafisi
  • Dr. Maya Angelou
  • Bill Bryson
  • Thomas R. Pickering
  • Erik Peterson
  • Nicholas Kristof
  • Bob Costas
  • Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
  • David Chipperfield
  • Dr. Jane Goodall
  • Tim Russert
  • Sarah Jones
  • Salman Rushdie
  • Wynton Marsalis
  • Michael Beschloss
  • Earvin 'Magic' Johnson
  • Ken Burns
  • Bill Moyers
  • Martin Marty & Archbishop Rembert Weakland
  • Marian Wright Edelman
  • Senator Paul Simon
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • David McCullough
  • Ben Bradlee
  • Thomas Friedman