Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State University Speaker Series lineup announced

August 14, 2017

Indiana State has announced the lineup for the 2017-18 University Speaker Series.

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winning author Rick Atkinson will open the season on Sept. 26, followed by social media and business expert Erik Qualman on Oct. 12, racing champion Bobby Unser on Nov. 8, former head of employee training at Disney University and international business consultant Doug Lipp on Jan. 31, former U.S. Secretary of Labor under the Clinton administration Alexis Herman on Feb. 22 and president of People Ink Ann Rhoads on March 28.

Atkinson is the author of the Liberation Trilogy, which is a narrative history of the U.S. military's role in the liberation of Europe in World War II. The three books include "An Army at Dawn," "The Day of the Battle" and "The Guns at Last Light." All have been hailed as excellent narratives that feature powerful storytelling about World War II. Atkinson's other works include "The Long Grey Line," "Crusade," "D-Day" and "In the Company of Soldiers." He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1982, 1999 and 2003.

Qualman, a social media and business expert, spurred the "socialnomics" movement with his No. 1 best-selling international book of the same title. Known as a "Digital Dale Carnegie," Qualman's work has been featured on "60 Minutes" and the Wall Street Journal, along with many more. He was voted the second "Most Likeable Author in the World" behind J.K. Rowling. He is currently a professor at Harvard and MIT's edX labs, as well as an international speaker.

Unser is one of two famous racing brothers who established the family legend by winning his first Indy 500 in 1968. Following that momentous win, he also won the Brickyard Classic three times in 1968, 1975 and 1981. Throughout his career, Unser managed to capture 35 career Indy Car wins, eight 500-mile Indy victories, four International Race of Champions wins and 13 Pikes Peak Hill Climb wins among many others. He has promoted products for Audi of America, Mid-Western Transit, IBM, General Motors, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and Mobil Oil Corporation.

As the former head of employee training at Disney University, Lipp's mission is to help organizations strengthen their corporate culture and boost business performance. Lipp is a distinguished international consultant and eight-time author whose latest best-selling book is entitled "Disney U: How Disney University Develops the World's Most Engaged, Loyal and Customer-Centric Employees." As Lipp travels and inspires companies worldwide, he shares how Disney overcame spectacular strategic challenges to create one of the most improbable success stories in corporate history.

Herman is a successful businesswoman and authority on the evolving workforce and speaks about important labor issues such as unemployment, job creation, overseas competition and work-life balance. As the former U.S. Secretary of Labor who served under the Clinton administration, Herman helps her audiences understand the current global labor picture and discusses how job training, job creation and rebuilding hard-hit sector jobs will help reenergize the American economic culture.

Rhoades is a dynamic and visionary corporate executive with more than 25 years of experience in a variety of service-based industries and is president of People Ink, a consulting company that helps organizations create unique workplace cultures based on values and performance. She held the position of vice president of the people department for Southwest Airlines, executive vice president of team services for Promus Hotel Corporation and most recently, the executive vice president of people for JetBlue Airways. Rhoades is a popular speaker on the subject of customer service and how to build a strong high-performing work culture.

All University Speakers Series programs begin at 7 p.m. in Tilson Auditorium and are free and open to the public.

For more information on these events, go to or call 812-237-3770.

-30- -- Rick Atkinson -- Erik Qualman -- Bobby Unser -- Bobby Unser -- Doug Lipp -- Alexis Herman -- Ann Rhoads

Writer and media contact: Connor Myers, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, or 812-237-3773.

Story Highlights

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winning author Rick Atkinson will open the season on Sept. 26, followed by social media and business expert Erik Qualman, racing champion Bobby Unser, former Disney exec Doug Lipp and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman.

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