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About the Lectureship Series

Through a gift to Drake nearly 30 years ago, Martin and Melva Bucksbaum launched their vision for sparking community discussion about the most poignant issues of our time.

Over the years, their lectureship series has included world-renowned speakers, Maya Angelou, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, Bob Woodward, and many other inspiring voices. Thanks to an additional gift from Melva Bucksbaum and Mary Bucksbaum, the well-established lecture series expanded to launch the Inaugural Bucksbaum Lectureship in Business in 2023.

Hearing from recognized leaders gives Drake students and community members access to powerful conversations and a broader global perspective. These free events further strengthen the powerful tie between the University and the Greater Des Moines area.

Two Unique Lectureships

The Bucksbaum Distinguished Lectureship

Each lecture in this prominent series includes a new voice and inspiring insights from a nationally acclaimed speaker. With a focus on liberal arts, the speaking series covers a wide range of topics that sharpen leadership skills and critical thinking. Students and community members who attend leave with a wider view of the world around us.  

The Bucksbaum Lectureship in Business

Managed through Drake’s Zimpleman College of Business, this new lecture series addresses topics at the intersection of business and society. Students and community members are invited to take part in an intellectual conversation with some of the nation’s foremost thought leaders to discuss how business and entrepreneurialism can make both an economic and societal impact.

Additional Information

Contact Us

For more information, contact Erica Hartschen, Assistant to the Vice President for University Advancement, at 515-271-4990 or

Previous Lecturers

  • Liz Cheney
  • Heather McGee
  • Bob Woodward
  • Marie Yovanovitch
  • Jon Meacham
  • 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