Ubben Lectures on the upswing


The opportunity to hear Jimmy Wales and Nicholas Carr debate the impact technology has and might have on our lives is one of those opportunities DePauw students should brag about.

The Ubben Lecture series is one of DePauw's crown jewels. Something no other peer institution has. Big-name universities in the state like Purdue, Indiana University and our neighbors at Wabash College regularly make the trek to Greencastle to hear these lectures while we are lucky enough to have them fall into our lap.

While every Ubben Lecture can't hit a home run across campus, this one certainly should. But what makes it a home run, exactly?

We thought of some of the most powerful and successful Ubben Lectures we've seen in our time. Tony Blair, Jason Reitman, Brad Stevens and Greg Mortenson immediately came to mind.

They all had three things really going for them: timeliness, universal interest and real impact in their fields and professions.

Blair came to DePauw shortly after his time as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and under intense scrutiny regarding his handling of the Iraq War.

Stevens had just taken Ball State University to the summit of March Madness, and we were proud to count him among our alumni.

Reitman had just won an Oscar for his film "Up in the Air."

Mortenson had just released a New York Times-bestselling book about his work building schools for children, particularly young girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

These speakers brought serious issues to the campus and did so with the star power to engage an entire campus and reach beyond it.

Regardless of our age, race, religion or even our major, the stuff of a great Ubben Lecture is clear - we want something truly relevant to us, and relevant doesn't have to mean severe, either.

Wales and Carr are going to debate an issue of paramount importance and relevance to everyone on this campus, in the country and in the world. The issues that will be raised are controversial, and we hope the campus will take advantage of this opportunity and give the issue, and especially the speakers, the attention they deserve.

Write to the editorial board at edboard@thedepauw.com